West Monroe has another Class 5A football title run in its sights

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West Monroe vs. Landry-Walker in Class 5A title game
(Photo: Terrill Weil).

The West Monroe Rebels football team returns two of the top football prospects for the Class of 2017 and that is plenty of reason for there to be lofty expectations this season.

Coming off a stinging 50-21 Class 5A championship game loss in New Orleans last season, the Rebels begin with in title contention at the top of the check list.

“It doesn’t take much to motivate our guys,” West Monroe senior quarterback Slade Bolden said. “We are ready (to get started). We have been working hard.”

Bolden, the reigning All-NELA Big School Offensive Player of the Year and Ouachita All-Parish Player of the Year, is back for his senior season. The Texas Christian and Alabama recruit is one of the state’s most dynamic playmakers and is expected to play multiple positions as needed for the Rebels. Sophomore pocket-passer Garrett Kahmann is expected to play some quarterback for West Monroe in 2017,

West Monroe coach Jerry Arledge enters his fourth full season as head coach of the Rebels and 25th season on staff following a long stint as defensive coordinator and a hand in eight Class 5A state championships and at least a share of 20 consecutive district championships.

“I think all our coaches (Casey) Sanders, and all those coaches – Todd Garvin, Mickey Easterling it was one of our better summers,” Arledge said. “A lot of competition and the kids worked extremely hard. Almost all of them made the required number of workouts and that is always a good thing.”

Arledge said he feels great and will continue to coach as long as he enjoys doing what he is doing.

”All our coaches,” Arledge said. “We do it because we love the game and when I get un-passionate about the game I will get out, but right now it is fun to me. And what a great coaching staff we have.”

The Rebels open the season with a multi-million dollar renovation project completed this summer with new field turf and a home stands that includes a double-decker press box and concession stands.

“Our stadium, I think is second to none,” Arledge said. “It is certainly the prettiest stadium I think. We got the new turf, the other turf was 14 years old, it outlived itself by 4-6 years. This is beautiful turf.”

Jacob Ingram, Austin Breen and Ryan Johnson lead a talented group of returning senior offensive linemen that goes eight deep among those with a lot of snaps under their belts.

Brandon Warren is the leading candidate to take over for University of Tennessee signee Trey Coleman at running back. Coleman was a three-year starter that kept a steady hand in the backfield as of late along with departed fullback Trace Mayo. Warren is a bruising runner that missed one year of football, but had a strong summer of workouts according to Arledge.

Defensively, the Rebels are led by LSWA Defensive Player of the Year from 2016, linebacker John Bailey Gullatt. Gullatt made nearly 200 tackles last season and has college scholarship offers by Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Army, Navy, Air Force and many more of the top academic schools in America.

Andrew Gleason returns to anchor a defensive line that has some questions to answer coming into 2017 while junior Carson Jones came into his own as both a defensive back and kicker last season.

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