District 9-4A football did not win the race to the Class 4A state title. But the New Orleans league did manage the next best thing with a sweep of the top two individual honors bestowed upon players selected as an all-stater.
Warren Easton quarterback Deshawn Capers-Smith and Karr linebacker Tyrin Ferguson were chosen as the Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Players on the Class 4A All-State team chosen by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.
State champion Neville, a 28-27 winner against Capers-Smith and Easton, did earn the distinction of having its Mickey McCarty honored as Coach of the Year.
McCarty directed Neville to a 13-1 season that included a 13-0 mark against instate competition that produced the Tigers’ second Class 4A state championship in four years.
The state title was Neville’s 11th overall and third under McCarty, 46, who in completing his 16th season in charge of the Tigers and equaled the three state titles achieved by the legendary Charlie Brown.
Plaquemine’s Paul Distefano and Easton’s Tony Hull also were considered for Coach of the Year.
As the Outstanding Offensive Player, Capers-Smith capped his four-year career as a starter with mind-boggling numbers as Easton completed a 12-3 season with its first appearance in a state final since 1958.
A 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior and Texas A&M commitment, who projects to play cornerback in college, Capers-Smith totaled 5,651 yards and 71 touchdowns with his passing and running for the Eagles, who won their first district title since 2001.
Capers-Smith completed 235 of 371 passes good for 4,333 yards and 50 touchdowns while being intercepted only twice. He rushed for 1,318 yards and 21 touchdowns on 210 carries.
Ferguson was chosen Outstanding Defensive Player after serving as a major linchpin for a Karr team that advanced to the state quarterfinals after defeating Easton in a regular-season finale to earn a share of the District 9-4A championship along with Landry-Walker.
A 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior and Nebraska commitment, Ferguson recorded 104 tackles and 18 assists with nearly one third of those totals represented by 231/2 tackles for losses and 10.5 sacks.
Ferguson also caused 29 quarterback hurries, intercepted three passes with one returned for a touchdown and had forced two fumbles, recovered one, blocked one kick and recorded a safety.
Neville had five players selected with running back Kavontae Turpin heading the group that included offensive lineman Cole Thomas, defensive linemen Donald Louis and Rashard Lawrence and safety T.J. Lemoine.
Wide receiver Tyron Johnson and cornerback Dedrick Shy join Capers-Smith as Warren Easton players chosen to the team.
Sage Leblanc of Teurlings Catholic and Isaiah Graham of Bastrop are the other wide receivers while Markell Hawthorne of LaGrange and Cristian Wallis of South Terrebonne join Turpin at running back.
Teurlings Catholic quarterback Cole Kelley earned a spot as the athlete selection.
In addition to Neville’s Thomas, the offensive line includes Franklinton’s Adrian Magee, West Ouachita’s Cody Goodwin, Plaquemine’s Kevin Dotson and South Terrebonne’s Dylan Perque.
The front four on defense in addition to Neville’s Louis and Lawrence features George Lea of Landry-Walker and DeRidder’s Daniel Crosley with Brennan Bourgeois of St. Thomas More, DeAndre McCarthy of Franklin Parish and Tirrell Gilmore of Landry-Walker joining Ferguson at linebacker.
In addition to Easton’s Shy and Neville’s Lemoine, the other defensive backs are Donte’ Jackson of Riverdale and Alvinosky Lafleur of LaGrange.
St. Michael swept the two kicking positions with Chris Reid chosen as punter and A.J. Fletcher as place-kicker.
The kick returner is Northwood-Shreveport’s Marquez Stevenson.