January 31, 2023

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LA High School Football

D.I.T.R: Marquette Duncan – Safety

Marquette Duncan is a 17 year old Safety listed at 5’9 185 pounds at Southern University Lab School. Marquette was born and raised in Baker, Louisiana and has attended Southern Lab since the 8th grade. Duncan is a fierce defensive-minded player, who plans on farther displaying his talents in his senior year next season. Marquette was able to take an interview to talk about his young career thus far and more:

Q: When did you start playing football?

I started when I was much younger, 2011 I played for the Baton Rouge Rams.

Q: Do you play any sports other than football?

I run track – 300 meter hurdles

Q: What is one of the biggest challenged you’ve faced playing football, and how did you overcome that?

I would say the biggest challenge I faced was the learning curve, took awhile to gain confidence and trust in myself, and my instincts. What helped me get over that was trial and error and knowing when you mess up you have to keep trying.

Q: What is your favorite part about your position?

I can see everything and I am aware of everything. If I see something that’s not right I can call it out and change that and help my own team – and playing safety is so much fun. Getting to come down on run or playing over the top analyzing where the pass is going to go.

Q: What is something you have learned from football so far?

Being able to work with people and learning to accept different personalities and characters. As well as the brotherhood and bonds you makes with your teammates is something you’ll have for life.

Q: Who do you idolize on the football field; Whether it is a current player, former player, or someone else?

Idolize a few in the league – First i would have to go with Jamal Adams. I love how he plays, he is very high intense on the field. Budda Baker– He is my size and that shows me that anyone can play that position – he’s not 6’1 or 6’2 but because of that he has to play at a high intensity and a high level of football, with a high IQ he is able to be one of the best defensive players in the league.

Q: What are some of your dream colleges and why?

I really do not have any specific colleges or universities. I watch all college football

Q: What strengths do you believe you have, that makes you a great athlete?

Versatility on the field and playing different roles to help my team out. I am a leader.

Q: How would your teammates describe you?

Intense.

Q: What motivates you every day, and throughout a season with practice every day?

Make every day count, no matter if its practice or a game or a walkthrough it could be your last. So you have to treat every down like its your last.

Marquette Duncan is without a doubt a player who is poised on the field and wants to be out there. He plays at a high level with shifty movements and great speed to defend receivers. Marquette is also a power hitting defensive player who can be used at a linebacker position or from a safety defending the run as well. He is dedicated to his work and his team. Marquette Duncan is a safety in the 2024 class and plans on making a big impact on the field this upcoming season for Southern Lab.

School Spotlight: Tomball High School (TX)

Tomball High School, located in the Tomball region of the Houston metropolitan area, plays in the Division 6A of Texas high school football. With over two thousand students enrolled, the school’s gradual student body growth has led to the Tomball cougars joining the Texas 6A division as of 2020. First-year head coach Dave Handal was tasked with following up a 6A D2 state semifinal appearance after the departure of a large senior class and a relatively small rising senior group of eighteen players. Even in the midst of a big transition year, Tomball were able to advance to the regional playoff game after two notable playoff wins, including a last second victory over an undefeated New Caney football program. With their lone playoff loss coming to eventual 6A D2 champion DeSoto, Tomball were able to put together an excellent season and I spoke to Coach Handal about how Tomball were able to pull off such an impressive feat.

Coach Dave Handal joined the program as a defensive coordinator under Kevin Flanigan in 2017 before being promoted to the head coaching position after Coach Flanigan accepted a position as the athletic director for Tomball ISD.

The most important thing that Coach Flanigan taught me, something that I’ll never forget and that we live by each day in our program, is that your culture is the most important part of any successful program. It’s not about how talented you are, you can be very successful if you really spend the time to develop and teach the expectations of your culture to your kids.”

Dave Handal, HC
The Tomball football team lined up for the National Anthem (photo via FootballTomball twitter account)

Asking Coach Handal about what the expectations were prior to the season beginning, he emphasized the importance of focusing on getting better each and every day and disregarding the word that so many often used: rebuild. After an 0-2 start, the team really started to find their identity and had a huge morale boosting win against Dawson High School before beginning district play, a win which kicked off a 6 game winning stretch for the Cougars. With this mindset in place, the rest took care of itself.

Finding consistency was one of the challenges the team undertook in the first few weeks of the season. The flashes of a good quarter came here and there, but it took until week 3 to be able to put a full game together, where the team first demonstrated how to finish a game. Some of the high points of their season included beating school rivals Tomball Memorial for the second year in a row, the first time in school history to do so. Defeating a New Caney team going on an eleven-game undefeated season was also a proud moment for the Cougars, where they were able to neutralize 4 star Ole Miss recruit Kedrick Reescano.

“We really talk about trust being the foundation of our culture, the relationships and connections with out kids, not just player to coach but outside of that whole realm. This a life-long relationship, it’s all about the connection and trust, these kids know that their coaches truly care about not just as athletes but as people. It goes beyond the day they leave our program, whether they go to college or enter the work force or whatever they might do, that they truly know that we want them to be successful and we’ll do anything that we can to help them be successful.”

Dave Handal, HC

Coach Handal explained that the team’s core values are Fast, Hard, Finish Together. Finishing everything together and remaining nine units strong, meaning there’s trust among all nine units on the team. He expressed that these values transcend the football field and that they are taught how to apply them in their day-to-day lives.

“That’s what it’s all about, where they can utilize all these things that they’ve learned in Tomball football to be a better husband, a better father, a better brother, a better student, whatever the case may be, that’s the biggest thing that we’re looking to do.”

Coach Handal, HC
The team in holiday-themed dress listening to Coach Handal (photo via FootballTomball twitter account)

This year, Tomball’s senior class consisted of eighteen players, all of which Coach Handal was incredibly grateful for. Dwindling down from the sixty freshmen that started with the program in the season before the pandemic, coach described them as a resilient, determined, and positive group of kids who overcame even the grimmest of situations. Prior to the season beginning, Carson Collins, a sixteen-year-old junior on the team, lost his life along with his brothers and grandfather in a tragic homicide incident. The Tomball players were able to turn this gut-wrenching incident into a learning experience about the value of life and community, overcoming the adversities and obstacles in the season in memory of Carson.

Coach Handall with the Collins family in a team tribute for Carson

Before letting him go, I was able to ask Coach Handal to highlight some of the talent he had on both sides of the ball that would be returning to help the team build on a great season.

Quarterback Carter Noyes, a junior this past season, played every snap in his first year on varsity. Going into his senior year with a full year of experience under his belt after making tremendous strides throughout the season, Coach Handal is excited to see what he can lead this team to this upcoming fall.

Running Koby Fosher, splitting carries in the backfield this season, had a great season as a do-it-all dynamic player for the team, and is set to shoulder an even more important role for the team next year.

Koby Fosher in action vs. Klein Cain

Tight-end Coby Dawson, with a 6’4″ 240 lb. frame, is set to also take on a bigger role next season.

On the defensive side of the ball Ramon Pernas is set to anchor the defensive line after an impressive junior season that saw him selected to 1st team All-District, amassing 77 tackles and 12 tackles for loss.

Ramon Pernas warming up for a game with Tomball

His brother, Lucas Pernas, is also set to help lead the defensive line after a sophomore season in which he accumulated 63 tackles and 5 tackles for loss.

Looking towards the future, Coach Handal, hopes that the football program at Tomball continues to grow, having overseen three freshman teams this year. He stressed that the focus is not to talk about results or championships, but rather focus on continuing to get better and build upon the foundations that they’ve developed in the past few seasons.

D.I.T.R: Davin Hall

Davin Hall is a junior fullback/tailback for Woodlawn High School. He is apart of the 2024 class, he played mainly fullback during his junior season but plans on having more of a role at tailback this next season. Davin is 5’9 and weighs 183 lbs, he has a max squat of 350 lbs. In the offseason Davin participates with the Randall Passing Academy. This past season was his first year on varsity and he looks forward to more opportunities during his senior season.

Here is Davin’s link: https://www.hudl.com/profile/16796526/Davin-Hall/about

When did you start playing football?

“My mom always said I had the ball when I was a baby, but I started pad football when I was 7 years old.”

What is your favorite thing about football?

“Baton Rouge is a real rough area and football has been an escape for me. I love everything about it the contact, the hardworking, and more.”

What is something you have learned playing football?

“Not to short myself, If I don’t give 100% everyday than I am only cheating myself.”

Do you play any other sports?

“I used to play basketball, but now other than football I just go to track practices to work on my speed.”

Who is your favorite college football team?

“It has been LSU since I was a baby.”

Who is your favorite NFL Team?

“If I had to pick one I would say the Kansas City Chiefs.”

What is your best skillset as a player?

“I have understood that I need to do my specific job at my position for my team to be successful. So my greatest strength is executing the job given to me.”

Who is your biggest role model?

“My mom for sure. I am so grateful and proud of her for raising three kids as a single mother it is not an easy thing to do.”

Who do you look up to as a player?

“Ja’Marr Chase or Justin Jefferson because of how hard they work, I have watched a lot of their workout videos.”

How do you balance school and football?

“School comes first. I have always stood by being a student before being an athlete. I always check that my work is complete and turned in before I get to play football.”

What has been your best football memory?

“I didn’t get to play football my first two years of high school because of shoulder surgery, so being able to immediately come in and start as a junior was pretty special to me.”

How do you prepare for a game?

“I like to eat something healthy, go over the playbook, lock in, and clarify any questions I may have with the coaches.”

What separates you from others?

“I am always going to be one of the hardest workers in the room. I want the most and I don’t take days off because I want it that bad.”

What is being a good teammate?

“Understanding that it is a team effort and when one guy doesn’t do their job all the wheels can fall off. Opportunities arise from everyone collectively doing their job.”

D.I.T.R. : Jeremiah Cotton

Jeremiah Cotton is a class of 2024 Strong Safety and Wide Receiver. Jeremiah plays for his school Madison Prep in Baton Rouge, LA. Standing at 5’10” and weighing in at 167lbs, Jeremiah uses his physicality and knowledge of the game to be one step ahead of the opposing team. Jeremiah was brought onto the team by his teammate and friend Brandon Blunt. Jeremiah spoke very fondly of Brandon who is set to be featured as a D.I.T.R as well.

I got the chance to speak with Jeremiah and ask him some questions about many facets of the game.

When did you start playing football and why did you start playing?

“This is actually my first year playing football for Madison Prep. I was inspired to play by watching players like Tyrann Mathieu as well as my friend and teammate Brandon Blunt.”

What aspect of the game made you fall in love with the sport?

“I like the physicality of football as well as the team aspect. Football is the ultimate team sport so depending on your teammates is necessary for success. If a corner is lockdown but his safety misses his assignment then you can still give up a score. It’s unlike other sports like basketball where one player can win games for a team so I would have to go with teamwork also.”

Who is your favorite player to watch?

“I really enjoy watching Jameson Williams, he is a pro level guy that I really look up to.”

Who do you look up to as a role model?

“Personally I look up to my Mother the most.”

Is there a player that you try to model your game after?

“I try to model my play after Greedy Vance who plays for Florida State.”

What have you learned about yourself from playing football?

“So far I’ve learned that I have a lot of room to grow. When I first got on the field I didnt have it, I was slow and sloppy with my fundamentals but I know that I’ve been improving day to day. I’ve learned that it’s a slow grind but I see the improvements.”

What do you bring to the table for your school Madison Prep?

“I bring everything, but most importantly my grades first. I’m also very coachable as well as a good teammate. I always try to pick my guys up if they are flustered.”

What sets you apart from the other players at your position?

“What sets me apart from other players is that I don’t fear contact. I’m always willing to make a play on the ball.”

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your career?

“Keeping my confidence is something I struggled with when I first started playing. I was hard on myself when I messed up but since I’ve started 7-on-7 I’ve begun to overcome that.”

What is your favorite play that you have made?

“One time we were at practice, and I know some people overlook practice but I love it. But I wasn’t having a great day this day until the offense came at us with a vert and a post route. My assignment was to pick up the outside man and I was proud of myself for reading the routes and making a play on the ball or else I we would’ve given up a big play.”

What would you say is your strongest ability on the field?

“When Im on offense I’m good at reading coverages and vice versa on defense. I like that I get to impress people with my knowledge. Even though I’m new to playing football I’ve gained a lot just from watching and playing madden over the years. “

What motivates you to get better every day?

“I’m motivated to get better so my mother doesn’t have to pay for me to go to college. My brother goes to LSU on a full ride so I thought it would be good for me to do that while also playing the sport that I love.”

When looking at a college, what kind of things draw you in to want to go there?

“I look at everything. I look at culture and coaching style but what gets my attention the most is when a school lines up with my morals.”

What kind of goals do you have set for yourself this upcoming season?

“I want to get better in the weight room to show how much I’m willing to work. I also want to keep my GPA up because school always comes first.”

What is your favorite situation to be in on the defensive side of the ball?

“I like being in alert coverage. It sets me up to make a play on routes over the middle where I can get a pass break up or interception.”

School Spotlight: Aledo High School (Aledo, TX)

Aledo High School is a public 5A classification by the University Interscholastic League. The school is located in the DFW metroplex just west of Fort Worth called Aledo, Texas. The Bearcats have marked themselves as one of the state’s top football powerhouses. The school hold the state record for the most state championships with 11. The most recent title coming this past 2022 football season. The team expectations at Aledo is simple, “Win a state championship.” Coach Jones says the goal this upcoming season is to take it one game at a time. The team is looking to win another district title and work their way through the playoffs. Aledo is currently on a 111 game district win streak! The Bearcats make sure to not drop a district game on the schedule.  

Head Coach Robby Jones has been at Aledo for 23 years. He was previously the offensive coordinator for 14 years before being promoted to the Head Coach after legendary Head Coach Tim Buchanan retired earlier this month. Jones helped coach for 10 state titles during the span. He has also spent some time as the defensive tackles and linebackers coach before coming over to offensive side of the ball. “So I know the ins and outs on both the offense and defense here at Aledo.” Coach Joe Ryan Williams, previously the quarterbacks coach, will be promoted to the offensive coordinator job for this year. He’s been at Aledo High School since 2017. Coach Williams was also the offensive coordinator at Melissa High School when they won a state title in 2011. Coach Doug Wheeler is the Offensive line coach for the Bearcats. He’s been at the helm since 2000. Lastly, Coach Brad McCone has the keys for the defending champion defense. He has been the Defensive Coordinator since 2017. McCone has ton of state title experience as a coordinator.

Here are some of Aledo’s returning starters for the upcoming season.

Aledo QB Hauss Hejny (Photo taken by kai_visuals)

QB Hauss Hejny 6’0 187 committed to Duke. Returning for his senior year after leading the Bearcats to a state title in 2022. Hejny can do it both with his arm and feet. For opposing defenses, you don’t want this kid to get out of the pocket or he will make some plays. Holds offers from Duke, TCU, California, Nebraska, and others.

Aledo LB Davhon Keys (Photo courtesy of Davhon’s Twitter)

MLB Davhon Keys 6’0 210 uncommitted. A very physical and aware linebacker that just flies all over the field. “He’s pretty much going to get anywhere he wants to go to school”- Coach Jones. Holds offers from LSU, Texas, Clemson, Penn State and others.

Aledo CB Jaden Allen (Photo taken by juvisionz)

CB Jaden Allen 5’11 160 committed to Texas. Jaden is going to be a 4 year starter at Aledo. He is a ball hawking, lockdown corner that’s just hard to throw the ball towards his direction. His brother former Bearcat B.J. Allen Jr. currently plays for the Texas Longhorns. Allen could potentially play some of the offensive side of the ball as well this upcoming season. Holds offers from Texas, Alabama, LSU, USC, and others.

Aledo CB Chris Johnson Jr. (Photo courtesy of Chris’s Twitter)

CB Chris Johnson Jr. 6’1 175 currently uncommitted. Another ball hawking corner that isn’t afraid to play physical against his opponent at any play. Johnson has been on the rise after this past state championship year picking offers from Louisville, Arizona State, North Texas, and others.

D.I.T.R: Haidyn Moten

Haidyn Moten is a 6’1 185lb. well-rounded athlete starting as QB and backup WR/FS out of Collegiate High School in Baton Rouge, LA. Moten’s build at Quarterback allows his mobility and speed to not always be in the pocket, bringing on a great playing style. Moten plays as QB for Collegiate but has the versatility to adjust to any position assigned on the field. Moten’s original position was Wide Receiver where his passion lies but by coming to Collegiate, he served as the last resort for the starting QB position. It took hard work, dedication, and resilience that allowed Moten to quickly adapt by sophomore year. The Class of 2024 prospect from Opelousas, LA, maintains a current 3.6 GPA and a 4.7 40-yard dash, and repping #1 as a team leader. This is a Diamond in the Rough that coaches at the next level would want in a team leader/QB.

When did you start playing football?

 I started playing football in the 6th grade for Collegiate Academy.

Do you play any other sports?

I just started playing basketball in my sophomore year, so 2 years now.

Is there anything you want coaches to know about you?

I am ready to work, and I am down for any challenge.

What do you bring to the table for the Collegiate Football program?

I bring leadership, as a QB you need to be a leader. I bring leadership, my abilities, my work ethic, and my talents are all brought to the table.

Which NFL player serves as a role model to you and why?

I would say Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase because I always had the heart of a receiver, and I like how they run routes so smooth and clean.

How do you build trust that your receivers will execute the play?

To build trust, you got to work outside of the field and build that trust and relationships, going places, working out, and really just team bonding.

How do you remain calm when you find yourself working under pressure?

Under pressure, I think of smooth things. Let’s say when I am deep in 4th quarter, 1 minute left on the clock, I try to stay calm and think of things I like. I stay calm regardless of the score, time, crowd.

What are the advantages your height gives you as a QB?

Being 6’1 as a QB I don’t always have to be in the pocket. There are 6’5, 6’6 quarterbacks who don’t have the same mobility as me. I can always move around fast with my size. 

What have you learned about yourself while playing football?

Coming to Collegiate, I learned that I could play QB. It was a rough start adapting but by the middle of sophomore year I adapted quick.

If you could go back and give your younger self any piece of advice right now, what would it be?

 Don’t stress it and just have fun. When I was younger before any game, I would always be so nervous. I used to just play to play, and I didn’t have fun. Now, I am having so much fun playing the sport I really love.

What do you think sets you apart from any other QB in your same position right now?

My mobility and ability to go to any spot on the field. I don’t always have to play QB, I can play any position. Whatever it takes to win, I’m ready to do it and adapt.

What is your dream school and what will they get out of you as a player?

My dream school is ULL, and they will get my athletic ability because I can play anything.

How would your teammates and coaches describe you?

Athletic, tough, and always ready to compete with anybody on the team.

Six Former Louisiana High School Players Have Punched Their Ticket To Play In The Super Bowl

Louisiana has been known for being one of the best football states per capita, and once again, the Boot shows off its talent at the highest level in the NFL. In fact, six former Louisiana high school football players will get the chance to play in the biggest game of them all, which is the Super Bowl.

Two of the six Louisiana natives represent the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles on the active roster in running back Boston Scott and wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

Scott, who prepped at Zachary High School and played his college football at Louisiana Tech, was one of the leading backs for the NFL’s number one rushing attack rushing for 241 yards and three touchdowns this season. He also played a key role in the Eagles’ NFC Championship win this past Sunday with a touchdown run in the 31-7 victory over the 49ers.

Smith is trying to make history as the fifth player to win the Heisman, a National Championship, and a Super Bowl. Coming out of Amite High School in Amite, Louisiana as a five star prospect, the “Slim Reaper” lived up to the hype winning the Heisman Trophy, setting seven school records, and being a two time National Champion as one of the greatest players to ever play for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Now, he is a top receiver and one of the best offensive players for the Eagles after having 95 catches for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns.

On the AFC side representing the Kansas City Chiefs, there are three former Louisiana high school football players that also have a chance of winning a Super Bowl in running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, safety Justin Reid, and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.

Edwards-Helaire was a star running back coming out of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge and signed with the LSU Tigers. It was not until 2019 in which the Baton Rouge native broke out as the Tigers’ RB1. As one of the star players on LSU’s 2019 National Championship team, he ran for 1,414 yards, which ranked third-most in a single season in school history, and had 16 touchdowns on 215 carries while also having another 55 catches for 453 yards and another touchdown as a receiver. After the 2019 season, Edwards-Helaire entered the NFL Draft where he was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. This season, Edwards-Helaire got hurt in Week 11 as he suffered a high ankle sprain and has not been back in the lineup since.

Reid, who is the younger brother of former LSU and San Francisco 49ers/Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, was a standout at Dutchtown High School in Geismar, Louisiana and also at Stanford where he was a 1st Team All-Pac 12 selection for the Cardinal. Drafted by the Houston Texans in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Reid had a very productive first four years in Houston before being picked up by the Chiefs. This season, Reid has led a Chiefs defense that has been good all season with 83 tackles, seven pass deflections, and a sack.

Sneed is another Chiefs defensive back from Louisiana as he prepped at Minden High School in Minden, Louisiana and played his college football at Louisiana Tech where he was 2nd Team All-Conference USA. Drafted in the fourth round by the Chiefs in 2020, Sneed has become a steal for Kansas City and has thrived as one of their best defensive players. This season, Sneed has helped the Chiefs reach the Super Bowl by having 75 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and three interceptions.

It is also worth noting that even though Cameron Tom is not on the Philadelphia Eagles’ active roster and is one the Eagles’ practice squad, the former Catholic High Bear and Southern Miss Golden Eagle is another Louisiana native that has a chance to win a Super Bowl. Whether it is Tom or Edwards-Helaire, it means that at least one former Catholic High player will come away with a Super Bowl ring joining the likes of other Grizzly greats such as Warren Capone and Donnie Jones.

No matter who comes out victorious in Super Bowl 57, Louisiana will surely be represented on top of the NFL universe.

School Spotlight: Oak Grove High School (Oak Grove, Louisiana)

Oak Grove High School is a public school that was established in 1916. Oak Groves mascot is the Tigers and their team colors are black and gold. Oak Grove resides in West Carroll Parish in Oak Grove, LA and has a student body of around 450 students. A notable alumni from Oak Grove’s football program is Kenny Hill who played defensive back for numerous teams in the NFL from 1981 to 1989. The Tigers also play in the Louisiana 2A level of football and have 7 State Championships in the football program. Head Coach Vic Dalrymple was the head coach for 4 of the 7 State Titles. Coach Dalrymple is also the winningest head coach in Oak Grove’s Program history with an all-time record of 320 wins and 99 losses. These historic accolades is what earned Coach Vic Dalrymple his spot in the LHSAA Hall of Fame. The successor to Coach Dalrymple is current Head Coach Ryan Gregory.

Coach Ryan Gregory started his tenure at Oak Grove coaching the Defensive Line in 2009. Over the years Coach Gregory worked his way up until he was assigned the Head Coaching position in 2014. Over his 9 years of being the Head Coach, Coach Gregory has an all time record of 94 wins and 3 State Titles. The state titles came in 2019, 2020 in 1A and most recently this past 2022 season in 2A level of play. Coach Gregory was also nominated as the New Orleans Saints pick for the Don Shula NFL High School Football Coach of the Year in the 2020-2021 season.

When I spoke with Coach Gregory I wanted to start by asking him about his most recent success and what it was like to bring a State Championship back to Oak Grove.

“It feels great. The goal at the beginning of every season no matter which team we have is to bring home a State Championship and I was awfully proud to see this past years team come full circle and achieve that goal.”

Head Coach, Ryan Gregory

I then preceded to ask Coach Gregory what his outlook was on the upcoming 2023-2024 Season

“We have a lot of guys back. Many of our young guys have played for a while and we were fortunate to have them get two years under their belts. We started a lot of Freshman two years ago so those player have really grown up. We have lost some great guys that contributed for a while but I think we got a lot of guys that make a good nucleus for us to start the season with.”

Head Coach, Ryan Gregory

Coach Gregory mentioned that the team had some young guys step up this past season. Players on the offensive side of the ball like wide receiver Brodie Stuart, tight end Jt Layton and quarterback Jackson Bradley who were all sophomores this past season. As for the defensive side of the ball, players like defensive lineman Isaiah Joles and linebackers Seth Ray and James Harris will be the ones to keep an eye on this season.

The last thing I spoke to Coach Gregory about was his coaching philosophy. I didn’t ask him for his perspective on the field but rather off the field, and what he and his staff do to mold his players to be great even when they’re outside the white lines.

“The things we teach them as far as being physically and mentally tough. Life throws a lot of things at you that the game of football also teaches. We’re going to keep our faith first as we believe everything else will come over that. Those two aspects of our program really help these kids once they leave.”

Head Coach, Ryan Gregory
Wide Receiver Brodie Stuart #10
Picture taken by Jason Saucier
Quarterback Jackson Bradley #7
Picture taken by Jason Saucier

D.I.T.R: Jamarienta Battley

Jamarienta Battley is a Class of 2024 Wide Receiver/ Cornerback for Collegiate High School in Baton Rouge, LA. Standing at 6 ‘1 and 150 lbs, the BR native possesses a unique, versatile playing style where he is able to fully excel on both sides of the ball. One thing that stands out about Jamarienta Battley’s game is his “work hard, play hard” game mentality. Nothing is given to you; you must work hard every day to turn dreams to reality. As an uplifting spirit on and off the field, Battley could be portrayed as a leader that any program would want in an athlete at the next level. Finishing off his last season of high school, Battley’s 3.2 GPA demonstrates his knowledge in the classroom that is also translated onto the field. This is a true Diamond in the Rough that recruits must keep their eyes on.

Q&A with Battley:

How old were you when you first started playing the game and why did football interest you the most?

When I first started playing football, I was like 6 years old. I was always interested in running around and being physical with people, so that’s why I fell in love with football.

What current or past player do you think your playing style mirrors the most?

At cornerback, I feel like I mirror a Darius Slay on the Philadelphia Eagles.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face along your football career and how did you overcome it?

When I first started paying at the school I go to, I had to overcome accepting losing sometimes as a team. I learned that you can’t win it all.

So what do you feel you and your team can improve on the most?

 As a team, we can improve on having that bond when it’s time to go and lock in. It’s about building that team chemistry on and off the field.

What do you think your dream college would get out of you as a player?

My dream school is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As a player on the team, they would get the best out of me.

What makes you stand out among other athletes?

It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I like to uplift my teammates and motivate them to keep going on to the next play.

What is something you look for as soon as the ball is snapped at CB?

First, I’m focusing on the man in front of me, so he doesn’t outrun or get behind me, then I look at the QB and track the ball to get a pick.

What motivates you to get up every day and train to get stronger?

My coaches and my brothers. We all been working hard to get what we want.

What are some life skills that football has taught you since a young age?

Football has taught me to take on responsibilities, on and off the field.

What are some of the main things you consider when looking to commit to a school?

 I am looking for how it’s like out there in the area, how the coaching staff is, and how I would fit in with the environment.

Who serves as a role model/ inspiration to you?

Darius Slay on the Eagles is my idol because he is always upholding his teammates, always stays calm, and is a dog on the field.

What are some personal goals you have set for yourself as of right now?

 Finishing off my last season in my high school career and go on to play ball in college.

What was it like catching your first touchdown pass ever? Do you remember the exact feeling?

It feels good at first because it is everything you work hard towards, so being in that endzone is real exciting.

School Spotlight: Brookhaven Academy (Brookhaven, MS)

Brookhaven Academy is a class MAIS-4A high school located in Lincoln County, Mississippi, south of Brookhaven. The school was founded in 1970 and has fielded a football team since 1971. It was not until 1993, under MAIS Hall of Fame head football coach Herbert Davis, lead the Brookhaven Academy Cougars to their first State Championship. Since then, Brookhaven Academy won six District Championships in a row from 2006 through 2012, winning two state championships in 2009 and 2012. The Cougars won a seventh District Championship in 2018 under former head coach Ron Rushing. In 2021, Brookhaven Academy hired Head Coach Anthony Hart.

Coach Anthony Hart is a veteran of coaching, having over 35 years of experience under his belt, and 23 of the years as a head football coach. Coach Hart has an impressive overall record of of 220-72-1 and a pair of State Championships in his tenure at Lafayette High School in Oxford, Mississippi. He retired from Madison Central High School in Madison, Mississippi after the 2020 football season, but received the opportunity to come back into coaching in his hometown of Brookhaven, Mississippi. Coach Hart inherited the coaching staff left at Brookhaven Academy and they have not skipped a beat. Since taking the job at Brookhaven Academy in 2021, the Cougars have gone 16-6 in two seasons and 6-0 in district games. The Cougars have also maintained six straight playoff appearances.

I was able to talk to the Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Anthony Hart about his football program at Brookhaven Academy. He is looking forward to the challenge of this upcoming season, with only 4 starters returning on each side of the ball. Coach Hart and his staff have plans to prepare for the upcoming season. During the offseason players go in a strength and conditioning lift cycle three days a week. One day a week they bus the kids over to the performance center to work with a guy who specializes in agility and stretching. The football team also practices speed, agility, and stretching once a week at their own facilities. Coach Hart was able to highlight some talent for each offense, defense, and special teams to keep an eye on as returning starters this year.

Lineman Jackson Porter 6’5 265 with a ton of potential. Porter shows quick speed for a lineman. Coach Hart also stated that he can play both on offense and defense if needed. This shows that he also has stamina which is important for an offensive lineman.

Jackson Porter – Lineman no. 62

Jaden Lea is one of Brookhaven Academy’s returning starters from last season. Jaden Lea is an inside linebacker that shows composure and leadership on the field.

Jaden Lea – Inside Linebacker no. 40

Cooper Strickland will be kicker and punter for the Cougars this upcoming season, he is listed at 5’9 140. Strickland has the potential to be a kicker at the next level, showing he is committed to the job by going to kicking camps in the offseason.

Brookhaven Academy Cougars look forward to the upcoming season with the young talent they will have to put on the field. Coach Hart believes in his coaching staff to develop these young men and produce a successful team on and off the field. As a former player of Coach Hart myself I can truly say he will have a playoff contending team every year.

Brookhaven Academy Football in 2021

Rising Star: Ethan “Boobie” Feaster

Ethan “Boobie” Feaster is a talented Wide Receiver in the Class of 2027 who will be attending Desoto High School in Desoto, Texas next year. Ethan is an opponents nightmare with his frame being 6’1 173 lb receiver that can do it all. With the combination of speed, height, and hands, Feaster has already received offers from Ole Miss, TCU, SMU, Texas Tech, Louisville, and other schools. As “Boobie” enters the high school level, he is bound to mark himself as one of the best at his position.

Here is Ethan “Boobie” Feaster’s highlights.

1. When did you start playing football?

I have been playing since 4 years old. At 9, I started playing competitively by playing AU All Star games.

2. Have you played other sports outside of football?

I run track.

3. Where did you get the name “Boobie” from?

The movie “Friday Night Lights”… When I was younger, the team was down a point and I was like “If you want to win, put Boobie in”.

4. Is there a NCAA/NFL player that you would compare yourself to?

I’m a mixture of Stefon Diggs route running and Devante Adams go up and catch the football.

5. What skills do you have that sets yourself from the other players?

My work ethic. My receivers coach tells me to catch 100 balls during practice.

6. Do you have a favorite football moment in your young career?

“The next one.”

7. Who pushes you to be better through your football journey?

My dad and mother. I want to buy them a house next to me one day.

8. Do you have a preference on the offensive or defensive side of the ball and why?

I rather play Wide Receiver, but if they need me to play Defensive Back I will still lockdown somebody.

9. What are your goals while playing at Desoto?

I want to be the receiving leader at Desoto and to have one of the best seasons as a freshman in school history.

11. How do you succeed as a teammate?

I’m always going to be a team leader. I’m not a selfish teammate and I always want all my other teammates to win.

12. Do you have a certain every gameday ritual?

When I wakeup, an hour before my game, and right before we start I pray.

13. What are future colleges getting out you?

They are getting a disciplined, hard working, team player and someone who will be there for teammates.

School Spotlight: Thompson High School (Alabaster, AL)

Thompson High is a public school was established in 1921 in the Alabaster City School District. Thompson High’s mascot is the Warriors and their school colors are red, white, and black. The school has about 2000 students and participates in the 7A level of sports in the AHSAA (Alabama High School Athletic Association). Some notable alumni are Jim Davenport (former MLB Player for SF Giants), Brandon King (2x SB Champion with NE Patriots), and Taulia Tagovailoa (College QB for Maryland and younger brother of Tua, Dolphins QB). Thompson High has won 5 State Championships in football, including 4 in a row (1982 3A, 2019 – 2022 7A). Head Coach Mark Freeman has been the at Thompson for the last 5 years, participating in the State Championship Game for all of those years.

I was able to chat with Coach Freeman about recent success and future plans for the program. Firstly, to highlight the recent success of Coach Freeman, before coming to Thompson High he had won a State Championship at 2 of the 3 schools he coached at. 2022 marks his 10th overall State Championship. Before accepting the job at Thompson, Coach Freeman knew that the turnaround would be very difficult considering the program was not a competitive contender. The school had many head coaches in a short span of time. During the last season, Thompson went 11-3. Losing the first two games of the season to two out-of-state opponents, Coach Freeman proclaimed that starting the season off with some strong opponents would make his team stronger. Coach Freeman was right. Thompson went on a 7-game winning streak, losing the final game before the playoffs began. Despite the performance of his game. Coach Freeman believed that his team was peaking at the right moment. Thompson won the next 3 games, holding opponents to 22 points total in those 3 contests. Thompson played Auburn High in the State Championship game, again, and won convincingly, 49-24.

Looking towards the future, Coach Freeman likes to keep up the success of the Youth Football League which teaches kids the from a young age how to perform better as they grow older. By teaching the kids a basic offense and defense at a young age, by the time they get to High School it will be easier to perform. Coach Freeman credits the Youth Football Leagues greatly for his current success. Lastly, Coach freeman would like to bring a spotlight to the players who make his dream a possibility, including some of the guys who are being overlooked by colleges in recruiting processes.

Here are are some of the players discussed during this conversation:

#1 AJ Green is a class of 2024 Running Back who is 5’9″ 190 lbs.

#8 Kaleb Harris is a class of 2024 Free Safety who is 6’1″ 190 lbs.

#2 Deuce Oliver is a class of 2024 Wide Receiver who is 5’10” 155 lbs. Deuce is pretty speedy and runs a 4.48 40-yard-dash. He is a very impressive physical athlete with a 34-inch vertical, a 200 lb bench press, and a 325 lb squat. Deuce also tests his track speed with a 11.1 second 100 meter dash.

#7 Kolby Hearn is a class of 2024 Wide Receiver who is 5’10” 167 lbs.

#1 Anquon Fegans is a class of 2025 Free Safety who is 6’2″ 181 lbs. Anquon currently has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, Colorado, and Florida. He is a Top 10 player for the entire class of 2025 recruiting class.

#12 Trent Seaborn is a class of 2027 Quarterback who is 6’0″ 178 lbs. He led the Warriors to their State Championship last year as an eighth grader.

#8 Zach Sims is a class of 2024 Quarterback who is 6’3″ 185 lbs.

#7 Jayden Davis is a class of 2024 Linebacker who is 6’1″ 205 lbs. Jayden is a very strong young man, with a max bench press of 310 lbs and a max squat of 525 lbs.

Rising Star: Lawrence Anderson

Lawrence Anderson is a multi-position athlete playing for McKinley Middle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Playing OL and DL, he is a 5’7 220 lbs. prospect who participated in the LGF All-American Game. Lawrence recently showcased his talents last month at Gridiron Football USA’s Junior Varsity bowl game.

Q: Why do you love football?

A: I have been playing the game since I am 5 years old and I get close to the game with my dad 

Q: Who is the one player you model your game after?

A: Aaron Donald

Q: What sports outside of football do you play?

A: Hockey, and sometimes track & field and swimming

Q: What is your favorite memory from football?

A: Scoring the touchdown in the Gridiron Football game

Q: What do you consider your biggest strength in your game?

A: Quickness and agility

Q: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from the All Star Game?

A: There is a lot of talent out there, and there is always someone bigger you have to go against

Q: What is your dream school?

A: LSU

Q: What is your favorite NFL team?

A: New Orleans Saints

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration in life?

A: My mom

Q: What is your favorite post-game or pre-game meal? 

A: My mom’s tacos

Eunice’s Tylon Cooper Ready To Continue Defensive Back Tradition At Southeastern

Southeastern has been known for producing plenty of great defensive backs with guys like Harlan Miller and Robert Alford making it to the NFL and establishing long careers playing on Sundays. More recently, the program has produced FCS All-Americans in the secondary with guys like Ferlando Jordan and Zy Alexander, who just transferred to LSU.

The Southeastern coaches hope to keep that tradition going and in this signing class, the Lions are super excited about Eunice two way star Tylon Cooper, who committed to the Lions back in November because of how the coaching staff pursued him.

“The thing that really helped make my decision were the coaches at SLU. I feel that they really wanted me to be apart of the Lion family as bad as I wanted to.”

“The coaches that were recruiting me was Coach Lee and Coach Hopp. The pitch was really the interest of the coaches. Both coaches took time to come watch me play and that showed that they seen something in me that could translate to the next level.”

Seeing the Lions play against Northwestern State play this past year further sold Cooper the idea that he can thrive in the Lions’ defense.

“The game against Northwestern State was the game that stood out to me. The way the defense held them to only seven points shows the type of defense the Lions have and that they play complimentary football.”

Eunice High School DB and Southeastern signee Tylon Cooper (Photo taken by Andy Bryson)

Playing for the Bobcats, Cooper displayed all of those abilities his senior season as he had 41 receptions for 851 yards and 13 TDs on offense while having 32 tackles and 3 INTs on defense.

Cooper was named on our Gridiron Football Louisiana Player of the Week list multiple times in 2022. His performance against Northwest showed what kind of impact the 6’0, 165 pound athlete with 4.5/40 speed can have.

“A game that stands out among the rest is the Northwest game. I had 2 TDs, 2 INTs, and 293 all-purpose yards. I feel I impacted the game on both sides of the ball to help us get the win.”

Cooper has always had a great mentality when playing football as he grew up playing against guys that were older than him.

“I started playing football when I was 4 or 5. It all started in a field behind Kev house because I didn’t put pads on until my 7th grade year. I realized this was the sport for me when I was 7. I always competed against guys 2-6 yards older than me, and that made me competitive.”

“My biggest strength as a player is my mentality. I don’t care who’s on the other side of the ball. I’m going to play fast and hard.”

Growing up watching a former LSU Tigers and current New Orleans Saint has also helped him try to embrace the underdog role.

“The NFL player I look up to is Tyrann Mathieu. He’s always the smallest guy on the field and he’s always playing fearless.”

That’s how Cooper approaches every practice and game, but now, he is embracing the challenge to better himself everyday.

“The thing I want to work on once I arrive on campus is my strength and weight gaining.”

The All-District wide receiver and defensive back selection is all about the team’s success as his most favorite memory this past season was being a part of a district championship Eunice team.

“The accomplishment that I am most proud of is being a district champ. Even when everyone thought we were going to lose to a tough Leesville team, we all found a way to win that game, which put us in first for the title run.”

Cooper is looking forward to celebrating more championship runs the next couple of years for the Lions after winning the Southland Conference this past season while continuing to strengthen the defensive back tradition in Hammond.

“My message to the Southeastern fans is y’all are getting a guy with limitless potential on the field and a gentleman off the field. I can’t wait to win championships with the Lion family.”

Rising Star: Kourtezz Moore

Kourtezz Moore is a 5’10 166 pound running back and pure athlete at Griffin Middle Academy located in Lake Providence, Louisiana. Kourtezz Moore Began to play football in 5th grade, and now in 8th grade, he is more dedicated than ever. He is a strong running back with power in his legs that he continues to use every play. Kourtezz was able to answer some questions about his young career thus far:

Do you play any sports other than football?

“I like to play baseball and basketball as well. I play first base in baseball and power forward in basketball.”

What is your favorite NFL team?

“I am a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, I’d have to say Travis Kelce is my favorite player on the team. I am positive they will win the super bowl this year.”

Who is your favorite player, whether it is a former or current player, and why?

“Deion Sanders is probably my favorite all-time player. The way he was dedicated to the game, as well as motivate teammates is inspiring.”

What is your favorite position to play in football and why?

“I am a true running back – I like how aggressive and physical you can get, and i enjoy getting to stiff-arm opponents.”

What is something you have learned from football so far that can translate to the rest of your life?

“You can always fall back on your teammates.”

How would your teammates describe you?

“As a leader; someone who they can rely on at all times.”

What are some of your dream colleges?

“LSU because it is close to home, Jackson State and Clemson.”

Kourtezz Moore is a rising star worth keeping an eye on in the future. For now this 8th grader will be displaying his talents for Griffin Middle Academy. Lastly, when asked if he wanted to let people know anything else about him Kourtezz stated, “It is dream to become a superstar and get into the hall of fame.”

Kourtezz Moore commitment photo to Gridiron Football USA Jr All-American Bowl Game