VACHERIE – It may have only been an exhibition, but the St. James Wildcats showcased their big play ability during Friday’s River Parish Jamboree game against the Vandebilt Catholic Terriers.

St. James scored three touchdowns from beyond 40 yards – all in the first half – to cruise past the Terriers 26-3 at Wildcat Stadium.

Quarterback Shamar Smith sparked the Wildcats’ offense through the air. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 209 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Smith’s touchdown went for 69, 45 and 20 yards.

St. James’ final big-play touchdown came on Sean Lebeouf’s 48-yard touchdown run.

"I love the big plays," St. James coach Robert Valdez said. "The kids did a good job of coming out early and making the plays when they were available. We have some guys who have been playing here for years, and we expect them to make those types of plays."
The Wildcats dominated on both sides of the ball, outgaining Vandebilt 301 total yards (92 rushing, 209 passing) to 107 total yards (67 rushing, 40 passing).

St. James wasted no time getting on the scoreboard by marching down the field on its opening possession. On the sixth play of the drive, Smith hooked up with Shen Joseph on a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 6-0 lead.

The Class 3A Wildcats then turned to the big play for their final three touchdowns of the first half.

Smith connected with Shazz Preston on a 69-yard touchdown strike, and Lebeouf (six carries, 56 yards) followed with a 48-yard scoring run to give the Wildcats a 19-0 lead. St. James capped off the first half scoring with another deep touchdown pass from Smith – a 45-yard connection to Logan Gravois – for a commanding 26-0 lead.

First-year Vandebilt coach Lance Ledet said St. James’ big play ability was the difference in the game.

"When you look on from the sidelines, it was their ability to hit the big plays," Ledet said. "It was basically four big plays. We don’t squeeze and inside zone. We don’t lean on a receiver here and there. We don’t get over the top on a wheel route. We had too many busted plays."

Class 4A Vandebilt threatened in the final minute of the first half, but the drive stalled at the Wildcats 31-yard line when time expired.

The Terriers received a break early in the second half after recovering a fumble at the St. James’ 7-yard line. Vandebilt turned the turnover into three points as Austin Ledet connected on a 22-yard field goal to make the score 26-3.

Following the turnover, Valdez decided to sit his starters and give some playing time to the reserves for the remainder of the game.

"We had a comfortable lead, so we played some younger guys in the second half," Valdez said. "It didn’t make any sense to risk injury, and you never know when your number will be called."

Bryden Roundtree led Vandebilt’s rushing attack with 43 yards on 14 carries.