Ascension players crowd All-District 5-5A football team

Kyle Riviere
Both Falepule Alo (No. 78) and LSU signee Cameron Wire (No. 61) were first-team all-district selections on the offensive line for East Ascension. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The performance of the football teams within the parish was stellar in 2017. This certainly included the three schools in District 5-5A.

The district is one of the most competitive in the Baton Rouge area, and over the past few years, Catholic has pretty much had their way. They headed into 2017 as the reigning champions.

The Bears had another sensational year as they upset powerhouse John Curtis last month to claim the Division-I state championship. But during the regular season, they were no match for two powers from Ascension.

St. Amant and East Ascension won a combined 17 games and shared the District 5-5A title.

As a result, the two teams were honored with a total of 28 selections on the all-district team.

East Ascension had 15 spots on the roster.

The Spartans really turned things around under second-year head coach Darnell Lee in 2017. After going just 3-6 in his first season, they finished 8-2 this year, won a share of the district crown and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Much of their success was predicated on their dominating defense, which only surrendered 13 points per game.

This unit was led by senior linebacker Adrian Johnson. Johnson finished the season with 85 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions in being named the district’s Defensive MVP.

Three other Spartan defenders made the first team.

Jimel London made it at defensive back, while juniors Deshon Hall and Stanford Knockum were both first-team selections from the defensive line.

London also made the first team on offense.

After returning all-district running back Ralph Wilson went down with a knee injury, the Spartans relied heavily on London to give them big plays in the running game, and he produced.

He came up with 1,240 total yards for the year. This netted him Co-Offensive MVP honors. London made the first team as both a running back and an athlete.

Also making the first team for East Ascension were LSU signee Cameron Wire, sophomore offensive lineman Falepule Alo and junior receiver Shaivonn Robinson.

The second-team all-district offense contained quarterback Jason Wakefield, receiver Tyrek Johnson, lineman Chandler Perer and kicker Ryan Gremillion.

The second-team defense included lineman Jordan Campbell, linebacker Darren Wilson and defensive back Jaqunn Mitchell.

St. Amant wasn’t far behind with 13 all-district selections.

The Gators went 9-1 for the second straight season and reached the second round of the playoffs.

All season long, senior running back Cade Nelson carried the offense on his shoulders. Nelson finished the year with 1,657 rushing yards and a whopping 26 touchdowns.

These huge numbers made him the Co-Offensive MVP, along with London.

Joining Nelson on the first team was senior quarterback Halen Miller. In his first year as a starter, Miller threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season.

His favorite target was first-team all-district selection Grant Alexander—who had over 700 yards and eight touchdowns.

Two Gator offensive linemen made the first team in Beau Gremillion and Brandon Thomassie.

Defensively, four St. Amant players made the first team.

They were highlighted by their two best pass rushers in Johnny Johnson (13 sacks) and Jacolby Landry.

Linebacker Colton King and defensive back K.J. Franklin also made the first team.

Franklin made the second team on offense, along with offensive lineman Luke Ory.

Jacob Furlow made the second team at defensive lineman, and Ben Parker made it at defensive back.

Lee and St. Amant’s David Oliver were named Co-Coaches of the Year.

The Spartans and Gators may have been the headliners, but Dutchtown made their presence felt as well.

Under first-year head coach Guy Mistretta, the Griffins improved from 3-7 to 6-4 and won a playoff game.

Their defense was their backbone, and that solid defensive unit was led by safety VanShon Grayson. Grayson had six interceptions on his way to being named first-team all-district.

Offensively, running back Brock Beaman and tight end Brandon Davies led the way on the first team.

Quarterback Ben Mays had a great year for the Griffins. Unfortunately, he injured his ankle early in their loss to Catholic in week nine. He was forced to miss the rest of the season.

Mays still made second-team all-district, along with receivers Noah Gray and Terry Matthews, linemen Noah Pitre and Riley Lawrence and punter Cadon Story.

Defensive lineman Briant Parker, linebacker Jacoby Johnson and defensive back Jordan Jackson all made the second team.