One has several scholarship offers, and the other got his first offer over the weekend. Their roles for their teams are as different as night and day.
Those factors make Zachary High School kicker/punter Martell Fontenot and West Feliciana quarterback/defensive back Derek Turner two of the area’s most intriguing players to follow going into the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Prep Classic.
“This will be the first time I’ve had the chance to play at the (Mercedes-Benz) Superdome, and I can’t wait,” Turner said. “This means so much for our fans because we’ve been so close before and now we’ve finally made it. This is amazing.”
Turner and the sixth-seeded Saints (13-1) play No. 8 Richwood (11-3) in the Class 3A title game that concludes Friday’s action at 7 p.m. Both 3A teams will make their Classic debut.
Fontenot and Zachary return to the Prep Classic for the second time in three years. The No. 4 Broncos (12-2) face 10th-seeded Hahnville (12-2) in the 5A title game that closes out the three-day event at 7 p.m. Saturday. Zachary won the 5A title in 2015 with Fontenot as its kicker-punter.
“I think that experience from two years ago helps definitely,” Fontenot said. “(The Superdome) is different than any other place you play, but our focus is the same. We take it one week at a time. We're a team that was worked hard, and, as we got deeper into the season, we kept getting better. The goal is to be better this week.”
Their means were different, but Fontenot and Turner helped guarantee a positive end to their respective semifinal games. Fontenot booted field goals of 45, 29 and 40 yards in the Broncos’ 29-27 win over top-seeded West Monroe. Turner accounted for 264 yards, including 204 rushing yards, in the Saints' 45-26 victory over Jennings. Turner rushed for two TDs and threw for another.
“I was looking at (Fontenot’s) stats last night and I don’t think he has missed a kick since Week 3,” Zachary coach David Brewerton said. “He has kicked multiple field goals the last three weeks, and he’s definitely a weapon. Once we get across the 50, we figured if we can get another first down we can get points.”
Fontenot got his first scholarship offer from Southern after the Broncos’ semifinal win. He has also received interest from Nicholls State, McNeese State and Mississippi-based Millsaps.
Turner is likely playing his last game at quarterback Friday. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior ranks among the state’s top defensive back prospects. He has about a dozen scholarship offers, with the most notable being from Auburn, TCU, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Kansas State.
“He’s the toughest kid I ever coached,” WFHS coach Robb Odom said of Turner after the semifinal win. “He’s very unselfish and willing to do whatever it takes help his team win."
The offer from TCU last week is perhaps the most intriguing because his brother, WFHS teammate Derius Davis, is already committed to the Horned Frogs. Turner said he plans official visits to Ole Miss, TCU, Auburn and Louisiana Tech after the title game.
“The fact that my brother is going to TCU is something I’ll consider very seriously,” Turner said, "but not until after this weekend. My focus is on this game. Richwood has size and speed and so do we. It should be a great game and we need to be the best we can be.”