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West St. John High School represents Saints at the NFL/National Guard 7-on-7 National Championship

By Andrew Remson

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The West St. John High School Rams traded their traditional blue and white jerseys and donned the black and gold of the New Orleans Saints this past weekend at the NFL/National Guard 7-on-7 National Championship at the Colts facility in Indianapolis.

This year marked a first for the annual NFL tournament with all 32 NFL teams represented by winners of their respective regional tournaments.

The NFL's National 7-on-7 Tournament provides high school football players that have completed the HSPD program, a platform to compete in non-contact 7-on-7 play against other top players from around the country.

As an extension of the HSPD program, the all-expense paid event also includes character development sessions.

The Rams were selected to participate by winning the Saints Regional 7-on-7 Championship.

The Rams, led by Head Coach Robert Valdez and Assistant Coach Antoine Carter were the talk of the tournament, holding a 6-1 record in early pool play, securing the No. 1 seed in the NFC South Division.

The Rams would rally from a 10-point deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their first playoff game.

The win will be featured in an NFL Films production about the tournament in August.

The Rams advanced to face the Carolina Panthers but were eliminated in a hard-fought contest by a 17-10 score.

The Rams finished the tournament with a 7-2 record.

Players and coaches from West St. John also participated in character development activities featuring guest speakers Billy "White Shoes" Johnson and Marine Cpl. Joshua Bleill.

The Rams visited the NCAA Hall of Champions and Lucas Oil Stadium during their visit.

The Rams returned to New Orleans and now turn their focus to their own season rapidly approaching in the fall.

The seven wins by the Rams is the most by a New Orleans-represented team in the history of the tournament.

For more information on Saints Youth Programs, please visit www.neworleanssaints.com.

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