Karr tops CrescentCitySports.com Class 4A preseason football rankings

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Karr Cougars
(Photo: Terrill Weil)

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Any discussion about Class 4A football in Louisiana begins with Karr and Neville, or Neville and Karr, depending on your preference.

The two schools have totally dominated the class and they remain the teams to beat in 2017.

To pick one over the other is a tough task but for the sake of splitting hairs, we will go with the defending champion Cougars of Brice Brown to get things started.

Here is your CrescentCitySports.com Top 10, along with other teams to watch among the 4A enrollment classified teams in Louisiana:

1) Karr–Replacing Aldon Clark, Racey McMath, Dai’jean Dixon, Santee Marshall, Tyler Casby and Darnell Bridges is not an easy task but Karr is equipped to do so. Senior Skyler Perry takes over at quarterback.

Senior Anthony Spurlock should top the receiving corps while junior Khalfani Simmons is experienced as well.

The offensive line is a real strength, with four of five starters returning. Center Lemar Johns starts every play, guards Delano Smothers and Tyree Jones are strong and tackle Titus Jones is very good. Junior Ronnie Jackson should be outstanding at running back after starring in the state championship game with Neville.

The defensive front is good again, with three prominent contributors returning. Senior Terrance-Casey Charles had 10 sacks a year ago while junior Austin Kent is a returning starter. Senior Ronnell Burbank adds experience as well. Senior Sheldon Celestine is the top linebacker while junior Devin Bush had seven interceptions a year ago. He has a slew of top college offers, including from LSU. Chance Carroll is another player to watch.

2) Neville–The Tigers could easily be at No. 1.

Seniors Demaine Riley and Craig Turner will carry the load in the running game. Senor Payton Batteford takes over at quarterback and senior tight end Chandler Moses is a good one. Jake Newton and Devin Phillips return to anchor the offensive line.

Defensively, seniors Anthony Freeman and Luke Cagle return to bolster the front while senior linebacker Mahlon Markle is a good pass rusher. Freeman recorded 10 sacks a year ago. Senior Corey Straughter is a returning starter in the secondary.

Former Neville star Taylor Burch takes over as offensive coordinator for Mickey McCarty.

3) Warren Easton–In his second season, Jerry Phillips will have an Eagles squad that will challenge for a state championship.

Warren Easton played tough in a semifinal loss at Neville a year ago and the Eagles have talent returning.

Senior quarterback Joseph Edwards is simply outstanding while Damien Tate is a real threat on either side of the ball. Senior Larry Barabino returns to anchor the running game and sophomore Ashaad Clayton has a great future.

The Eagles have perhaps the top receiving duo in the state with seniors Sheldon “Sticks’ Jones and senior Yo’heinz Tyler. Sophomore Ashaad Carter has game-breaking speed. Senior defensive lineman Khyran Givens is solid.

4) McDonogh 35–The Roneagles of Wayne Reese do not rebuild, they simply reload.

The talent is there once again in 2017 for McDonogh 35 to contend for state honors in 4A.

The Roneagles played Karr very tough in the semifinals a year ago. Despite losing, they took confidence in knowing they played with the best on virtually even terms.

Senior LeJohn Howard returns to lead the offense at quarterback and will be one of the best around. Lawrence Keys, III is a superb wide receiver while Jared Miles is outstanding as well. Eddie Tillman should excel at running back.

Defensively, Joseph Foucha is elite in the secondary, along with Glen Dwight-Brown and Jaden Henderson and Austin Jones while Devin Winters is very good up front. In a loaded district and class, the Roneagles will most certainly contend for state honors.

5) St. Thomas More–The Cougars finally broke through and got Jim Hightower the elusive state title to go with his Hall of Fame honors. STM will be very good again, perhaps the favorite in Division II once again.

STM must replace departed quarterback Nate Cox, who through six touchdown passes in the state championship win over Parkview Baptist.

Up front, massive senior Grantt Young (6-foot-5, 350) paves the way for senior running back Chris Primeaux. Junior Sydney Lindon will get carries as well. Senior Mason Pesson is the top receiver, having caught 48 passes as a junior.

The defense will be good. Up front, seniors Brandon Gannon and Sam Greenwood return. Greenwood had eight sacks a year ago. Senior Paul Laborde anchors the defense from his middle linebacker spot. He led the team in tackles a year ago. In the secondary, senior Jude Joseph and Cade Broussard return. Broussard had three interceptions in 2016.

6) Parkview Baptist–After falling one game short of a second straight state title a year ago in their third straight state championship game appearance, the Eagles are poised and ready for another state title run.

Senior Connor Joffrion returns as an outstanding running back in the hard-charging, physical running attack. Senior Benji Stansell is a returning starter up front. Senior Cole Mayet is an outstanding two-way performer.

Once again, Parkview Baptist has a killer schedule to navigate but as we discovered last year, the Eagles can handle it.

7) Lutcher–You have to put the defending Class 3A champions in the mix, though they are stepping up a class.

Dwain Jenkins returned home and led his alma mater to a state title a year ago. Replacing Jontre Kirklin, now at LSU, will be a tall task. Junior Kolby Bourgeois will attempt to fill the large shoes and he has athletic ability.

Offensively, the Bulldogs will rely on senior running back Daevon Adams while sophomore wide receiver Jacoby Williams is a budding star.

The defense features three stars in senior lineman Keiron Goudia, senior linebacker Rowdy Scott and junior defensive back Zane McCrary.

Despite stepping up in class, Lutcher is still strong up front and will most certainly contend for state honors in 4A.

8) Carencro–The Bears had an excellent season, reaching the 4A quarterfinals before bowing out against powerful Neville in 2016.

Treylon Barnaba returns as the leading rusher from a year ago and Skyron Littleton is a big, talented tight end. Juniors Deion Senegal and Artrell Marks provide experience at wide receiver.

Defensively, Keon Jean Batiste is a star up front while Jalen Angelle is an outstanding linebacker. Senior Brendan Willis returns in the secondary after recording three interceptions a year ago.

9) Plaquemine–Junior quarterback Treyvon LeBlanc returns to lead the offense but the Green Devils must replace outstanding running back Kevin Dominique. Senior Wayne Toussant is an excellent receiver and runner who returns for Plaquemine while Michael Sproles is solid as well.

10) Teurlings Catholic–You must always include Teurlings Catholic among top teams to watch, though the Rebels lost all of their primary runners, including quarterback Hayden Cantrelle, along with running backs Jansen Lormand and Tyler Bruno.

The Rebels also lost a good receiver in Luke Vidrine to graduation. Senior Connor Talbot returns to provide a receiving threat for senior Wesley Blazek, who gained experience at quarterback while playing defense as well a year ago.

Senior Cole Newland is a top defensive lineman while seniors Beau LeBlanc and Bryant Masson are solid linebackers.

Others to watch: Bastrop, Franklinton, Salmen, Livonia, Cecilia, North DeSoto, Vandebilt Catholic, E.D. White Catholic, Assumption, Breaux Bridge, Rayne, Benton, Minden, Woodlawn (BR), Lakeshore

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Ken Trahan

Ken Trahan

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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