Seven Ascension football players make All-Metro

Kyle Riviere
Ascension Catholic junior offensive lineman Nick Hilliard was a first-team All-Metro selection. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

So far this offseason, we've seen Ascension football stars recognized as some of the best players in their respective districts. We have also seen them paired together in the act of picking the parish's best.

Now, it's time to honor those Ascension football players that proved this season that they were among the best the entire Baton Rouge area had to offer.

Recently, the Baton Rouge area All-Metro teams were released, and seven Ascension Parish players and one coach were recognized for their accomplishments in 2018.

The highest honor garnered by an individual from Ascension was the 5A & 4A All-Metro Coach of the Year. That distinction went to East Ascension head coach Darnell Lee.

Lee, a Spartan alum, led his team to a 9-1 record in his third season as the head coach. They finished as District 5-5A runner-up and reached the state quarterfinals for the first time in nearly two decades.

In the quarterfinals, they were narrowly defeated on the road by fourth-seeded John Ehret.

East Ascension began Lee's first year as head coach with an 0-6 record. Ever since then, they have gone 24-6.

The Spartans won a share of the district title in 2017, and they have won at least one playoff game in all three years of Lee's tenure.

Lee was also named the Parish Coach of the Year.

Two of his players made the All-Metro first team.

On a Spartan defense that surrendered just 15 points per game during the regular season, defensive lineman Deshon Hall made the team.

Hall was recently named the Parish Defensive MVP.

He finished the year with 53 tackles and 12 sacks. Fifteen of his tackles resulted in losses.

Hall is committed to Louisiana Tech, but he has recently picked up offers from Power Five schools such as Colorado, TCU and Wisconsin.

Teammate Falepule Alo also made the All-Metro first team.

Alo, a junior, made the transition this season from guard to center. It worked out well as he came up 34 pancake blocks.

East Ascension's archrival also fielded two players on the All-Metro squad.

On offense, St. Amant senior running back KJ Franklin made the team as an athlete.

During his sophomore and junior seasons, Franklin's primary focus was on playing cornerback. Although, he was also used sporadicly at running back.

But with the departure of Cade Nelson, the Gators needed someone to step up for them in the backfield, and Franklin did just that.

The Nicholls commit became St. Amant's full-time running back, and in doing so, he piled up more than 1,500 total yards and 20 touchdowns.

Teammate Aaron Delaune joined him on the first team. The senior linebacker helped lead a Gator defense that surrendered just 18 points per game during the regular season.

St. Amant went 7-3 and reached the playoffs.

Three players from Ascension Catholic made the 3A & Below All-Metro squad.

The Bulldogs had another tremendous season as they finished 9-1, were runners-up in District 6-1A and reached the Division-IV title game for a second straight year.

Junior running back Jai Williams made the first team as an athlete. Williams has also been named District 6-1A MVP and Parish Offensive MVP.

He rushed for well over 2,000 yards this season. This included a 262-yard effort in the state championship game. That set a new record for most yards in a Division-IV/Class 1A title game.

Williams also set a new state championship record with 40 carries.

Paving the way for Williams all year was junior offensive lineman Nick Hilliard. Hilliard made the All-Metro first team.

The final Ascension Catholic member of the All-Metro team was senior linebacker Andrew Landry.

Landry was a tackling machine on a Bulldog defense that yielded just 13 points per game during the regular season.