Monroe, Rachal, Feist, Monica headline All-Parish football team for ‘10 season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2011



Unstoppable. Just completely unstoppable.

It seemed like those adjectives were used weekly to describe local offenses. And for East St. John and Riverside, it was accurate more often than not.

Those offenses combined to score over 84 points per game. The triggermen for those offenses combined for almost 6,000 total yards and 90 touchdowns.

As such, it seems fitting that L’Observateur’s Offensive Most Valuable Player in St. John Parish is shared by East St. John’s Darion Monroe and Riverside’s Darnell Rachal.

West St. John boasted a suffocating defense once again in 2010, led by relentless defensive end Ronnie Feist. He is our choice as 2010 Defensive Most Valuable Player.

And St. Charles once again surged to the forefront of the prep football landscape, making its second appearance in the Class 2A state semifinals in as many years. Coach Frank Monica has led his Comets to a 24-4 record over the last two seasons, with losses coming only to John Curtis and Evangel; he is our choice as 2010 Coach of the Year.

Together, they head the L’Observateur’s 2010 All-Parish football team.

Monroe was a starter for East St. John in 2009 – at defensive back. After the graduation of then-starter Kalen Henderson, Monroe converted full-time to quarterback. The results in his first season of play were stunning. He led a Wildcats offense that averaged 42.7 points per game. He put up the best individual season by a Wildcat since Ryan Perrilloux, and furthered that comparison when he broke Perrilloux’s school record for total yardage in a single-game against St. Amant (473 yards, to Perrilloux’s 423). He led ESJ to a 9-1 regular season record before ESJ bowed out in the opening round of the playoffs against eventual state champion Acadiana.

In 10 regular season games, he completed 81-of-153 passes for 1,735 yards and 27 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He did a lot of damage with his legs as well, rushing 154 times for 737 yards and 15 scores.

“He made it all go,” said East St. John coach Ronald Barrilleaux. “He’s the catalyst. Coaches in our district knew this was a guy that can hurt you with his arm or his legs. To do what he did after playing defensive back a year ago, as a first year starter … some guys just are born with ability. He has it physically, but also mentally.”

Rachal, meanwhile, has been piling up the accolades this postseason. He was named Class 2A’s Outstanding Offensive Player by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and the Offensive MVP of District 9-2A.

His numbers make it easy to understand why. In 13 games, including the playoffs, Rachal ran for a staggering 1,789 yards and 33 touchdowns, leading St. John Parish in rushing. He passed for 1,587 yards and 15 scores and only threw four interceptions. With his hand guiding Riverside’s spread offense, the Rebels averaged 41.5 points per game.

“When you have to defend 11 guys, it makes the defense’s job a lot tougher,” said Riverside coach Mickey Roussel, referring to Rachal’s running ability. “I can’t fathom than anyone’s put up the kinds of offensive numbers that he has in the 40 years of Riverside football. He’s consistent and a very humble young man … it’s just been a pleasure to coach him.

“In this day and age you have a lot of kids that play sports in high school. Most do it because they like it. Some are passionate about it and truly love the game. And Darnell loves the game.”

“Feist the Beast” was all but unblockable in 2010, making a living in opposing backfields. The statistics bear that out: he recorded 27 tackles for loss and 11 sacks, with 63 tackles overall.

Feist and his Rams defense dominated in Class 1A play, allowing no more than 14 points from the beginning of district play on, including just 24 in two games with eventual state champion White Castle.

He was named the District 8-1A defensive MVP unanimously.

“I’ve seen a lot of good offensive lineman,” said West St. John coach Robert Valdez. “But I’m not sure how many can withstand him for a whole game. He just goes all out, every play. He’s strong, he’s fast, and he’s just tenacious about getting after the ball.

“I know this much … when a kid gets after it like that, he’s not hard to coach.”

Monica just continues to win at St. Charles, and 2010 ranks as one of his most impressive coaching jobs. Many had the Comets pegged as a fourth or fifth place finisher in District 9-2A after SCC lost the majority of its 2009 starting unit. But St. Charles would finish as district runner-up to John Curtis and advance all the way to the state semifinals, where SCC would finally bow out at Evangel — but not before throwing a scare into the Eagles, who led by just two early in the fourth quarter before pulling away.

St. Charles went 12-2 for the second straight season, and has advanced to the state semifinals or finals in each of the last four seasons it has spent in Class 2A (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010.)

He also oversaw a team which placed a staggering five players on the Class 2A All-State team (LaJaylin Smith, Marcus Hall, Brady Hitt, Harley Scioneaux and Jared Keating.)

“Kids will respond typically when you put them in a position of leadership,” said Monica. “And we had very, very solid leadership from our seniors this year. I think our players played with a chip on their shoulders after we were picked to finish fourth or lower … they felt it was a slap in the face to the program.

“We had a lot of turnover on this team, but the kids who stepped up wanted to follow in the footsteps of the guys who took us to the semifinals the previous year.

“I think they showed their heart in our comeback win over Farmerville … I don’t know that we were a great team in any one area, but I think we were pretty solid in all of them.”

The full All-Parish roster can be found on Page 8A.