MONROE — Neville High quarterback John Diarse is acutely aware of his school’s history, being a signal-caller for a school with 10 state football championships.
Diarse attempted to lead the Tigers to their third Class 4A title in four seasons, but Edna Karr edged Neville 29-22 on Dec. 7.
That title-game loss didn’t stop the senior from adding one more honor to his accomplished career — the Louisiana Farm Bureau Insurance/Mr. Football Award as voted on by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
“Many greats have had this award,” Diarse said.
“I remember Randall Mackey from Bastrop (Mr. Football in 2007). He was a great high school player, and it’s an honor to accept it.”
Diarse, who gained 299 of Neville’s 361 yards in the championship-game loss, said he was surprised to learn he was selected for the state-wide award that represents all classes.
“I didn’t think I would get it,” Diarse said. “I never looked forward to it. I just take it as a blessing from God and put it to the side with the rest of the accomplishments, so I can stay humble and continue to receive accomplishments and awards like that.”
Diarse wanted to throw for more yards than he ran for the first time in his career, and he did. The LSU commitment passed for 1,685 yards. He also had 1,327 rushing yards on 146 attempts (9.1 yards per carry).
He completed 97-of-164 passes (59 percent) for 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Diarse rushed for 21 touchdowns as he gave defenses fits in Neville’s read-option.
Diarse was a three-year starter at quarterback after catching two touchdowns as a freshman receiver in the Class 4A title game in 2009.
Neville coach Mickey McCarty called Diarse “the face of the program” for the past three seasons.
“He’s handled it with class, and we appreciate it,” McCarty said. “He’s led us to two state titles, and we were on a 27-game winning streak before the championship this season.
“He is graduating early, and he’s been a great student. We will look back and enjoy a fine career and the fine young man of John Diarse.”
Diarse is looking forward to his future at LSU, likely as a wide receiver. He first will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 in San Antonio.
He said despite the disappointment of a championship loss, he has already reflected on his time at Neville and is ready for new challenges.
“I take pride in my effort, my maturity and my desire to want to be great,” Diarse said. “It’s not over.
“I keep telling people in the community that I’ve got to write a new chapter, and I’m just getting started. I look forward to what’s coming in the future.”