Ancelet, Fruge to play in All-Star game
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – For most Louisiana High School prep football fans, the end of the LHSAA State Farm Prep Classic marks the beginning of a long withdrawal period that lasts approximately nine months.
But this year, there’s a quick fix for those fans.
This Saturday, 70 of the state’s top high school players from 2008 will invade St. Thomas More’s Cougar Field to take part in the inaugural Sportsman’s Paradise Bowl at 1 p.m.
The game is the brainchild of Brian Rigby, founder of the Bayou Bowl, a game pitting all-stars from Louisiana against those from Texas, and in response to an action taken last year by the LHSAA.
“Since the LHSAA quit having their All-Star game in the summer, it’s kind of been a free-for-all with a lot of parishes having their own All-Star games,” said Kaplan’s Brent Indest, who is the head coach of one of the teams with Calvary Baptist’s Doug Pederson the head coach of the other.
“It’s a good deal. We have a lot of kids who have gotten a lot of offers but would like to upgrade those offers and we have some kids who haven’t gotten offers and are looking to get out there and get a good game on film against top-notch competition.”
Indest will reunite with one of his former players in Crowley High’s Jordan Ancelet as well as a former 5-AAA foe in Notre Dame linebacker Seth Fruge.
Ancelet, the 2008 District 5-AAA Defensive MVP, will play on Indest’s squad while Fruge will play on the opposing team.
“I remember Seth from playing against him two years ago and I coached Jordan,” said Indest. “I think it’s a great opportunity for undersized guys like Fruge and Ancelet to give them the chance to compete against some of the top talent in the state and really show what they can do against some much bigger bodies. That’s the biggest thing that a college coach is concerned with - how a smaller body is going to react to getting knocked around by bigger bodies.
“You can be as good as you want, but sometimes physics just takes over. It really gives these kids a shot to show what they can do and I really have no doubt that both of these kids are going to hold up and do very well.”
The teams will be divided a bit differently than in past LHSCA All-Star games in that it won’t be strictly a North vs. South contest. In fact, some players from the same high school team will be pitted against each other on opposing teams during the All-Star game.
It will also be different in the fact that during the days of the LHSCA All-Star game, which was played in July, most of the big name players had opted out of playing. This year, most of the state’s top-notch players will showcase their talents.
“Football is still fresh on their minds and I think the timing of this thing is real good,” said Indest. “You have some guys who would really like to get in another game.
“Also, in the summertime, it was getting to the point where the kids who had signed were having their college coaches wanting them to report to summer sessions so it really made it an impossible time to get this done.”
Headlining Indest’s squad offensively is Belle Chasse quarterback Blake Matherne, Leesville running back Michael Ford and Rayville receiver Kenny Bell.
Pederson’s squad is headlined by Barbe quarterback Kric Cutrera, Mamou running back Rob Walker and South Plaquemine receiver Ridge Turner.
The team worked out recently in Baton Rouge for two days and will practice Thursday and Friday this week.
“This is definitely a big honor for me,” said Indest of being selected as a coach. “Although I’ve worked with a lot of really good high school football players, I’ve only had the opportunity to coach three kids that played Division I ball (Jason Mitchell to Tennessee, Ray Boudreaux to Tulane and Kyron Benoit to UL).
“So being surrounded by LSU and Alabama commitments, Big 10, Big 12, SEC commitments, just all these players all over the place, it was like being a kid in a candy store watching these guys just run around and see all the amazing things that they can do.”
The game will also be a fundraiser with all of the proceeds going to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“Nobody is getting paid for this thing,” said Indest. “The proceeds go to cover the cost of the game and to St. Jude’s. That really adds to it and I think it makes the kids feel good about being part of something that is for such a great cause.”