ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - High school football is one of the most exciting times of the year. Here in Central Louisiana, football is king.
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One thing that's for sure, everyone becomes a sports analyst around this time and has their own opinion about what team is the best.
At the end of the day, the pads will speak for themselves but for the sake of discussion, here's my take.
Starting from the Bottom:
#15 Northwood Gators
The Gators are only graduating 10 seniors, which means they have a young group that's hungry and looking to prove a point. In 2018, they protected ‘The Swamp’ by posting a 2-2 at home.
#14 St. Mary Tigers
The Tigers had some tough sledding last year, starting off 2-3 and finishing 1-5. They may be small in numbers, but they'll be playing with a chip on their shoulder.
#13 LaSalle Tigers
Led by tight end Hunter Daigneault, the Tigers will be playing for brighter days. He’ll have some help from his offensive counterpart, running back Zack Dickey. I’ve got this team being a sleeper.
#12 Bunkie Panthers
The Panthers have a team full of young players in the mix. Wide receiver Lataj'drick Howard, who’s only a freshman, is a standout on the team after nabbing a 2nd Team All-District honor last season. I've got them on the bubble as a squad that could very well finish at .500 or better.
#11 Pineville Rebels
The Rebels had a rough start to last season as well. After starting 3-0, they plummeted to a 1-6 finish. They’ll be looking to replace the offense of quarterback Ben West but according to new head coach Darin Moore, they may have found their man. Not to mention, they have a stud receiver in Troy Hall. Their 0-5 district record from last year is what put them on this list, but they are poised to bounce back.
Outside Looking In:
#10 Menard Eagles
The first of this group, I've got the Holy Savior Menard Eagles. This group of guys is a team that could've very well been 8-2 if they would have won a few more games. They lost 3 close games by an average of 6 points, but they've got some guys that are poised for a comeback season. Defensive back Dru Scully and defensive tackle Cody Saucier leading the way, this team could be special.
#9 Avoyelles Mustangs
I gave the Mustangs an edge over Menard because they were 4-1 at home. Protecting home field is key in the season and if they can put together a few road wins, this team could shock some people.
#8 Marksville Tigers
Another huge sleeper, the Tigers have one of the more polished quarterbacks in the area in Daniel Miller. They were road warriors, finishing 4-1 on the season. Defensively, they held every opponent under 20 points. Edge rusher Gavin Laird and linebacker Javon Sampson are looking to keep that defense playing at a high level.
#7 Montgomery Tigers
These Tigers will miss quarterback Logan Graves, but they still have wide receiver JT Turner and running back Mikel Auge. The tandem combined for a total of 3,444 all-purpose yards. With this in mind, I don’t suspect that this offense will take a step back.
#6 Ash Trojans
Right outside the door knocking, the Ash Trojans pose as one of the biggest threats in the area. We all know about defensive tackle Jacobian Guillory, but the person that will look to take the reins of the team is quarterback Judd Barton. He only played in 6 games last year but racked up 1,221 yards and 15 touchdowns. They'll miss running back Richard Chark, but they've got plenty of offensive firepower to make up for it.
#5 Rosepine Eagles
The Eagles had one of the most high-powered offenses in the area, averaging over 40 points a game. They’ll have to fill some key spots on the team in order to continue the trend. They were an undefeated team until running into district foe DeQuincy in the second round.
#4 Jena Giants
The Giants have one of the most gifted running backs in Central Louisiana, Trelon Jones. Jones finished the season with 163 carries, 1,242 yards, and 23 touchdowns. The team went undefeated at home and had one of the greediest defenses in the area, giving up an average of 13 points per game.
#3 Tioga Indians
Tioga is led by one of the most impressive quarterbacks in the area. Blake Mcghee finished 2018 with 2,900 yards passing, 34 touchdowns, and only 7 interceptions. This team only dropped 3 games in the regular season and are more than excited to make a run at the playoffs.
#2 Many Tigers
Right at the finish line, the Many Tigers sit as one of the best teams in the state. With running back Terrence Williams, quarterback “Cadillac” Rhone, they’re ready to make noise again. Their regular season loss to North Desoto is the only thing keeping them from making the number one spot on this list.
#1 Leesville Wampus Cats
The Wampus Cats didn’t lose a single game in the regular season, which is the first time that they’ve done it since 1995. Without a doubt, this is one of the most intimidating teams. With quarterback Jacob Mount, the Gallashaw brothers (D’ante and Caleb), and wide receiver Darius Sawyer, the weapons are stacked for a locked and loaded team.
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