Cougars DE, coach lauded; Tigers QB earns offensive nod
State champion Karr and runner-up Neville dominated the Class 4A football scene throughout the fall.
Continuing with that theme, the schools swept top honors on the 2012 Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A All-State team.
Neville quarterback John Diarse was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player, and Karr defensive end Gerald Willis was the Defensive MVP on the team, which was selected by a panel of sportswriters from across the state.
Jabbar Juluke of Karr earned Coach of the Year honors after leading the Cougars to a third consecutive championship game appearance that produced the Algiers school’s second state title. Karr’s other championship came in Class 3A in 1993.
Diarse compiled 2,896 yards and 38 touchdowns with his running and passing during a 13-1 season that nearly produced a second consecutive state championship for the Tigers from Monroe. The 6-foot, 200-pound senior, an LSU commitment, rushed for 1,259 yards and 20 touchdowns on 136 carries. He also completed 93 of 150 passes (62.0 percent) for 1,637 yards and 18 touchdowns with just three interceptions.
In Karr’s 29-22 victory in the state title game, Diarse accounted for 299 of Neville’s 361 yards by rushing 25 times for 148 yards and a touchdown and completing 10 of 15 passes for 151 more yards and another TD. Diarse was chosen Neville’s Most Outstanding Player in the game.
Willis made no less of an impact during the Cougars’ undefeated season. A two-time all-district selection, he recorded 110 tackles that included 73 individual stops, 24 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound junior earned New Orleans All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year honors after being chosen District 9-4A Defensive Player of the Year.
Juluke, 40, led Karr to the seventh district title of his nine-year tenure and a 9-0 regular season before turning his team’s attention to the state playoffs, where the Cougars were a No. 2 seed behind No. 1 Neville. The 14-0 season improved Juluke’s career record to 79-32.
Returning All-State cornerback Noel Ellis (eight interceptions) and tight end Standish Dobard (39 catches, 688 yards, nine TDs) joined Willis and Juluke as Karr representatives on the team. Linebacker Ashari Goins joined Diarse as Neville’s selections.
Rounding out the 28-player team offensively are running backs Leonard Fournette of St. Augustine (1,553 yards, 24 TDs in regular season), Chris Thomas of Salmen (1,435 yards, 21 TDs) and Damien Jiggetts of Huntington (1,874 yards, 24 TDs); wide receivers Kevin Spears of Holy Cross (61-1,069, 11 TDs) and Jatavious Wilson of Bastrop (79-1,343, 21 TDs); and offensive linemen Kenneth Santa Marina of McDonogh 35, Hunter Alleman of Assumption, Tyree Herron of Franklin Parish, Tyler Bourque of Vandebilt Catholic and Jason Stewart of Warren Easton.
Teaming with Willis on the defensive line are Logan Dupre of Teurlings Catholic (72 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 14 sacks), Chris Crosley of DeRidder (97 tackles, 13 sacks, seven tackles for loss) and Davon Godchaux of Plaquemine (60 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks).
Joining Goins (104 tackles, four sacks) at linebacker are Melvin Jones of Washington-Marion (more than 80 tackles), Edward Williams of Warren Easton (91 tackles) and Edgar Jackson of East Jefferson (122 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 10 sacks).
In addition to Ellis, the defensive backs are Jermaine Roberts of St. Augustine (nine interceptions), Brennan Stelly of Teurlings Catholic (43 tackles, seven pass break-ups) and Tirell Wellmaker of LaGrange (108 tackles, eight INTs).
Vandebilt Catholic quarterback Elijah McGuire (2,603 rushing yards, 497 passing yards) was selected at the athlete position, and the specialist slots went to McDonogh 35 kick returner Carlos Henderson (three returns for TDs), St. Louis kicker Alex Kjellsten (7-of-10 field goals, long of 52 yards) and St. Michael the Archangel punter Christopher Reid (39.6-yard average).
Fournette of St. Augustine and Santa Marina of McDonogh 35 are repeat selections offensively, and Ellis of Karr and Jones of Washington-Marion are repeat selections on defense. Kjellsten of St. Louis is another repeat selection — but at kicker this year after being selected as a punter as a junior.