Photos: LHSAA Prep Championships - Zachary, Lutcher, Neville take titles _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD Karr's Tyrin Ralph scores a touchdown against Neville's Jake Kelly in the Class 4A championship game last month.

Tyrin Ralph and Diamanté Woolridge played signature roles in on the Karr football team’s high-flying offense this past season.

Ralph and Woolridge combined for three touchdowns in the Class 4A state championship game. There’s no doubt that being in the spotlight paid off, as the marquee Karr athletes committed to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Thursday.

The Cougars received offers from UAPB 10 days earlier, signaling the end of high school careers that required tireless work ethics and overcoming adversity to get to the Division I college ranks.

“Anytime you can send guys to Division I schools based off of their athletic abilities, it’s a blessed situation,” Karr coach Brice Brown said. “These seven guys that committed to universities this winter is just that. Hopefully, there’s more to come.”

Woolridge and Ralph have been teammates for just a year, but the two bonded immediately.

That chemistry on and off the field is something both are looking forward to building on as they become Golden Lions together.

“It’s great to know I have a high school teammate right beside me,” Woolridge said.

“It’s fun to meet new people and different types of people, but it’s better for me to go to college with my teammate. We have that on-field connection, and I’m willing to build that with others also.”

“I’m looking forward to a good season together,” added Ralph. “We wanted to go to college together. We get to work out together and work hard together to achieve more now.”

Ralph, who transferred from Miller-McCoy following the 2014 season after the New Orleans East school closed down, scored on 2-yard pass and a 17-yard run.

Ralph finished his first season at the Algiers school with 37 receptions for 567 yards and seven touchdowns. He also was Karr’s return specialist and saw an expanded role in the backfield as the Cougars dealt with an array of injuries as the season went on.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Ralph took advantage of the increased workload, and he said earning a scholarship was a rewarding way to finish off his high school career.

“I prayed a lot because there were some tough situations,” said Ralph, who was forced to sit out the first three games of the 2015 season after transferring.

“I came here (to Karr) wanting to believe in the coaches, believing everybody that I needed to work harder. I just believed, and now I’m looking forward to having an outstanding season and building relationships with my new teammates.”

Woolridge, Karr’s leading receiver this past season and also a standout on the basketball team, hauled in an 8-yard touchdown catch in the championship game.

Woolridge finished the season with 54 catches for 1,121 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The 5-foot-7, 150-pound wide receiver waited a long time before finally receiving an opportunity to star in the Cougars’ receiving corps. Looking forward, he wants to use the lessons he learned the past four years to enjoy continued success at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

“I started fighting from my freshman year, every day at this school, being the person I am, putting hard work in and off the field and in the weight room,” Woolridge said.

“I’m focused on doing what I have to do to fit in the system and put in the work. I’d like to get the ball in my hands more in college so I can showcase my talent.”