Terriers star, Tarpons duo lead area's elite team
Wed. December 26, 2012 at 9:22 a.m. | By Chris Singleton/Staff Writer
Vandebilt Catholic quarterback Elijah McGuire (left) and South Lafourche linebacker Braxton Acosta were selected as the Most Valuable Players on The Courier/Daily Comet's All-Region Football Team. (Photo by File photos)
When local high school football fans look back at the 2012 prep season, they will remember the historic milestones achieved by several local teams and players.
South Lafourche, under first-year coach Dennis Skains, captured a perfect regular season at 9-0, making it the second time the Tarpons have achieved the feat in school history.
Vandebilt Catholic senior quarterback Elijah McGuire closed out his explosive high school career by leading the state in rushing, finishing with more than 2,600 yards on the ground and 31 touchdowns.
After a year of historic accomplishments, the sports staff at The Courier and The Daily Comet has named Skains as the All-Region coach of the year, McGuire as the All-Region Offensive MVP and South Lafourche senior linebacker Braxton Acosta as the All-Region Defensive MVP.
The Tarpons capped their season with a 9-1 record and an outright District 7-5A title, which was their first district championship since 2009.
Although its season ended with a 28-13 loss to Ruston in the Class 5A bi-district round of the playoffs, Skains said it was a memorable year for the entire South Lafourche program.
"Anytime you earn a postseason award like this, it is a honor," Skains said. "It's really a tribute to how well your team focused and how hard they worked. It's really more of an honor for the entire coaching staff and the entire team. They were able to focus on what they wanted to accomplish this season, and I'm really proud of them for that."
McGuire, an explosive and elusive runner who as a quarterback led all classes in the state in rushing with 2,603 yards on 223 carries (11.8 yards per carry), led the Terriers to an 11-2 record, a District 8-4A title (team's first since 2002) and a trip to the Class 4A state quarterfinals for the first time since 2007, where it lost to state runner-up Neville.
McGuire, who also passed for 497 yards and five touchdowns, was named a first-team athlete on both the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State team and The Courier/Daily Comet All-Region team. He also received the District 8-4A offensive MVP, and he earned the Bayou team's MVP award at the 13th Annual HTV-10 Thibodaux Lions Club Bayou vs. River All-Star Showdown on Dec. 15.
McGuire, one of the area's top recruits who is getting looks from major colleges across the country, said he will never forget the personal and team accomplishments he was apart of this season.
"As a team, we set some goals at the beginning of the season," McGuire said. "Throughout the whole season, we just kept going and working hard. We just did our jobs, and we just won games. I knew my whole team was going to be behind me 100 percent every day. No doubt about it. I love those guys for that. They play a big part of my life. If it weren't for them, I don't think I would be doing the things I do."
Vandebilt coach Brad Villavaso, who received a nomination for All-Region Coach of the Year, said McGuire is deserving of every postseason honor he gets.
"Eli is such a great team player and leader," Villavaso said. "He's a very humble guy. Eli has always said he would rather win games over getting individual awards. I'm just glad to have him on our team, and I look forward to watching him play again on the next level."
Acosta, the District 7-5A defensive MVP, was a play maker all over the field for the Tarpons defense, finishing with 63 tackles (24 solo, 39 assists), 11 tackles for loss, four blocked kicks, five forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, an interception and a sack. He received LSWA All-State honors as a linebacker.
Skains said Acosta, who is getting several looks from small colleges, was the leader of the Tarpons defense this season.
"His spirit is tenacious," Skains said. "He's a fighter. He's the type of kid where you knew what you were going to get every single game. He goes hard every play. There is no quit to him. He's just a natural running to the football. He was the heartbeat of our defense this season; that's for sure."
Following a 5-5 season in 2009, Acosta said he was determined to help the Tarpons have success in his senior year.
"It was nice to see it all come together," Acosta said. "After a couple of losing seasons when everyone was saying we couldn't do it, it's nice to do something like that and show everyone what we could do. It was a team effort. Everyone had their minds in one direction, and that was to win. We did, and I think they are going to be back stronger next year."
The first-team All-Region quarterback is senior Colby Callais of South Lafourche. Callais, the District 7-5A offensive MVP, completed 80-of-137 passes for 1,338 yards and 15 pass touchdowns and added 100 rushes for 529 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns.
One of Callais' key receiving threats was South Lafourche's Treavon Evans, who was selected as a first-team receiver.
Evans, a senior, had 1,059 all-purpose yards this season. He grabbed 32 receptions for 573 yards and five touchdowns, and he rushed for 218 yards on 37 carries with two touchdowns.
Assumption senior DeJuawn Oliver was the other first-team receiver, catching an area-high 905 yards on 40 catches and 11 touchdowns. As a running back, he added 472 yards with four scores.
The first-team running backs ae Nate Frye of Houma Christian, Ralph Singleton of Ellender and Donta Johnson of Thibodaux.
Frye, a senior and District 10-1A MVP, led the Warriors to a 6-4 record and a trip to the playoffs for the first time in school history. He played quarterback, receiver and running back this season for the Warriors, racking up 1,896 all-purpose yards and 28 total touchdowns. Frye finished the year with 1,088 rushing yards on 80 carries and 16 touchdowns, and he caught 17 passes for 490 yards and nine touchdowns.
Singleton, a senior, was a key weapon in Ellender's explosive offense this season, tallying 460 yards rushing on 102 carries with seven touchdowns and adding 40 catches for 517 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
Johnson, a junior, had 156 carries for 1,319 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also averaged 8.4 yards per carry.
The first-team All-Region offensive linemen were Hunter Alleman of Assumption, Adam Ziepke of South Terrebonne, Tyler Bourque of Vandebilt, Bailey Granier of South Lafourche and Alex Bonvillain of Terrebonne.
E.D. White Catholic's Rene Thibodaux was named the first-team All-Region kicker.
The first-team All-Region defensive line include senior Chris Berry of South Lafourche, senior William Moses of Terrebonne, senior Justin James of Ellender and senior Sean Richardson of Covenant Christian.
Berry was in on 51 tackles (31 assists, 20 solo), 24 tackles for a loss and eight sacks for the Tarpons, while Moses stood out on Terrebonne's defense with 80 tackles (15 for a loss), six sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, two pass deflections, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and a touchdown off a blocked punt.
James wrapped up 73 tackles (29 solo), 10 forced fumbles, seven sacks and four tackles for a loss, and Richardson had 33 tackles (21 solo, 12 assists), two tackles for a loss and quarterback hurries each and a sack for Covenant Christian.
Joining Acosta at first-team linebacker are seniors Geoffrey Hebert of E.D. White, Wilshawn Jones of Ellender and Arrion Sargent of Assumption.
Hebert led the Cardinals with 128 tackles, three forced fumbles, a sack and an interception, and Jones had 74 tackles (24 solo) with two forced fumbles, four tackles for a loss, seven sacks and an interception.
Members of the first-team All-Region defensive backfield were Jordan Bergeron of Vandebilt, Devin Blackwell of South Lafourche, Rashad Sims of Central Lafourche and Ezell Gardner of Terrebonne.
Bergeron, the District 8-4A defensive MVP, collected 55 tackles (33 assists), five tackles for a loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles and fumble recoveries each, five interceptions and 10 pass breakups in his junior season. Defensive statistics for Sargent, Blackwell, Sims and Gardner weren't available.
Grant Rodriguez of Vandebilt was named the first-team punter, and Levi Boudreaux of E.D. White was first-team kick returner.
The second-team All-Region offensive backfield consisted of quarterback Cameron Blame of Assumption and running backs Jake Williams of South Lafourche, DeShaun Diggs of Terrebonne and Aaron Smith of Vandebilt.
The receivers on the second-team are Dan Mitchell of Ellender and Chris Harris of H.L. Bourgeois.
The offensive linemen on the second-team were Jimmy Ledet of South Lafourche, Brodie Hill of Central Lafourche, Chase Doiron of Vandebilt, Jonah Albares of Houma Christian and Taylor Casteigne of E.D. White.
The second-team athletes were quarterbacks Dustin Creppel of Ellender and Mark George of Covenant Christian, while the second-team kicker was Brader Dufrene of Central Lafourche.
Along the second-team defensive line are Ben Johnson of Thibodaux, Regis Lang of Assumption, Jeremiah Thomas of Terrebonne and Bryson Chaisson of Vandebilt.
Second-team linebackers are Peyton Guidry of South Lafourche, David McCormick of South Terrebonne, Colby Guillory of Vandebilt, Brenin Stephenson of Covenant Christian and Victor Bimah of Thibodaux.
Members of the second-team defensive backfield were Devin Harding of South Terrebonne, Eric Nicholas of Assumption and Rasheed Bartholemew of St. James.
Terrebonne's Travis Manor is the second-team punter, while Ellender's Kevin Lucien was named the second-team kick returner.