Many stars from the west bank make all-district football teams
Football is back in Donaldsonville.
It was just two years ago that both Donaldsonville and Ascension Catholic struggled through losing seasons, but in 2017, football in the area turned the corner in a big way.
Both schools combined to win 15 games during the regular season, and each team won at least one playoff game.
Of course, the school that made the biggest splash was Ascension Catholic. In 2017, the Bulldogs had their best season in nearly three decades.
Under third-year head coach Drey Trosclair, Ascension Catholic went 8-2 during the regular season. In the playoffs, they beat their three opponents by a combined score of 119-28 to reach their first state title game in 25 years.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they were cursed with terrible luck.
The day before the game, Jamar and Dorian Barber—two of the team’s top three running backs—were involved in a car accident. They were able to avoid any serious injuries, but they were too banged up to play in the championship game.
Then, top tailback Jai Williams went down with a concussion before halftime, after chewing up 87 yards in less than two quarters of work. Later, No. 4 running back Mason Zeringue went down with a broken finger.
With so many players out, the Bulldogs lost to Lafayette Christian, 10-0.
Ascension Catholic had 17 selections on the All-District 6-1A team.
All season long, the Bulldog offense was led by their two-headed monster in the backfield. Both Williams and Jamar Barber rushed for over 1,600 yards and more than 20 touchdowns. It was no surprise that both made the first-team offense.
Charlie Gianelloni made the first team from the offensive line, Michael Medine made it at receiver and Rodney Blanchard was a first-team selection at both kicker and punter.
Defensively, both Gianelloni and John Broussard made the first team from the defensive line. Both players had six sacks for the season as they anchored a unit that surrendered just 10 points per game.
At linebacker, Williams and Parker Hales both made the first team, along with Zeringue at defensive back.
Bubba Gautreau made the second team at quarterback. Joining him were receiver Eric Simon, Jr. and offensive lineman Nick Hilliard.
Gautreau also made the second team at linebacker.
Joining him on the second team were defensive lineman Dillion Davis (14 sacks) and Blanchard at defensive back (four interceptions).
Donaldsonville saw a resurgence of their own under second-year head coach Brian Richardson.
The Tigers improved from 4-6 to 7-3 as they made the move to District 10-3A.
Donaldsonville won a playoff game for the first time since 2014. Their eight victories were the most by the program since 2010.
Leading the charge was senior quarterback Jaylin Williams—who made first-team All-District 10-3A as a utility player. Williams had over 2,000 yards passing with 24 touchdowns through the air, and he added nearly 500 yards on the ground.
Williams’ favorite target throughout the year was Ladarius Jackson. Jackson had 739 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season, on his way to first-team all-district honors.
Offensive lineman Davon Wright also made the first team. Wright recently signed with Tulane.
Defensively, the Tigers were led by Houston signee Tahj Brown—who had 73 tackles and four sacks, despite missing multiple games due to injury.
Brown was a first-team all-district selection at linebacker, and Kadarrion Jones was first team on the defensive line.
Two Donaldsonville players made the second team in offensive lineman D’Ondre Fisher and running back Jemon Pleasant.
Savon Landry, Rae’land Johnson and Devon Turner were all honorable-mention selections.