30 Alexandria area players to watch as LHSAA playoffs kick off

LaMar Gafford
Alexandria Town Talk

The LHSAA football playoffs begin this week with 18 teams qualifying from Central Louisiana. Here are 30 players to watch from the area.

Class 5A

T.J. Johnson, ASH: Johnson, a three-star receiver, has 42 receptions for 624 yards and 10 touchdowns and is looking for another personal postseason run.

J’Mari Monette, ASH: The versatile defensive lineman is drawing interest from several Power 5 programs such as Kansas, Indiana and Baylor.

Jarvis Newton, ASH: Despite missing Week 10 against West Ouachita, Newton’s promotion to the No. 1 running back has been a fruitful one of 1,120 yards and 20 touchdowns on 150 carries.

Justin Aaron, Natchitoches Central: A big reason for the Chiefs’ resurgence, Aaron made 81 tackles and intercepted six passes as the leader of an experience secondary.

Caylin Demars, Natchitoches Central: Demars has rushed for 1,329 yards and 13 touchdowns as the Chiefs’ building block on offense.

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Tioga's Jeremiah Caldwell (8) tries to get past Leesville's Frank Ford Jr. (5) in a game held Friday, Oct. 29, 2021 at The Reservation.

Class 4A

Frank Ford, Leesville: The Wampus Cats’ defensive leader turned in another solid season with a team-high 92 tackles.

Caleb Gallashaw, Leesville: Gallashaw has accounted for 1,795 yards and 19 touchdowns as a runner and receiver for the Wampus Cats.

Daveion Grubb, Leesville: Limited last year due to injury, Grubb was the Wampus Cats’ receiving leader with 24 catches for 556 yards and seven touchdowns and formed a dynamic duo with fellow senior Ke’Mhari Pruitt.

Hayden Christman, Tioga: The massive 6-foot-6, 305-pound junior offensive lineman is starting to gain interest from colleges and has been a consistent force for youthful  Tioga.

Jena's Brandon Williams (22, right) runs against Tioga's Noah Roberts (40) in a game held Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 at The Reservation.

Class 3A

Andrew Sanders, Jena: Sanders leads the Giants with 57 tackles and has helped them give up only 11.1 points per game.

Brandon Williams, Jena: Williams has remained consistent for Jena with 865 yards and 12 touchdowns on 130 carries.

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Eli Morrison, Grant: The Cougars have had their share of injuries, including losing senior quarterback Brady Parker to a season-ending torn ACL, but Morrison has remained a playmaker at receiver.

Kyreon Prier, Marksville: Only a freshman, Prier is getting settled at quarterback with 669 yards and five touchdowns this season. In the regular season finale against Caldwell, Prier accounted for 355 yards and two touchdowns.

Pickering's Marlon Freeney (3) attempts to break through a trio or Rosepine defenders, including Michael Woods (left) during the Eagles' 70-14 win over the Red Devils on Thursday.

Class 2A

Tackett Curtis, Many: One of the top five Class of 2023 prospects in the state with numerous Power 5 offers, Curtis has made 58 tackles and intercepted a pass as the Tigers’ top player.

Jakorey Jones, Many: Jones leads an offensive line that has paved the way for four players with at least 450 rushing yards and three with at least 10 touchdowns.

Terrence Williams, Many: Williams continues the Tigers’ trend of dominant running back play with 1,817 yards and 33 touchdowns.

Terry Augustine, Avoyelles: With the style of offense the Mustangs run, offensive line play is vital and Augustine is one of the biggest at 6-7 and 400 pounds.

Dacareyn Sampson, Avoyelles: Sampson has picked up the slack for workhorse running back Carlos Bazert with 1,313 yards and 16 touchdowns, while also catching five touchdowns out the backfield.

Jalen Smith, Avoyelles: Smith has helped the Mustangs' defense thrive with 46 tackles and 11 sacks.

Grant Ducote, Rosepine: Nipping on London Williams’ heels as the area’s top running back in the area left in the playoffs, Ducote has rushed for 1,702 yards and 32 touchdowns this season.

Ethan Frey, Rosepine: The LSU baseball commit has not only passed for 1,555 yards and 21 touchdowns this season, but he has rushed for 444 yards and nine touchdowns, as well.

Michael Woods, Rosepine: The Pickering transfer has given the Eagles a shot in the arm on defense with 114 tackles and seven sacks.

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Malachi Jackson, Winnfield: The sophomore quarterback helped the Tigers achieve their best record in five seasons with 592 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Jamall Warnell, Oakdale: Forming a 1-2 punch with fellow running back Cedric Allison, Warnell rushed for 222 yards and a touchdown in Week 10 against Pickering.

Hayden Sauseda, Bunkie: Not only does Sauseda have 72 tackles this season and 332 for his career with the Panthers, but he has accounted for 1,179 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense.

Class 1A

Wyatt Johnson, LaSalle: Johnson is tied with Rosepine’s Michael Woods as Central Louisiana’s tackles leader with 114 and had a season-high 21 against East Beauregard in Week 1.

Braedyn Gray, Northwood: Gray is the Gators’ leading rusher with 714 yards and five touchdowns and has helped them earn their first non-losing regular season since 2007.

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Zavion Green, Block: It has been a rough year for the Bears, but one of the highlights was Green’s 143 yards and two touchdowns against Montgomery for a 48-6 win in Week 9.

Brayden Byers (2) for Menard, breaks a tackles for some positive yardage.

Division III

Brayden Byers, Menard: An all-around athlete, Byers has 1,164 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns while making 22 tackles.

Division IV

Adam Parker, St. Mary’s: Parker has accounted for 1,710 yards and 24 touchdowns for the Tigers while drawing interest from Southland Conference and Ivy League schools.