Locals slated to participate in East-West All-Star Game
CROWLEY – It’s back!
After a nine-year hiatus, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, in conjunction with the Louisiana High School Coaches Association (LHSCA) and the Louisiana Football Coaches Association (LFCA) will put on the East-West All-Star Football game on Saturday at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium.
And the renewal of the game will have a little local flavor this year as four Acadia Parish standouts will suit up for the contest. Also participating will be one of top football coaches in the area.
Notre Dame’s Gavin Bourgeois and teammate Hunter Stelly will line up on the defensive side of the ball for the West while another Pio, Patrick Hundley and Rayne’s Matt Dore will play on the offensive line. And they will do so for head coach Lewis Cook, who will be coaching in his third East-West All-Star Game.
Unlike Cook’s two previous appearances in the game, this year he will be the head coach of the West team. He previously coached as an assistant in the annual event in 1990 after his Crowley Gents won the Class 3A title and then again when his Notre Dame Pioneers won it in 2001.
“When I was contacted, I figured this was one of the last opportunities I had for this,” said Cook, whose 2013 Pios were eliminated from the Division III playoffs by Parkview Baptist in the quarterfinals.
“I didn’t know I’d be the head coach at the time. I would rather not have all the headaches of planning everything, but they listed me as the head coach. It’s an honor and it’s always a fun experience getting to deal with all the kids from around the state. I’m looking forward to it.”
Cook also cherishes the chance to coach his trio one last time.
“I know our guys are excited about getting to play one last game and it’s really going to be a good group from the area,” said Cook. “Those guys really had a good season for us and it’s an honor to get a chance to play in this game.”
Joining the four Acadia Parish standouts from the Acadiana are St. Thomas More defensive back Kendall Johnson Jr. and kicker/punter Gunnar Raborn, Breaux Bridge tight end Demontreal Babineaux and defensive lineman Isayah Wiltz, Comeaux linebacker Joshua Villagomez and Teurlings linebacker Michael Courville, St. Martinville offensive lineman Lawrence Courville and Acadiana defensive linemen Quincy Arceneaux and Cody Chavis.
The All-Star game had been played at LSU’s Tiger Stadium before the contest was dropped and replaced with the Bayou Bowl, a game that pitted a Louisiana All-Star team against a Texas All-Star team. Due to sponsorship issues, Texas is no longer able to participate and the bowl has been disbanded.
With the return of the East-West All-Star Game, the LHSCA/LFCA now has the opportunity to honor twice the amount of outstanding senior football players than years past. Any member-school coach was able to nominate a senior football player for consideration.
The selection committee, which was comprised of coaches from each class, and the coaches of the All-Star game narrowed down the 389 nominees from 161 schools to two, 36-member teams.
The LHSCA and the LFCA also moved the game from its original time in July to December to accommodate more student athletes. The new December date allows football standouts to participate in other All-Star games as well and does not conflict with potential collegiate trainings, which are typically held later in the summer.
“I thought it was a good decision to play it this week because that’s how they do it with all the other All-Star games,” said Cook. “It used to be in the summer and that was kind of hard to do. Since the season just ended, it’s good because they haven’t been away from the game too long.
“And it has doubled the number of kids that get to play so that’s a good thing. I think it will be good.”
Other standouts on Cook’s West All-Star roster that have committed to colleges include Barbe quarterback Kennon Fontenot (Oklahoma State), South Lafourche offensive lineman Bailey Granier (Vandebilt), John Ehret running back Darrel Williams Jr. (Arizona State), Evangel receiver Jarrod Cornelius (Arkansas) and New Iberia running back Daniel Lewis (University of Hawaii).
The East squad, headed up by Neville coach Mickey McCarty, will be led by Ouachita Parish wide receiver Cameron Sims, who is a verbal commitment to Alabama. Other standouts include Neville quarterback Andre Fuller II, Scottlandville running back Dontrell Hilliard and East Feliciana running back Kameron McKnight.