Dutchtown's Lawrence earns prestigious award

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

It’s a time of uncertainty for high-school athletes across the state as they wait around to find out if they can commence with the spring seasons they began, or if those seasons will come to an abrupt end.

But for one Ascension Parish athlete, last week was a time for celebration.

Dutchtown standout football player Riley Lawrence was recently recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The NSCA named Lawrence a 2020 All-American Athlete Award recipient.

This award recognizes Lawrence’s athletic accomplishments, as well as his dedication to strength and conditioning.

To achieve this great honor, an athlete must first be nominated. Lawrence was nominated by Dutchtown assistant football coach and strength and conditioning coach Keragen McCready.

McCready has been no stranger to achieving accolades through the NSCA. Back in 2014, he and his East Ascension strength and conditioning program earned the NSCA’s Strength of America Award.

This award goes to the school that is considered the gold standard of strength and conditioning—excelling in supervision, education, program and facilities. East Ascension was the first Louisiana school to ever earn this honor.

NSCA’s coaching program manager Eric McMahon said, “We are proud to have Coach Keragen McCready join the NSCA in its mission to safely improve athletic performance. Supporting our student-athletes like Riley guarantees a stronger future for the NSCA.”

The NSCA is an international nonprofit professional association founded in 1978 that is dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning profession around the world.

Its community is made up of more than 4,500 members and certified professionals who further industry standards as researchers, educators, strength coaches, personal trainers and other roles in the related fields.

The NSCA headquarters are located in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Lawrence was certainly worthy of earning such a tremendous honor from the NSCA.

Playing for head coach Guy Mistretta, Lawrence’s high-school career really took off as a junior as he earned second-team all-district honors.

It set the stage for a huge senior campaign.

Lawrence and the Griffins had a terrific year as they finished with a 7-3 regular-season record.

They then reached the postseason and hosted a first-round playoff game. However, they were upset at home by Ruston, a team that would go on to reach the state quarterfinals.

Lawrence was part of an offensive line that paved the way for Ascension Parish Offensive MVP Dylan Sampson. The superb sophomore running back rushed for more than 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns.

At the end of the season, Lawrence was named both first-team All-District 5-5A and first-team All-Parish.

But the postseason honors didn’t end there. Lawrence was also selected to play in the 18th annual Red Stick Bowl in Baton Rouge. In addition, he was picked to play in the second annual Louisiana Gridiron All-Star Bowl in Pineville.

Lawrence is not just a standout football player; he is also a tremendous student with a 4.58 GPA and an ACT score of 29.

The 6-foot-2, 290-pound offensive lineman is on his way to LSU. Lawrence will be joining the defending national champions as a preferred walk-on.

Lawrence plans on playing center and following in the footsteps of former Griffin Lloyd Cushenberry. Cushenberry was the starting center on the Tigers’ national championship squad and now looks to be one of the top centers taken in the 2020 NFL Draft.