West Monroe looks to seal the deal in 2019
As one of the truly elite football programs in Louisiana, it is hard to believe that West Monroe has not won a state championship since 2011. Between 1993-2011, legendary coach Don Shows led the Rebels to eight state titles.
Since taking over from Shows in 2014, Jerry Arledge has maintained the very high level of program and performance with the Rebels. He guided West Monroe to Class 5A championship game appearances in 2016 and 2018. Arledge is entering his sixth year on the job and he and his Rebels are anxious to erase the memory of a brutal loss in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to end last season
In 2018, West Monroe lost a very tough 27-24 title game to Zachary for the 5A state title after leading late in the game.
There is strong reason to believe that the Rebels have a shot at redemption in 2019.
Senior quarterback Grant Kahmann returns to lead the offense after passing for 1,580 yards and rushing for 605 yards a year ago. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Kahmann is committed to ULM.
The task of filling the large shoes of Cam Wright at tailback falls to Derome Williams while Rayshawn Pleasant is expected to see time as well. Senior Cayden Pierce (6-1, 215) is a returning starter at H-Back.
The wide receivers are a good group, led by Jerry Day. A.J. Fenceroy is the new face after transferring from Bastrop while the other receivers are Brett Norris and Javari Sanders.
Junior Rylan Green (6-3, 240) returns to handle the tight end position.
Up front, the Rebels will be very strong with four of five starters returning, led by seniors T.J. Bush, Blake Everett, Daniel Hawthorne and Chaz Tritchell.
The Rebel defense was outstanding a year ago, giving up no points in the playoffs before facing talented Zachary.
The defensive front features senior Dontrell Cobbs (6-4, 260), who is committed to Louisiana Tech, along with a solid returning starter in Malcolm Moore. Ty Allen, Aiden Bellot, Randall Hughes and Ethan Swanner will be in the mix as well.
Tanner Zordan is back to lead a younger corps of linebackers, including sophomores Tag Banks and Brock Harvey while Peyton Todd may play there as well.
Senior Brooks Miller (6-2, 190) leads a solid secondary. Miller led the Rebels in interceptions a year ago while safety Brad Williams also returns. The corners are Evin Wilhite and Latayeveon McFee.
Cade Pittard is set to handle kicking duties while Todd is an outstanding punter.
The schedule is daunting.
The Rebels open at home against a tough Ridgeway, TN squad on Sept. 6 before heading to Independence Stadium to battle Byrd in the Battle on the Border on Sept. 13. West Monroe travels across state lines to take on always powerful Longview, TX in week three before renewing an old, heated rivalry with Evangel Christian at home on Sept. 27. The final non-district game is across town against long-time rival and 4A power Neville.
District 2-5A, which West Monroe has totally dominated, will begin play on Oct. 11 as the Rebels travel to talented Alexandria before hosting West Ouachita. A short road trip to city rival Ouachita Parish follows before the Rebels close at home against Pineville and Ruston.
While there are talented 5A teams in Louisiana, it is acutely possible that we will see the Rebels in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in December once again with a rematch against Zachary looking very realistic.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and 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 Football Foundation, College…