Former parish football players ready to go bowling
It was a great regular season for the many former Ascension Parish football stars playing Division-I football, but the year isn’t over just yet.
The college football postseason still remains, and there are seven former parish stars that are set to help lead their teams in bowl games.
There are two Ascension products that play for Southern Miss.
Former Ascension Catholic great Delmond Landry just completed his first season with the Golden Eagles, after transferring from Southwest Mississippi Community College.
The 6-foot-3, 308-pound junior saw significant action with Southern Miss in his first year there. He played in 11 of their 12 games and collected 14 tackles, with 3.5 of those coming for losses. Landry also recovered a fumble.
One of his teammates is former St. Amant stalwart Briggs Bourgeois.
Bourgeois was one of the best offensive players in the Baton Rouge area when he was starting at wide receiver for the Gators, but it was at kicker where he caught the eyes of college scouts.
He signed with Southern Miss, and he had an immediate impact as a true freshman this season.
Bourgeois became the starting kickoff specialist for the Golden Eagles. During the season, he kicked off 69 times. Thirty-five of those kicks ended in touchbacks.
With the help of Bourgeois and Landry, Southern Miss had a very productive season as they finished 8-4 overall.
They are now set to face Florida State in the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport on Dec. 27.
The Seminoles struggled in 2017, after losing starting quarterback Deondre Francois to a torn ACL in the first game of the season. They ended just 6-6.
Florida State will be without longtime head coach Jimbo Fisher for the game. Fisher recently accepted the head coaching job at Texas A&M.
LSU has two former Ascension stars on the roster in Donaldsonville’s Stephen Sullivan and Dutchtown’s Lloyd Cushenberry.
Sullivan was one of the state’s top receivers when he played for Donaldsonville. He had over 1,000 yards receiving during his senior season.
As a sophomore at LSU, Sullivan saw plenty of playing time for the Tigers as they won six of their final seven games and finished the regular season with a 9-3 record.
Sullivan played in 11 games and started three times. He finished with nine catches for 195 yards and a touchdown. He also had a score on the ground.
Cushenberry was a reserve lineman for the Tigers and also saw playing time in multiple games as a redshirt freshman.
Both players will help lead LSU in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on New Year’s Day, as they meet 14th-ranked Notre Dame (9-3).
Cushenberry won’t be the only Dutchtown Griffin to go bowling. There are three others.
Most notably, Justin Reid will help lead Stanford as they play No. 15 TCU in the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, on Dec. 28. TCU went 10-3 during the regular season and finished as runner-up in the Big 12.
Reid helped Stanford go 9-4. They won the Pac-12 North division.
In earning first-team All-Pac-12 honors and being named a Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back in the country) semifinalist, Reid was second on the team in tackles with 97 and added five interceptions.
His former Dutchtown teammate Jared Sparks had a great season at Purdue.
Sparks went to the school as a quarterback and redshirted his first season, but under new head coach Jeff Brohm, he was used in a variety of ways offensively in 2017.
He finished the year with 18 catches for 212 yards and 23 carries for 126 yards.
Purdue went 6-6 and made a bowl game for the first time since 2012.
The Boilermakers will take on Arizona (7-5) in the Foster Farms Bowl on Dec. 27, in San Francisco, Calif.
At the very same time, his little brother, Adam will be getting his first taste of bowl action.
Adam Sparks made an immediate impact as a true freshman at Missouri this season. Sparks worked his way into the starting lineup at cornerback and finished the year with two interceptions.
Missouri began the season in a 1-5 hole, before closing the year out on a six-game winning streak to secure a bowl berth.
They are all set to face Texas (6-6) in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl in Houston.