Gridiron Football Player of the Week (Week 13 Edition): 2024 RB Ja’Vain Reese, Northwest (Opelousas, La.)

Player of the Week: 2024 RB Ja’Vain Reese, Northwest (Opelousas, La.), 20,814 votes

Running back Ja’Vain Reese of Northwest High School is our Week 13 Player of the Week. Reese has been instrumental in the Raiders’ Cinderella run as they defeated 11th-seeded Franklin Parish and sixth-seeded Wossman. 

He came up huge again in their double overtime upset victory over third-seeded Assumption in the LHSAA Division II (Non-Select) Playoffs. Reese rushed for 176 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion in Northwest’s 46-44 victory over the Mustangs.

Runner-Up: 2025 ATH Diesel Solari, Cecilia (La.); 14,556 votes

We’re not sure how many times Diesel Solari has been a nominee for our player of the week, but he will keep being on until he wins. In Cecilia’s 38-14 victory over Jennings in the Division II (Non-Select) quarterfinals, Solari was 4-for-8 for 71 yards through the air and had 22 carries for 151 yards and four touchdowns on offense. On defense, he had three tackles, an interception and blocked a punt.

Solari and the Bulldogs will take on Ja’Vain Reese and Northwest this Friday for a chance to go to the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans to play for the state championship.

3rd Place: 2026 QB Luke Delafield, North Desoto (La.); 1,722 votes

Luke Delafield is one of the best quarterbacks in the state and he’s only a sophomore! Delafield looks to lead North DeSoto back to the Superdome after falling just short his freshman year to a talented Lutcher team.

In the Griffins’ 45-21 victory over Iowa in the Division II (Non-Select) quarterfinals, Delafield completed 17 of his 21 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns.

4th Place: 2024 ATH Carter Hanberry, Dutchtown (La.); 1,024 votes

In Dutchtown’s nail-biting 21-20 victory over Central in the Division I (Non-Select) quarterfinals, RB/LB Carter Hanberry was a major influence on both sides of the ball. Hanberry rushed for 84 yards and scored all three touchdowns for the Griffins while having six tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup on defense.

5th Place: 2025 QB Zackeus Malveaux, Opelousas (La.); 259 votes

Opelousas High School made it to the semifinals for the first time since 1994 and a lot of that had to do with its quarterback Zackeus Malveaux. Malveaux was perfect threw the air as he completed all six of his passes for 100 yards and also had 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground in Opelousas’ upset victory over fourth-seeded Lutcher in the Division II (Non-Select) quarterfinals.

6th Place: 2025 QB Johnathan Dartez, Vermillion Catholic (La.); 225 votes

On Nov. 24, Vermillion Catholic looked like it was about to be out of the playoffs after it was down 22-0 to Ascension Catholic. However, the Eagles roared back to avoid the upset as they defeated the Bulldogs 38-35.

An integral part of Vermillion Catholic’s comeback was its three-year starting quarterback Jonathan “Jon Jon” Dartez. Dartez passed for 167 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another 184 yards and four touchdowns. He also scored the game-winning touchdown on a 22-yard run with just under two minutes left to go in the game.

7th Place: 2025 QB Preston Welch, Teurlings Catholic (La.); 56 votes 

Teurlings Catholic quarterback Preston Welch is no stranger to the playoffs as this is his fourth and final rodeo in the Division II (Select) playoffs. In the Rebels’ 42-28 upset victory over E.D. White Catholic in the quarterfinals, Welch threw for 235 yards and tossed four touchdowns.

8th Place: 2025 RB Nate Sheppard, Mandeville (La.); 43 votes

21st-seeded Mandeville’s Cinderella run in this season’s Division I (Non-Select) playoffs has been powered by running back Nate Sheppard, who is one of the top prospects out of Louisiana for the Class of 2025. However, his performances throughout the playoffs have been getting him national recognition and his latest performance was no different.

In Mandeville’s 56-50 upset victory over the fourth-seeded Airline, Sheppard rushed for 263 yards and four touchdowns while also hauling three passes for 35 receiving yards and two touchdowns. On one of his touchdowns, he managed to wrangle the ball out of an Airline defender’s hands for a touchdown to prevent a costly interception

9th Place: 2025 James Simon, Calvary Baptist (La.); 20 votes

James Simon is one of the best players in the country as he is a four-star prospect on almost every single recruiting outlet and in Calvary Baptist’s 49-28 victory over Parkview Baptist he showed why. 

Simon ran for a school-record 348 yards and scored four touchdowns. What makes this performance incredible is not the fact that he ran for over 300 yards but the fact that he did in a pass-oriented offense. When having a dangerous running back like this, it’s no reason why the Cavaliers are one of the most talented and deepest teams in the state pound-for-pound.

10th Place: 2024 TE Elija Lofton, Bishop Gorman (Nevada); 5 votes

National powerhouse Bishop Gorman appears on our list for the first time and good reason as Bishop Gorman tight end Elija Lofton went off in the Gaels’ 56-11 victory over Liberty in the Class 5A Division I state championship game.

The Miami commit scored in every way imaginable as he caught a touchdown pass, ran in for a score, converted two 2-point conversions and even tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass. Lofton finished with four catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns.


2024 QB Daniel Beale, Catholic-Baton Rouge (La.):

21-for-27 with 233 yards and three touchdowns; 67 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 38-35 victory over John Curtis in Division I (Select) Quarterfinals

2024 QB/ATH Ju’Juan Johnson, Lafayette Christian Academy (La.)

13-for-20 with 163 yards and three touchdowns; 14 tushes for 151 yards and three touchdowns; broke Louisiana state all-time total offensive yardage record in 57-21 victory over McDonogh 35 in Division II (Select) Quarterfinals

2025 RB Jordan “Jet” Hayes, Ruston (La.)

13 caries for 174 yards and three touchdowns in 56-17 victory over Walker in Division I (Non-Select) Quarterfinals

2025 RB Jonah Gauhthier, Acadiana (La.)

221 yards and three touchdowns in 28-14 victory over Holy Cross in Division I (Select) Quarterfinals

2025 RB Dedric Lastie, Riverside Academy (La.)

29 carries for 219 yards and three touchdowns in 26-14 victory over St. Martin’s Episcopal in Division IV (Select) Quarterfinals