Berwick High School's Zack Gonzales, left, and Seth Canty celebrate earlier this season during the team's contest against Patterson. The Panthers will continue District 9-3A action Thursday when they travel to face St. James. (The Daily Review/Mico Alosio)
Berwick to face top-ranked St. James
Berwick High School will travel to face Class 3A’s top-ranked squad, St. James, Thursday at 7 p.m. in Dis-trict 9-3A action.
St. James (7-0 overall, 2-0 in district), which enters the contest ranked No. 1 in the latest Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A poll, features a plethora of talent.
The Wildcats’ quarterback, Shamar Smith, is committed to Texas-San Antonio where he is expected to play wide receiver or return kicks.
Meanwhile, running back Sean LeBouef is a Navy commit, receiver/defensive back Tyler Steib has Football Bowl Subdivision offers and sophomore receiver Shazz Preston is ranked No. 2 in the state among Class of 2022 prospects and No. 8 at wide receiver in the class, both according to the 247sports.com recruiting service. His college offers include LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Colorado, Texas A&M.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive lineman Chase Geason has a Prairie View offer and junior defensive lineman Saivion Jones has FBS offers, including Kansas, Virginia, LSU and Arkansas.
“Their whole football team is talented,” Berwick Coach Mike Walker said. “They’ve got some really good players, and Coach (Robert) Valdez does a good job of getting them coached up.”
A week ago, the Wildcats defeated Donaldsonville, 37-6, in district play.
St. James features a spread offense.
Walker said Smith and Lebeouf are “very skilled players.”
This season, Smith has rushed 116 times for 686 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has passed for 759 yards, completing 60 of 121 passes with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Lebeouf has rushed 102 times for 659 yards and eight touchdowns.
Preston has caught 25 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, St. James runs a 3-3 stack look.
“They’re really good on the defensive front,” Walker said. “Their D-line and linebackers are really good, probably the best we’ve seen all year, so we have to make sure we do a good job of trying to control the line of scrimmage, trying to run the football and protecting it when we decide to throw it.”
For Berwick, Keyon Singleton is the Panthers’ top rusher with 129 carries for 736 yards and nine touchdowns, while quarterback Reed Gonzales has carried the football 72 times for 393 yards with eight touchdowns.
Through the air, Gonzales has completed 45 of 91 passes for 495 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions.
Berwick’s top receiver is Seth Canty, who has 25 receptions for 253 yards and a touchdown, while Singleton has seven receptions for 124 yards and one touchdown.
Additional reporting by The Houma Courier, www.nola.com/sports and www.theadvocate.com/sports.