It’s always a tremendous honor for a player to be considered one of the best in their respective district, parish or metro area. But to be thought of as one of the best in the entire state, it’s truly a special distinction that not many players achieve.
Nine Ascension standouts now know the feeling. Recently, they all were included in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s All-State teams.
Ascension Catholic was the parish school that had the most prominent representation on the All-State team as four players made the cut.
This is no surprise after the Bulldogs completed the best season of any team in Ascension in 2017.
Ascension Catholic went 8-2 during the regular season. In the postseason, they won by a combined margin of 119-28, en route to making their first state title appearance in 25 years.
In the state championship game, the Bulldogs were cursed with bad luck. Injuries to key contributors put them at a distinct disadvantage .
Still, even with so many players gone, they were only down 3-0 with five minutes left in the game. They ended up losing by a 10-0 score to finish as state runners-up.
Ascension Catholic had the only two players to make the All-State first team.
On offense, sensational sophomore running back Jai Williams was a first-team selection on the Class 1A team after rushing for over 1,600 yards and more than 20 touchdowns.
Williams was one of the key players missing for the Bulldogs in the title game. He was injured before halftime, but not before he rushed for 87 yards in less than two quarters of work.
Defensively, Charlie Gianelloni was a first-team selection from the line. Gianelloni had 93 tackles and six sacks during the season.
Two Bulldogs were honorable mention.
First, Williams’ running mate, Jamar Barber made the team. Like Williams, he hit the 1,600-yard mark and scored more than 20 touchdowns.
Barber was forced to miss the championship after sustaining injuries in a car accident the day before the game.
Defensive back Mason Zeringue also made honorable mention. He helped lead a defensive unit that gave up just 10 points per game in 2017.
Finally, third-year head coach Drey Trosclair was named the 1A Coach of the Year.
In Trosclair’s first season, the Bulldogs went just 4-6. In 2016, they improved to 6-4 and reached the state quarterfinals. This season, they finished 11-3 and reached their first title game in nearly three decades.
Two Donaldsonville players made the Class 3A All-State team. Both players recently signed with Division-I programs.
Linebacker/defensive end Tahj Brown was honorable mention after coming up with 73 tackles and four sacks, despite missing multiple games with an injury. Brown has signed with Houston.
Offensive lineman Davon Wright was also an honorable mention selection. Wright has signed with Tulane.
Both players helped Donaldsonville turn things around in 2017.
After going just 4-6 last season, the Tigers finished the regular season 7-3 and won a playoff game. The eight victories were the most by the program since 2010.
Three parish players were honorable-mention selections on the Class 5A All-State squad.
St. Amant running back Cade Nelson made the team after rushing for over 1,600 yards and 26 touchdowns.
His great season on the ground helped the Gators finish 9-1 for a second straight year. They also won a share of the district championship and reached the second round of the playoffs.
Archrival East Ascension had two players named All-State honorable mention.
Offensively, lineman Cameron Wire made the team. Unfortunately, Wire had his season shortened due to a knee injury. Still, the 6-foot-6, 285-pounder ended up signing with LSU.
On defense, linebacker Adrian Johnson made the team. Johnson came up with 85 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions on his way to being named District 5-5A Defensive MVP.
He and Wire helped the Spartans go 8-2 during the regular season and win a share of the district title. In the playoffs, they reached the second round.