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EAST ASCENSION INSIGHTS WEEK 12 2019

St. James coach Robert Valdez
COURTESY PHOTO

ST. JAMES VS GREEN OAKS

Wildcats at Giants

Nov. 24, 2019 at 7 p.m.

Insights

With Robert Valdez

Head Football Coach

St. James High School

Sports Scene: You have had an incredible season against a brutal schedule?

Coach Valdez: We are doing some good things and the thing about it now is there is no room for error. This is the first year of a second-year cycle. Last year, we lost in the second round at North Webster in muddy, sloppy conditions. So we knew if we wanted to get these guys to come back down to us, we needed to get the first seed so we scheduled heavy and all those guys are still playing. Hats off to our kids, coaches and administration. There is a lot of tradition at St. James and our kids stepped up to the challenge.

Sports Scene: What impresses me about you guys is you can flip the switch so quick?

Coach Valdez: We talked with the kids about going faster with our tempo and we can come out very aggressive. We tell the kids all the time that now they are going to get their best from everybody. We have seen a lot of different schemes and philosophies but it has helped us right now as we move forward.

Sports Scene: You just have so much talent on your team?

Coach Valdez: This senior class were freshmen my first year so those kids have been playing for some time and grown up in the system. Shamar Smith started as a freshmen. Sean LeBeouf got a lot of playing time. Savion Jones was in the eighth grade and hit a growth spurt after his freshmen year. Chase Geason is another one of those guys. That senior group as been with the program and put in the work and understand the process we are trying to follow. St. James has always had a wealth of talent and potential and the coaching has been very phenomenal so right now we are just trying to maximize that and continued to keep getting better.

Sports Scene: You shutout Mansfield in Round 1?

Coach Valdez: Mansfield is very, very big. We didn’t have one of our starting offensive lineman that goes both ways in DeAndre Keller. We didn’t play our type of football but we were able to get out with a win. I think we made the plays we needed to and our defense carried us. Joel Cooper had a big interception return for a touchdown and Kaleb Brown played big. Offensively, we kind of sputtered a little bit but it is good to have all three phrases. I think it was good for us because we can build on that. This week is going to be great for us to get back to our type of football.

Sports Scene: Now you have to go to Shreveport for Round 2 against Green Oaks?

Coach Valdez: I am not going to be political about it. I really think that when your body of work speaks for itself, we have to figure out a way to reward that effort. In hindsight, it does give us an opportunity to bond more. We are playing at Independence Stadium and a lot of our kids have never seen it. Green Oaks is loaded with talent and they have a lot of athletic ability. And they have one of the best names in football Decoldest Crawford who is committed to LSU. We set two goals at the beginning of the season to win the district championship and state championship. So we just have to prioritize and maintain our focus on our goal.