University High offensive tackle E.J. Oglesby said his journey has been a substantial one since his first varsity start three years ago.
“It was against Live Oak, and I was terrified,” Oglesby said. “I was playing left tackle next to Garrett Brumfield, and he was getting on me. I remember driving down to the goal line and getting my first pancake. It was a great experience.”
Less than two weeks removed from helping University to its first state championship in 16 years, Oglesby will add another game to his high school résumé with his participation in Saturday’s LHSCA East-West All-Star game at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium at 1 p.m.
“There’s going to be great competition, and that brings out the best in you,” Oglesby said. “It should be a great atmosphere, and I look forward to having a great time.”
Not only is Oglesby one of 72 players selected from across the state to play in the event but the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder will be afforded the opportunity to play on the East team with U-High quarterback Manny Miles.
They’ve enjoyed quite a successful ride the past three seasons, when U-High has won three straight undefeated district championships in both Classes 2A and 3A — and made deep postseason runs each time.
The Cubs followed last season’s state runner-up finish to John Curtis with a 46-32 victory over District 7-3A rival Parkview Baptist for the Division II select state crown — the school’s first since 1988.
“This season has been incredible to win a state championship my senior year,” said Oglesby, a three-year starter and two-time All-District 7-3A selection. “I’m honored and blessed to be playing in the all-star game. It’s surreal. Getting to play one more time with Manny is also pretty cool.”
Players reported Wednesday to Shreveport, practice over the course of the next two days and play Saturday.
“He’s been a very good worker for us,” U-High coach Chad Mahaffey said. “He’s still such a young player. He turned 17 earlier in the season. He’s going to have some really good football ahead of him.”
U-High operates one of the area’s most proficient offenses, parlaying its no-huddle spread system into a scoring machine.
Whether the Cubs threw for 2,000 yards with Miles taking advantage of playmakers such as Tre’ Jackson and Jake Wharton on the outside, or LSU running back commitment Nicholas Brossette piling up more than 1,500 yards on the ground, it’s been a diverse unit made better by the play of their offensive line.
“It’s a very versatile offense,” Oglesby said. “It’s really fun. We play at such a fast pace that tires out the defense. When they’re getting tired, we feel like we’re just getting our second wind. We practice so fast that makes the game slower.”
With the loss of Brumfield to LSU and Drew Moore to Louisiana-Lafayette, Oglesby said this year’s offensive line was motivated to maintain or exceed the level of play left behind by its predecessors.
“At the beginning some people thought we would be the weak point, and we wanted to prove a point that we were good if not even better than last year,” Oglesby said. “Last year we were pretty good, and this year after losing some key people we had to step up.”
Mahaffey said because of his acumen and ability to block in the run game and handle pass protection, Oglesby will have a chance to extend his career behind high school.
Nicholls State has already offered with Louisiana-Monroe, Houston and Tulane showing interest, Oglesby said.
“My high school career has been fun,” Oglesby said. “I feel like I’ve come a long way from my freshman to my senior year. I wouldn’t be where I am without my coaching staff and the players around me.”