Parish football players make All-District 7-1A
It was a different year, but the final results of the 2021 high-school football season were mostly the same for District 7-1A.
For the third straight season, Ascension Catholic went undefeated in district play, en route to a league championship.
And once again, plenty of Bulldog starters were named to the All-District 7-1A team. There were nine, to be exact.
But Ascension Catholic wasn’t the only parish team to have multiple players recognized. Ascension Christian was also represented. Six Lions made the All-District 7-1A squad.
For the third straight season, Ascension Catholic dominated the league.
The Bulldogs had their first two games of the season canceled due to the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. When they did get back on the field, they went 7-1 during the regular season.
The one loss came on the road against a top-10 opponent in Vermillion Catholic. That was Ascension Catholic’s first regular-season defeat since 2018.
The Bulldogs responded by winning six straight regular-season contests and making the Division-IV playoffs as the No. 9 seed.
There, Ascension Catholic upset Central Catholic on the road, 41-36. That was the Bulldogs’ first playoff victory under first-year head coach Chris Schexnayder.
In the state quarterfinals, Ascension Catholic’s season ended with a loss to top-seeded Ouachita Christian.
Leading the way for the Bulldogs on the all-district team was junior quarterback Bryce Leonard. Leonard was named the District 7-1A Offensive MVP.
Leonard set school records this season for most season-single passing yards with 1,906 and single-season passing touchdowns with 21. He also rushed for more than 400 yards and an additional five scores.
During the season, Coach Schexnayder said this of Leonard: “He’s come a long way. It took him a while to get used to this offense. We’ve been running the Wing-T the past two years, which didn’t feature a lot of throwing. But now, we’re so dynamic in the passing game. We have a lot of different ways to get the ball to our athletes. Bryce has really done a good job of commanding that offense and getting the balls in the right spots.”
Making the all-district first team for the Bulldogs at receiver was Bryce Leonard’s twin brother Brooks, along with fellow junior Calvin Delone. Delone was also a first-team selection as a return specialist.
On the offensive line, junior Lashawn Bell and senior Jacques Husers both made the first team, and senior Lex Melancon made the first team as a kicker.
Defensively, Husers made the first team from the defensive line, and Melancon was a first-team selection at defensive back.
Also making the first team on defense was sophomore lineman Travis Cedotal and junior linebacker Landon Szubinski. Szubinski also made the first team as a punter.
Cedotal made the second team as an offensive lineman, and so did senior Devin Pedescleaux.
Making the second-team defense were Delone at defensive back and sophomore Thomas Nizzo at linebacker.
The Ascension Catholic coaching staff was named the district’s Staff of the Year.
Ascension Christian had its share of struggles in 2021. The Lions finished just 2-7 and missed out on the playoffs.
But they were good enough to place six on the all-district team.
Making the second team from the offensive line were both junior Brock Stafford and senior Daniel Pyle.
At running back, seniors Ethan Hunt and Emory Templet and junior Adin Carter made the second unit, along with senior quarterback Ethan Cormier.
Defensively, Cormier was a first-team selection at defensive back.
Stafford made the second team from the defensive line, and Carter made the second unit at defensive back.