In 2017, there were 27 Ascension football players that made LHSAA All-Academic teams.

It was a wonderfully competitive year for Ascension high-school football that saw special players put up special performances that culminated in memorable runs through the playoffs.

But what sometimes gets lost in those raucous Friday nights at stadiums across the parish and in the many big tackles and exciting touchdowns is that the players are more than just great athletes. They are students first.

It's quite impressive for an individual to excel in the classroom or on the football field. It's extraordinary when someone is able to put it all together and shine brightly in both aspects.

There were many student-athletes that did just that during the football season.

They were able to shed blood, sweat and tears on the football field each evening at practice and every Friday night during games. At the same time, they stayed focused on their studies and maintained a high grade-point average.

In 2017, there were 27 Ascension football players that made LHSAA All-Academic teams.

The LHSAA All-Academic Awards Program is presented by ISC and recognizes senior student-athletes that have attained a 3.5 GPA or higher throughout the year.

There are two teams.

There is the Composite All-Academic team, which honors student-athletes that have a six-semester, un-weighted GPA of 4.0. You cannot have a single B on your transcript to be eligible.

There were two players from Ascension that achieved this honor. They were St. Amant's Cade Nelson and Dutchtown's Matthew Johnson.

This caps off a spectacular senior year for Nelson. He rushed for over 1,600 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to leading the Gators to a 9-1 regular-season record, a share of the District 5-5A championship and a trip to the second round of the playoffs.

Nelson was also named the Offensive MVP of both the all-district and All-Parish teams. He was All-Metro and All-State.

Johnson and his Dutchtown Griffins had a wonderful turnaround in 2017, as they went from 3-7 to 6-4 and won a playoff game.

Besides the Composite team, there is also the All-Academic Class/Division teams. To be eligible for this honor, student-athletes must be seniors, members of the football team for at least two years and have a six-semester GPA of at least 3.5.

In addition to Johnson and Nelson, 25 parish players made this squad.

Seven of the players on the Class 5A & Division-I team came from St. Amant.

This included all-district and All-Parish defensive back Ben Parker (3.8970), Tyson Cowart (3.9808), Jesse Robert (3.8673), Reed Babin (3.8462), Alec LeBlanc (3.7875), Tate Broussard (3.6229), Justin Gibson (3.5573) and Hayden Barker (3.5529).

Johnson was joined by eight other Dutchtown players.

This included all-district quarterback Ben Mays (3.8980), all-district and All-Parish tight end Brandon Davis (3.6000), all-district linebacker Jacoby Johnson (3.5102), Ian D'antoni (3.7551), Matthew Dixon (3.6981), Garret Zirkle (3.5833), Austin Price (3.5600) and John Denham (3.5098).

Two East Ascension players made the squad in their run to an 8-2 regular season, share of the district championship and trip to the second round of the playoffs.

All-district and All-Parish kicker Ryan Gremillion (3.7929) and all-district linebacker Darren Wilson (3.5264) made the team.

One parish player made the Class 3A All-Academic team. That was Donaldsonville lineman Davon Wright (3.5163).

Wright was all-district, All-Parish, All-Metro and All-State as he helped lead the Tigers to a turnaround from 4-6 to 7-3. Donaldsonville went on to win a playoff game.

Wright is a Tulane signee.

Six parish football players made the Class 1A & Division IV team. Five were from Ascension Christian.

The Lions had a terrific season that saw them win seven games--which was the second-most victories in school history.

Making the All-Academic team were All-Parish linebacker Brennan Tramonte (3.5000), Josh Poirrier (3.9565), Noah Hoover (3.6304), Eric Sims (3.5870) and Landon Ortego (3.5682).

The lone Ascension Catholic player to make it was Nick LeJeune with a GPA of 3.7857.

LeJeune and the Bulldogs had a phenomenal season that saw them reach the state title game for the first time in 25 years.