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Jermauria Rasco told anyone who would listen. The Evangel Christian Academy defensive end was going out on a high note.
That he did.
The 6-foot-3, 227-pound senior and a younger but punishing defensive line shut down John Curtis on their way to Evangel's second-straight Class 2A state title - both over the Patriots.
Rasco finished the season with 92 tackles and 21 sacks. He also recovered a pivotal onside kick late in Evangel's 28-14 win over John Curtis. For his efforts, the heavily recruited Rasco was named the Outstanding Defensive Player on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association's Class 2A All-State football team.
Riverside Academy quarterback Darnell Rachal was selected as the Outstanding Offensive Player, while Cedric Anderson, of East Feliciana, was voted Coach of the Year on the 2A squad selected by a panel of sportswriters from across the state.
Rasco, who scored twice in Evangel's quarterfinal win over Loreauville, leaves Evangel with three state titles, but he said the third means the most.
"I'll miss all the coaches at Evangel," said Rasco, who had 6.5 tackles and 1.5 tackles in the win against John Curtis. "I'll miss dressing out and working with (defensive coordinator) Byron Dawson every day."
Dawson is going to miss Rasco, too. Rasco has been recording game-changing sacks since he started in eighth grade.
"He's one of the best complete student-athletes that I've coached," Dawson said. "He's a great leader on and off the field. This kid knew what was on the line. That was his dream to finish strong."
Dawson said his best memories of Rasco didn't always happen on the football field.
"It's the little things," Dawson said. "About two weeks ago, nobody was in the locker room and I walked in and Jermauria was sweeping the floor. He's one of the most sought-out athletes in the country, but he's so humble."
Joining Rasco on the defensive line are Marcel Andry (John Curtis), Lajalein Smith (St. Charles) and Tylor Harris (Episcopal). The linebackers - all seniors - are Cardell Silas (John Curtis), Shawn Burst (Northlake Christian), Malcolm Cooper (Homer) and Josh Savage (Lake Arthur).
Rasco's teammate Dionte McDuffy was named to the secondary along with EastFeliciana's De'Vontay Hogan, St. Charles' Brady Hitt and Rosepine's Klint White. Calvary's Ira Jewitt was the kick return specialist and Jared Keating from St. Charles was the punter.
EastFeliciana's Anderson had his own challenges. The Class 2A Coach of the Year led the newly consolidated school to a surprising berth in the state semifinals. Clinton and Jackson - longtime rivals -were combined to form East Feliciana over the summer.
"We were just hoping for a decent season, and it actually turned into a really, really good season," said Anderson, who graduated from ClintonHigh in 1991. "The consolidation wasn't finalized until late June, so we basically had the month of July to work with. We tried to create a family-like atmosphere."
East Feliciana finished 12-1 after its semifinal loss to John Curtis. One of Anderson's biggest tasks was just getting his players to the right field for practice. The team practiced two days in Clinton and two days in Jackson. The high school is in Jackson, but the team played its games in Clinton.
"People always get a good laugh from it," Anderson said. "We were up and down the highway all the time."
His quarterback Kendell Beckwith - just a sophomore - earned a spot on the team as an athlete.
Joining Beckwith on that side of the ball was quarterback Rachal, a senior who nabbed the Offensive Outstanding Player with 2,574 total yards and 31 touchdowns in the regular season. Wide receivers Odell Beckham (Newman), Rod Davis (Many) and 6-foot-6, 215-pound tight end Harley Scioneaux from St. Charles also made the team.
The team's running backs are Jeanerette's Anthony Williams, who led the Acadiana area with 1,756 yards on 225 carries and 18 touchdowns, JohnCurtis' Torrey Pierce, who had 662 yards in six regular season games and St. Charles' Marcus Hall, who ran for 1,151 yards.
They wouldn't have that ground game without their trusty offensive linemen.
The all-state unit included Justin Toups (John Curtis), Dale Martin (Riverside Academy), Jacob Rhodes (South Beauregard), Michael Crosslin (Calvary) and Corey White (Capitol).