*By: Ethan Macloud and Grant Smith*
Before we look forward to the second half of the LHSAA football season, it's time we look back on the top performers of the first half. Here are our votes for mid-season awards.
Team of the Year:
John Curtis Patriots
First in our Week 6 rankings, John Curtis naturally comes out as our team of the year. The Patriots, led by Coach J.T. Curtis, continue to dismantle the best teams from not only the state, but the country. Last week's, 61-14, victory over Lake Placid (FL) was a statement win. John Curtis has outscored opponents this year 266-114. This wide margin of victory over quality out of state and New Orleans powerhouses makes them an easy choice for Team of the Year.
Offense of the Year:
St. Thomas More Cougars
Led by Senior QB Caleb Holstein, the STM offense has been absolutely electric. Junior WR Jack Bech is having a record breaking season, as well. Even in their only loss, the Cougar offense put up 50 points and 616 yards on #2 Catholic (B.R.). Look for STM to continue putting up 50+ points a game in the second half of the season.
Catholic High Bears (B.R.)
Catholic is averaging 43 points a game and showed their elite offensive ability last week against St. Thomas More. Senior Jackson Thomas threw for 321 in the thrilling win. Look for Catholic to ride their offense through district play and deep into the playoffs.
Defense of the Year:
This is one is a no-brainer. Rummel has given up 6 points on the entire season to date. Two field goals, each coming against out of state powerhouses, have been the only scores given up by the Raiders. This defensive unit has been the driving force behind Rummel's 5-0 start and will be crucial as district play heats up.
Coach of the Year:
Gabriel Fertitta, Catholic High Bears (B.R.)
Catholic's start to this 2019 season has been nothing short of incredible. They have blown teams out of the water and also found a way to win the close games. This toughness and will to win no doubt comes from the top. Head Coach Gabriel Fertitta did not shy away from competition when putting together this year's schedule, and despite not being loaded with D1 athletes, the Bears are 5-0.
Robert Valdez, St. James
After a second round loss against North Webster to close out the 2018 season, St. James has come out smoking hot to start out the 2019 season. Coach Valdez has led his team to a 5-0 start, including impressive wins against Destrehan and Assumption. Look for Coach Valdez to continue motivating and prepping his Wildcats for a strong finish to the season.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Koy Moore, Rummel/Kayshon Boutte, Westgate
By far the toughest decision, this pair of LSU commits comes in as the offensive players of the year. St. Thomas More's dynamic duo of Caleb Holstein and Jack Bach were both contenders, but Moore and Boutte are easily the most talented receivers in the state. Moore has led his Rummel Raiders to an undefeated start, while Boutte's Westgate Tigers are 4-1. Louisiana football fans are all eager to see these two stars in the second half of the season and next year in Death Valley.
Jack Bech, St. Thomas More
While many may be familiar with QB Caleb Holstein, Jack Bech is quickly introducing himself to South Louisiana football. Bech played sparingly last year as a sophomore, but has completely taken over as a junior. Bech has dominated opponents including having over 200 yards receiving against #2 Catholic. Look for Bech to continue this dominate season; and attempt to lead STM back to the Division II State Championship.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Jacobian Guillory, Alexandria Senior High
In his senior season, Guillory continues to wreak havoc on opponents backfields. The prized recruit out of Alexandria Senior High has wracked up the offers from several D1 schools. Guillory has been the backbone of his teams 5-0 and they will continue to lean on him down the stretch.
Jaquelin Roy, University Lab
University High may be having a slow start; however, Roy is as dominate as ever. Roy has slimmed down, which allows him to have an elite mix of power and quickness. He is consistently double teamed which allows the other players around him to make plays. However, just because he is double teamed does not mean Roy does not make plays. He is still dominate in both the run and pass game. Roy looks to be a big piece in leading this U-High team back to a Division II title.
By Grant Smith and Ethan MacLoud
After a wild week of football, John Curtis and St. Thomas More sit atop the state's Top 20.
St. Thomas More had one of the most impressive nights, beating Neville 35-6. Rummel and Catholic (BR) both put on dominating performances against Ruston and Edna Karr, respectively.
Another high-riser this week was Brother Martin. shooting up to No. 8 after blowing out cross-town rival Jesuit. Class 2A Notre Dame proved they belong in the Top 20 after a strong win over 4A Teurlings Catholic.
East Ascension and Warren Easton both break the Top 20 this week after a tightly-contested shootout with East Ascension, 42-41.
With next week comes another exciting slate of games highlighted by St. Thomas More vs. Catholic and West Monroe vs. Neville. No. 1 John Curtis will also welcome Lake Placid HS (FL) to New Orleans for a heavy-weight bout.