WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ FANS' CHOICE 2021 FANS' CHOICE 2021 en-us Copyright 2023, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Sun, 2 Apr 2023 HH:04:ss GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ https://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Fans' Choice Player of the Week 10: Liberty's Keelan Reason https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-10-liberty-s-keelan-reason/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-10-liberty-s-keelan-reason/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 10 Nov 2021 5:09:58 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 10: Liberty's Keelan Reason

BATON ROUGE - Defensive back Keelan Reason is Liberty's Swiss army knife, making plays everywhere on the field. Last Friday night, he had three interceptions—two of them returned for touchdowns—and even threw for a score on offense.

"Baller energy, always talking, great personality, fun to be around, fun to coach. He's just a guy that has a lot of energy. You love to see that from a DB," Liberty Head Coach Drey Trosclair said. "He kind of runs the secondary and runs the back end of the defense. Keelan loves the game. He just loves playing. He loves being out here competing."

"I think of myself as an athlete. I'm not just a defensive back you know. Coach could put me in anywhere and I will do my best," Keelan said.

His motor comes from not only his love and passion for the game of football but from his mom, Kimberly.

"My mom is a dog in everything she does. Paying bills, she had to do everything on her own. And that's who I really look up to. She has a dog mentality all of her life and that's where I get it from," Keelan said.

That makes three Liberty football players who have won the Fans' Choice Player of the Week. Two of them were on the defensive side of the ball.

The Patriots are a very confident football team heading into the postseason after winning their district in their first-ever varsity season with a record of 8-1.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 9: Woodlawn's Amani Givens https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-9-woodlawn-s-amani-givens/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-9-woodlawn-s-amani-givens/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 3 Nov 2021 6:06:04 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 9: Woodlawn's Amani Givens

BATON ROUGE - Woodlawn got a big win over previously undefeated Catholic High on Friday night, and running back Amani Givens played the best game of his career.

"I go to every game with an underdog mentality. I've wanted to beat Catholic ever since I've been here. I wanted to show other teams that it was possible," Givens said.

"We knew that we had to have a big game, so you know, being able to see him come in and run the ball the way he ran 161 yards, three touchdowns, and definitely that one at the end there. The 50-yard breakaway touchdown and that was a big, a big, big, big play," Woodlawn head coach Marcus Randall said.

What's impressive about Givens' performance is how much he had to overcome to get here. Over the summer, Amani got into a major car accident, which almost forced him to miss the season.

"I was bleeding everywhere in the car flipped over. I didn't know if I was going to be able to play football again. I'm blessed to say that the only thing that happened to me was just a hand injury. You know, I thought I was gonna be out for the season. After that, I went to rehab twice, three times a week," Givens said.

"To bounce back from that and still to carry the ball and still do the things that he's able to do right now and bounce back that so fast. I think that just says a whole lot about him," Randall said.

Givens is called 'The Hulk' on the field, but off the field, he's one of the best students at Woodlawn with a 3.8 GPA.

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Fans' Choice Player of the week 8: Dunham's Kalante Wilson https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-8-dunham-s-kalante-wilson/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-8-dunham-s-kalante-wilson/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Thu, 28 Oct 2021 6:16:47 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the week 8: Dunham's Kalante Wilson

Kalante Wilson is a workhorse. The back would rather run through defenders than around them, which is why his running style has been compared to former NFL star Marshawn Lynch.

"We don't throw Skittles at him, but he certainly goes beast mode at times. I think he takes pride of how hard he works in the weight room. And it's not just for show. You know that the muscles he's got, they're functional. He's got that mindset that he can't be tackled, and I've rarely ever seen the first man ever bring Kalante down," Dunham head coach Neil Weiner said. 

"Just keep carrying the ball, just keep running down people's throat. I have the mindset that I am going to run people over, and I am going to make one cut and go," Kalante said.

On the field, he's explosive and physical. But off the field, he is as humble as they come.

"Somebody smart that talked about humility... and that it's not that you think less of yourself, you just think of yourself less. I think Kalante just really does exemplify that. He doesn't talk about himself. He's gonna bring the best that he can every single time, and he doesn't have to talk about. He doesn't have to beat his chest. He just loves getting the job done and helping his teammates go," Weiner said.

Kalante is no stranger to this award, as he won it earlier this year. And he's such a polished pro that he made sure to give credit to his offensive line for not only helping him win Fans' Choice but also to help him break Denham's rushing record.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 7: East Ascension Walter Samuel https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-7-east-ascension-walter-samuel/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-7-east-ascension-walter-samuel/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 20 Oct 2021 6:06:27 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 7: East Ascension Walter Samuel

GONZALES - East Ascension running back Walter Samuel is a dynamic football player on the field, rushing for 614 yards and seven scores so far this year. But off the field, he is quiet and preserved and likes to lead by example.

"I don't like to talk a lot. I like to just stay to myself. I like to stay focused. I feel like when I talk to people, it takes me off track," said Fans' Choice Player of the Week winner Walter Samuel.

"When he scores, he will jog off. You won't see this big celebration. Normally, if you get a kid that don't talk much in public, when he gets around his friends you'll see a different guy. But that's just who he is, you know, he's kind of like that. He's a solid guy who leads by example," East Ascension head coach Darnell Lee.

Samuel tries to emulate his game around his favorite player, Saints running back Alvin Kamara. The back studies everything he does and even tried to change his number to 41.

"We already have one Kamara. I think Walter Samuel needs to be Walter Samuel," said Lee about when Samuel asked to get his number changed from 22 to 41.

"He has a lot of balance. I think I have a lot of balance too. When I watch him on TV it looks it he's going slow. But coach told me he goes fast and I need to go fast too. So when I see a hole, I hit it hard," Samuel said.

"That's his favorite player, and I can definitely see where he respects his game," Lee said.

Like Kamara, Samuel is an all-around back. He currently leads the Spartans in rushing, and he's second in the team in receiving.

To win the Fans' Choice Player of the Week, Walter had 170 yards on 11 attempts and 4 touchdowns against rival Dutchtown.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 6: Central's Glen Cage https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-6-central-s-glen-cage/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-6-central-s-glen-cage/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 13 Oct 2021 5:36:12 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 6: Central's Glen Cage

CENTRAL - Glen Cage has a love and passion for the game of football, a drive that pushed him from being the JV running back to the Fans' Choice Player the Week. Hard work that all started in the weight room, where he gained the nickname protein.

"He's a self-made man. He worked so hard, you know, so if he's protein, he's protein and a world of carbohydrates for sure," Central head coach Sid Edwards said.

"One day, I think I had a protein in my hand, and then a lot of my teammates was right there. And then it was like he always drinks protein. So then coach said, your nickname is gonna be protein from now on," said Fans' Choice winner Glen Cage.

"I think it's just to his build his body and how he takes care of himself," Edwards said.

"Protein gets you stronger, and I feel like, each and every game, I get stronger. So, it's not just with my playstyle," Cage said.

Cage's motivation comes from trying to make his mom proud as she died in a car accident when he was only six.

"Like I know today, that should be very proud of me and tell me to keep going. And I know I'm making her smile and make her happy today. And I'm just doing this for her," Cage said.

Cage sees himself as a power back right now, but he's using that hard work and drive to make himself an every-down back.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 5: Liberty's Lester Jones https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-5-liberty-s-lester-jones/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-5-liberty-s-lester-jones/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 6 Oct 2021 6:07:32 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 5: Liberty's Lester Jones

BATON ROUGE - For the first time this season, a defensive player has won The Fans' Choice Player of the Week.

Liberty defensive end Lester Jones had two sacks and three forced fumbles during the team's win against Istrouma.

Lester was not always a defensive standout—he was a quarterback. Jones made the transition to defensive end after his freshman season and being the team player that he is, he didn't complain. He made the most of his opportunity.

"It was so surprising for me. I came in for summer workouts, he told me. I'm gonna help the team," Jones said.

"He was just too talented of a player for us to have as a backup. We had had to find some type of way to get him on the football field. So we tried him out of defensive end, and I mean, he's just taking off with it. He's really, really worked hard to perfect his craft, " Liberty head coach Drey Trosclairi said.

Lester is used to overcoming adversity. His father passed away when he was in middle school. But he's always had his mom, Debbie, who has motivated him to be better.

"Without her, I wouldn't be where I am right now. And she pushes me. She makes me do what I do," Jones said.

Jones has been so successful also because he's an extremely hard worker. He works out twice a day—once with the football team and once with the powerlifting team, to help them get stronger and better.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 4: Raydrian McKneely https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-4-raydrian-mckneely/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-4-raydrian-mckneely/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 29 Sep 2021 8:26:21 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 4: Raydrian McKneely

This past Friday night, Denham Springs was without their starting quarterback, and that's typically a cause for concern but not when you have Ray Ray McNealy.

The running back ran all over Franklinton rushing for 222 yards and two scores.

"It was very intense," said Denham Springs running back Raydrian McKneely. "We started the game off fast with the run game. We pounded ball."

"He put the team on his back," said Head Coach Brett Beard. "Every opportunity he makes the most of it. Ray shows up every day and does the work and competes. He's a phenomenal leader. He's a big presence in our locker room. The kid comes to work every day, gets after it, wants to be the best, competes that way every day. As a coach, you want kids to make plays when they have to make plays, and he's a guy we can give it to and we trust."

McKneely is a part of a junior class at Denham Springs that is known for its speed. So much so they're called the Legion of Zoom.

"They've had a ton of success, you know, through junior high and early in their high school career, because of that ability to run. I guess the Legion of Zoom is something that is, I guess, blown up," said Beard.

The Junior currently has 6 division 1 offers.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 3: Episcopal's Ethan Carmouche https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-3-episcopal-s-ethan-carmouche/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-3-episcopal-s-ethan-carmouche/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 22 Sep 2021 6:21:03 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 3: Episcopal's Ethan Carmouche

BATON ROUGE - A tough, smart, and physical football player; that's a description of Knights running back Ethan Carmouche.

The captain ran all over Country Day last week, rushing for 211 yards and three scores, but this is not a surprise for someone who works so hard, both on the field and off.

"He's not the biggest guy out there, but just a hard worker who would do anything for the team, would do anything that the coaches asked for him, and he always gives 100%. Definitely, a guy that you want to represent your team on Friday night," Episcopal Head Coach Travis Bourgeois said.

"I definitely had some confidence going into week two because the game before that, I had three touchdowns. So I just wanted to go from there. I'm definitely physical. Whenever I see a guy in the hole, I'm going to meet him there," Episcopal running back Ethan Carmouche said.

Starting at linebacker last year, Carmouche made the transition of running back. Now, as a senior, he's leading on both sides of the field.

"He always has a smile on his face. As a team captain for us, he brings a lot of leadership skills, not a big vocal guy, but he leads by example. Every rep at practice, he gives 100% and just showing the younger kids and trying to lead the way," Bourgeois said.

"That's where it all starts because once you're a leader, you can show everybody what you're made out of," Carmouche said.

Carmouche is interested in playing college football, and he believes it's going to be on the defensive side at linebacker. Off the field, the senior also has plans on going to law school.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 2: Liberty's Kaleb Jackson https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-2-liberty-s-kaleb-jackson/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-2-liberty-s-kaleb-jackson/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 15 Sep 2021 5:41:27 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 2: Liberty's Kaleb Jackson

BATON ROUGE - Winning the first game in program history is special, but rushing for 260 yards and five touchdowns is even more impressive. Junior Kaleb Jackson can do it all, and the running back believes he's just getting started.

"I'm a big dude, about 210 pounds right now, and you know I'm still really really fast. I'm working on my pass-catching right now. I think I am a good receiving back. And I'm definitely getting stronger," Liberty running back Kaleb Jackson said.

"There's really nothing that he can't do. I mean, he runs the ball well between the tackles, he runs it outside on the perimeter, he's got top-notch speed, he's got breakaway speed, he never gets caught, he can catch it out of the backfield, he blocks in pass protection. So, he's really a do it all back," Liberty Head Coach Drey Trosclair said. "He's a pleasure to coach, and he's a really talented kid."

In the first game in program history, the Liberty Patriots didn't just win but dominated White Castle 49 to 7, a performance Jackson will remember forever.

"I was on cloud nine! It was one of the best moments of my life. First varsity high school football game we did came out and did that," Jackson said.

"We only had two punts in the whole game. We put up a ton of points early 21 nine in the first quarter. Both sides of the ball played well. We had four forced turnovers on defense. So, I mean the offensive side of the ball, obviously, they had a lot of things happen well, and you know we put up 49 points, and we only gave up seven. So, I think both sides of the ball played really well," Trosclair said.

The offers are already starting to pour in for Jackson as he currently has eight, and as the season goes on, you can expect him to have much more.

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Fans' Choice Player of the Week 1: Dunham's Kalante Wilson https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-1-dunham-s-kalante-wilson/ https://www.wbrz.com/news/fans-choice-player-of-the-week-1-dunham-s-kalante-wilson/ FANS' CHOICE 2021 Wed, 8 Sep 2021 9:49:40 PM Corey Rholdon Fans' Choice Player of the Week 1: Dunham's Kalante Wilson

DUNHAM- Dunham's running back Kalante Wilson is week 1 Fans' Choice Player of the Week. Wilson had 166 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Parkview Baptist.

Friday was Wilsons first game back after recovering from a season-ending ankle injury in 2020. The senior was happy to show that he was still a dynamic back.

"It felt different like I knew. I knew my season was over with. From that moment, I broke my ankle. Took about like six months to recover, and I really didn't start feeling like myself until the summer. I'm not gonna lie. I was nervous the first few drives, but I was like I hit, I felt good," Wilson said.

Winning Dunham's offensive MVP back in 2019, Wilson has been an impact player for the Tigers for a while now, and although he might be the smallest guy in the field, he packs the biggest punch.

"He started as an eighth-grader as an outside linebacker at 5'3 and 155 pounds. He has been the toughest guy on the field for us now in his fifth season because he got to play as an eighth-grader, and he's always been the smallest guy," Dunham head coach Neil Weiner said.

Wilson hopes to prove this season that he deserves a shot to play at the next level.

"So before he was injured last year, he had some schools talking to him, asking him to make sure that he came to camps in the offseason. Then obviously, when that injury took place, that that kind of change. I think his senior film is going to show what he's capable of doing, and he's going to get that opportunity to go play at the next level," said Weiner.

On Friday, Dunham will travel to face Mandeville at 7 pm.

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