Lyons: End of year football picks spur debate

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

By now, most readers have digested and dissected L’OBSERVATEUR’s All-St. John Parish football team, which ran in Saturday’s editions.

Not everyone was happy with the selections.

Some folks wondered why St. Charles Catholic Coach Frank Monica got the Coach of the Year nod over Riverside Academy Coach Bill Stubbs when Riverside not only won the Division III state championship, but beat the Comets twice during the season.

It’s certainly a legitimate question and I have been asked by a few people to defend it (or, rather,  what the heck was I thinking?).

There is no question that both are excellent coaches with a great deal of respect in the state and both were on top of their games this season.

Coach Stubbs did an incredible job leading the Rebels to their first LHSAA state title.

But the fact is, he was expected to win with the loaded roster of talent he had. And they spread the wealth around the field.

While beaucoup players were nominated for the All-State team, only one offensive lineman, Glenn Bernard, made the Class 2A team.

That’s not to undermine what Stubbs did. It just shows he had a lot to work with.

Coach Monica did a great job molding his 20 new starters into a state runner-up team. No one — certainly not I — expected the Comets to get to the Superdome.

Coach Stubbs got the nod last year after finishing as state runner-up to Notre Dame (which was the defending state champ), as well as the Class 2A All-State Coach of the Year honor.

Coach Monica was recognized for his efforts this year with the All-St. John nod.

And there’s the debate: do good players work against good coaches in such a decision?

If a coach does the expected with a roster full of experienced players, is he Coach of the Year?

Or, if a coach does the unexpected with a roster full of newbies, does he deserve the honor?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

The LSWA recently released the All-State teams.

Riverside Academy OL Glenn Bernard made the Class 2A team.

St. Charles Catholic’s Lloyd Nash was the kick returner and Andrew Rodrigue was named as the place kicker.

West St. John High wide receiver/defensive back/part time quarterback/kick returner Jamal Walters was picked at DB.

Earning honorable mention honors were OL Robert McDonald and Dellary Oubre of St. Charles Catholic; QB Jordan Loving, RB Jeremy Gibson of Riverside, LBs Harrison Heckathorn, Jared Hymel and Trey Catoire of Riverside Academy; RB Kidric Gray and LB Covan Barnes of West St. John.

Class 3A state champ Lutcher got four players on the team, including WR Al’Dontre Davis, QB Jontre Kirklin, LB  Rashaun Preston and DB Dylan Recotta, Jason Dumas, Curtlan Johnson and Dontaze Costly of St. James made honorable mention.

Several ESJH players were named to the honorable mention list, including TE Javon Antonio, LB Irvin Benjamin, DL Miles Meyer, DL Demond Stewart and WR C.J. Turner.

Anthony “Pooka” Williams was the only River Parishes player named to the Class 5A All-State team.

Several players were named to the honorable mention list, including TE Javon Antonio, LB Irvin Benjamin, DL Miles Meyer, DL Demond Stewart and WR C.J. Turner of  East St. John;

WR Justin Jefferson of Destrehan, DL Jaece Stroud and RB Kristian Mosley of Destrehan and Drew Jones of Hahnville.

Lori Lyons is sports editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or