By JAKE MARTIN, Written for the LSWA
There is a north Louisiana flavor to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 1A All-State football team with Ouachita Christian quarterback Landon Graves and Homer lineman Walteze Champ claiming Player of the Year honors – along with two St. Mary’s standouts making the team and two more earning honorable mention All-State.
Senior defensive lineman Drake Griffin, the Defensive MVP of District 3-1A, was selected as an All-State pick along with junior kicker Payne Williams. Getting honorable mention status from St. Mary’s were senior quarterback Adam Parker and junior receiver/defensive back Ethan Busby.
It took one of the state’s best teams, led by the Class A Coach of the Year, to stop St. Mary’s season in the playoff quarterfinals with a fourth-period rally.
Frank Gendusa, who coached St. Martin’s to the first semifinal berth in school history, was voted Coach of the Year for the squad selected by a panel of sportswriters from across the state.
Graves, who went 28-2 as a starter, is the Offensive Player of the Year. He broke Jermaine Sharpe’s 30-year school record for most touchdowns responsible for in a career (108), led the Eagles to a Division IV Select LHSAA championship.
The senior QB completed 194-of-302 pass attempts (64%) for 2,814 yards and 33 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while adding 518 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on 89 attempts. Graves is one of three OCS quarterbacks to ever throw for 6,000 or more yards in school history.
Champ, the shredded 6-foot, 225-pound senior lineman, did more than look the part on the field. The two-way starter played the part of enforcer on the defensive line. Champ recorded 101 tackles, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and scored three defensive touchdowns for the Division IV nonselect runnersup.
Gendusa coached St. Martin’s to the best season in school history. Since returning to coaching in 2018, he engineered the a huge turnaround at St. Martin’s.
St. Martin’s went from a three-win club in 2021 to an 11-2 record this season. Under Gendusa’s watch, St. Martin’s made its best postseason run in nearly five decades.
Griffin led St. Mary’s with 65 tackles (54 solo, 22 assists), 11 sacks (for 59 negative yards) and 25.5 tackles for loss. He recovered three fumbles, forced one and returned one for a touchdown.
Williams hit four field goals, including one from 40-plus yards and one over 50 yards, and drilled 44 of 46 extra point kicks. He was 2-of-6 from 40 or longer while going 4-of-9 overall. He nailed 37 touchbacks on 63 kickoffs.
Parker completed 71 percent of his 202 passes (143-202) while throwing only four interceptions, and piling up 22 scoring strikes. He had a 185.7 quarterback rating. He ran for 12 TDs, best on the team, with 335 yards on 74 carries.
The Tigers’ top pass catcher was Busby, with 48 and 777 yards receiving, averaging 16.2 per catch. He caught 11 for touchdowns. Busby also led the Tigers with five pass breakups, making 17 tackles and picking off three passes, one returned for a score.
2022 LSWA CLASS 1A ALL-STATE
Pos Player school Ht. Wt. Cl
WR Antonio Donahue Southern Lab 6-1, 180, Sr.
WR Calvin Delone, Ascension Catholic 5-8, 160, Sr.
WR Tate Hamby Ouachita Christian 6-1, 180, Jr.
OL Alex Golden Vermilion Catholic 6-1 230, Sr.
OL Amiree Alexander, Riverside 6-2 315, Jr.
OL Edwin Wilson Kentwood 6-3 280 Sr.
OL Ryder Bentley Ouachita Christian 6-6 270 Jr.
OL Kemarion Ivory Haynesville 6-0 270 Jr.
QB Landon Graves Ouachita Christian 6-0 185 Sr.
RB Damondrick Blackburn Central Catholic 6-0 215 Sr.
RB Elijah Davis Riverside 5-9 215 Sr.
RB Harlem Berry St. Martin’s 5-11 215 So.
PK Payne Williams St. Mary’s 5-10 150 Jr.
ATH Jonathan Dartez Vermilion Catholic 5-8 165 So.
Pos Player school Ht. Wt. Cl
DL Lamikal Callahan, Kentwood, 6-0, 240, So.
DL Ben Devall Ouachita Christian 6-3 245 Jr.
DL Walteze Champ Homer 6-0 225 Sr.
DL Drake Griffin St. Mary’s 6-1 212 Jr.
LB Ashton Belaire Vermilion Catholic 5-11 185 Sr.
LB Luke Fontenot Basile 5-10 175 Sr.
LB Noah Lovelady Ouachita 6-1 205 Jr.
LB Rhett Johnson Glenbrook 5-9 180 Sr.
DB Travin Moore Vermilion Catholic 5-9 175 Sr.
DB Connor Achee Catholic-Pointe Coupee 6-0 185 Sr.
DB Landon Szubinski Ascension Catholic 6-0 190 Sr.
DB Carl Williams IV Southern Lab 6-0 185 Sr.
P Ethan LeBlanc Hanson 5-11 175 Jr.
KR Emmanuel Franklin Riverside 5-5 161 Sr.
ATH William Patrick St. Frederick 6-2 170 So.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: LANDON GRAVES, OUACHITA CHRISTIAN
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: WALTEZE CHAMP, HOMER
COACH OF THE YEAR: FRANK GENDUSA, ST. MARTIN’S
Jacori Johnson, Central Catholic; Carson Hebert, Covenant Christian; Cameron Eschete, Covenant Christian. Lawson Lillo, Cedar Creek; Lane Thomas, Cedar Creek; Brandon Heard, Lincoln Prep; Ashton Deaville, Basile; Gage Hildreth, East Beauregard; Kevante Carter, Kentwood; St. Frederick’s OL Vasser Day; St. Frederick’s ATH Micah Bell; St. Frederick’s Aaron Parker; RB Chris Brown, Opelousas Catholic, LB John Michael Jarrel, Opelousas Catholic; Tyrin Singleton, Delta Charter, Juvari Singleton, Delta Charter; Jermichael Carter, Kentwood; GeAuntre Nelson, Arcadia; Jamari Ayrow, Centerville; Ethan Busby. St. Mary’s; Brian Osborne, Cedar Creek; Alex Golden, Vermilion Catholic; Andrew Cavalier, Central Catholic; Jayden Meadows, East Beauregard; Travis Cedotal, Ascension Catholic; Camron Winzer, Homer; Luke Hymel, Riverside; Bryce Leonard, Ascension Catholic; Ty Feaster, Glenbrook; Khameron Boykins, Logansport; QB Adam Parker, St. Mary’s; Michael Thompson, St. Frederick; Toby Franklin, Haynesville; Elyjay Curry, Homer; Martell Henry, Riverside, So.; Milton Schexnayder, Centerville; Quincy Lewis, Cedar Creek; Grant Gendusa, St. Martin’s; Kaleb Brumfield, Riverside; Noah Carter, Oberlin, Sr.; Patrick Cancienne, Ascension Catholic; LB Alonzo Jackson, Haynesville; Stephen Holloway, Logansport; Tylon Hollins, Central Catholic; Seth Mandella, St. Martin’s; Maddox Mandino, Glenbrook.