Kyle West becomes first player at PPHS to earn All-State honors
By: LANCE REED
Over the last half decade, Mamou High School has been blessed in the football department when in comes to pure athleticism. Several football players have moved on and been signed to play at the next level.
With his second straight Class 2A All-State selection, Mamou High’s Robert Walker is looking to be the next.
Walker joins Laterryal Savoy as being one of the very few Mamou football players to receive back-to-back selections on the 2A All-State team. Walker led the Green Demons in rushing and scoring in back-to-back seasons. After coming close in 2007, Walker reached one of biggest milestones a running back can in high school football. He picked up 2,041 yards after the last regular season game against Opelousas Catholic. He also scored 28 touchdowns and averaged over 220 yards rushing per game.
Besides being compared to former Mamou High School football players, Walker was called one of the best in the state among all classes by coaches and sports writers. Parkview Baptist Head Coach Kenny Guillot called Walker the best running back he had ever coached against. Internet sports writers battled over who was the best running back in the state, Walker or Class 4A Leesville’s Michael Ford. The LHS running back will also be making a choice of what school he wants to play for.
“He is surely at the top of his recruiting class,” Mamou Head Coach John Lafleur remarked. “As far as Mamou football history, people mention Richard Gaspard. People also do say how they were two completely different players. If that’s the case, then I have to say they are tied. I mean, teams made it their top mission to take Rob (Walker) out of the game and he still did what he did. He deserves what he gets. I just want to see him be successful at whatever school he chooses, but most of all, I want to see him get a degree and take advantage of what his talent has done for him.”
Walker joins the All-State team as one of the very few selections to make the squad, despite his own football team not making the playoffs. You see, many All-State selections are solidified when sports writers get to watch these players in the playoffs. Walker and the Demons fell short at the end of the regular season. However, Coach John Lafleur took advantage of a very tough regular season schedule and used that to make sure people knew about the talented running back.
“Having him on our team helped out on many different levels,” Lafleur commented. “It taught me that athletes with superstar talent can also be humble people who work hard on and off the field. So many times we see these superstars with bad attitudes and swollen heads. I hope young players that become superstars look up to him, not only because of his talent but because of his attitude and people skills as well. Rob (Walker) also helped us develop plays and routes we will use in the future.”
Walker remained humble and accepting even when the team came out. He didn’t expect to make it or even get the comparisons he did, but it’s nice to get things when you least expect them.
“The season wasn’t totally disappointing,” Walker stated. “I had a lot of fun playing with my friends and teammates. I learned a lot. I matured and learned to follow my blockers rather than try and make things happen all by myself. I really don’t pay attention to all of the comparisons people make, but it’s nice to know they do.”
Walker and Port Barre place kicker Dustin Mistric are the only guys from District 6-2A to hold a place on the team itself. Pine Prairie’s Kyle West and Port Barre’s Donovan Mallet received Honorable Mention. West is the first player in Pine Prairie High School history to receive any recognition on an All-State Football team. The quarterback rushed for nearly 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also threw for nearly 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns. West helped to guide his team to their first two victories in school history. Pine Prairie Head Coach Brian Deville did a marvelous job this year of utilizing the offensive skills of West.
“Him making the team says a lot for him and what he can do,” commented Deville. “Two years ago, he didn’t see much of the field, but his work ethic and attitude got him where he is. This achievement says a lot for him and what we are trying to do here at Pine Prairie.”
Many of the players selected on the All-State team came from John Curtis, Evangel and St. James. There were a total of 28 players to be named to the team itself. The three schools accounted for 11 players. Keep in mind there are approximately 64 schools in Class 2A. The Offensive Most Valuable Player was Evangel quarterback Dez Duron. The Defensive Most Valuable Player was John Curtis linebacker Matt Stansbury. Coach of the Year was former long time Sacred Heart Head Coach Keith Menard. Menard guided the Many Tigers to one of the best seasons in school history before falling in the quarter-finals.
Both West and Walker will be playing football at the senior spectacular that is being held January 10th, at St. Thomas More. The event is called the Louisiana Sportsman’s Paradise Bowl. It is an event that is has been a long time in the making. Players have to receive a special invite. They also had to have had a very good career at their respective schools. The event is very similar to the U.S. Army All-Star game in Sant Antono, Texas and the LHSAA All-Star game that is held each summer in Baton Rouge.