7-in-Seven Countdown: Top Teams Heading into 2022

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:52 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - We are just weeks away from KPLC’s coverage of Two-A-Days and to get ready we continue our 7-in-Seven countdown.

Countdowns will include topics from McNeese to high school football. A new countdown each week, beginning every Monday.

This week, we continue the countdown with the top-seven teams heading into the 2022 season.

7. Kinder Yellow Jackets (4-6 in 2021)

The first team up on the list made a playoff appearance in 2021, the Kinder Yellow Jackets, who return 16 starters from last year’s team. Both the offense and defense return eight starters headlined by senior quarterback Graham Fawcett who will have plenty of weapons around him.

Senior wide out Daveon Matthews will lead the receiving group which also features James Roberts and Noah Romero who will be making plays out of the slot. The Yellow Jackets run game will have a three man rotation that includes Logan Lebeouf, Jordan Pelican and Jaren Johnson. Johnson is also the leader on the defensive side of the ball at inside line backer.

The defense will rely on him to fly around and make plays, Kinder’s secondary will be replacing just one starter from last season at cornerback and the defensive line returns two starters. Kinder is a young, but experienced team in 2022, and head coach Bret Fuselier expects them to be competitive right out of the gate.

6. Hamilton Christian Warriors (7-2 in 2021)

Down to class 1A we go where the Hamilton Christian Warriors are going through some good changes after winning a share of the district title in 2021. They welcome in new head coach Ragan McDaniel who is bringing in the Air Raid offense and a new defensive front.

The offense will have Tanner Hoover leading the way and he will have plenty of weapons surrounding him like Sammy Knight, Kylen Alexander, Juvan Vital and Travis Bolden just to name a few. The offensive line will be anchored by Dillon Harmon, Malachi Nolen and Milyn Lews.

Defensively, they will run a 33 front and the biggest returner that will lead the unit is Messiah Simien who made the all-district team a season ago. In addition to him opposing offensive lines will have to keep an eye on Devon Zachary. The secondary is young but expect Noah Larue who is a big corner at 6 foot 2 to be a match up problem against some of the lake area’s best receivers.

5. Sulphur Golden Tors (6-4 in 2021)

Coming in at number five are the Sulphur Golden Tors, who held a 6-4 record in 2021. The Golden Tors return 16 starters from the 2021 season, including quarterback Gage Trahan, who threw for nearly 2,000 yards last season.

Not only does Sulphur get Trahan back, but they get a stable of wide receivers for Trahan to throw to as well with Kaden Blalock, Jonathan Hopkins, and Ashton Alston all returning for the 2022 season.

As for the defense, Sulphur will be switching to a 3-4 zone defense which will better accompany this year’s team, and the personnel that returns all the members of their secondary, plus three members of the defensive line. Outside linebacker Peyton Lemaire, and inside linebacker Cory Hyatt will help lead the unit that will am to limit big plays in order to build off their third-place finish last season.

4. Rosepine Eagles (9-1 in 2021)

The Eagles make an appearance on the list making the first ever quarterfinal run in program history a season ago. The team returns 7 starters on offense and six on defense.

The offense will look different without Ethan Frey at quarterback. Stepping into that role is Jake Smith. Smith has a strong arm and has a good understanding of the RPO offense and he’ll do it behind an offensive line that has gotten better since last season. That line will be charged with opening up holes for Grant Ducote. Ducote will be the bell cow once again after rushing for 2,025 yards in 2021 while scoring 35 touchdowns.

Defensively, the defensive line also got bigger and quicker over the offseason. Senior defensive tackle Hayden Runge will lead that group and behind him will be inside line backer Michael Woods who led the eagles in tackles last season. Playing along side him is Landon Lawrence who is new to the program but has a good understanding of the game and is hungry to play. Returning in the secondary is Aden Cline who will also see playing time at wide receiver. He led the defense in interceptions last season and will aim to make plays on both sides of the ball.

Rosepine has big expectations for themselves after their deep run last season, but will have to play a good yet tough schedule to make it even further in 2022.

3. Leesville Wampus Cats (8-3 in 2021)

Coming in at number three on the list are the Leesville Wampus Cats who in 2021 finished with an 8-3 record, including a 41-32 victory over Assumption in the first round of the playoffs.

Leesville takes a huge hit in 2022 as they lose a total of 16 starters from their 2021 team, but they get a big boost as senior quarterback Parker Maks will be back for the 2022 season. In addition to Maks, the Wampus Cats get wide receiver/defensive back Stefan James back as well who will be huge for the 2022 season on both sides of the ball. Not only will Maks and James be important for Leesville’s success in 2022, but they have also emerged as leaders for the Wampus Cats as well, as they will run a young team out onto the field next season.

Leesville’s defense will be very similar to the defense they’ve run in the past, while the offense undergoes a major change with a new offensive coordinator as they focus on simplifying the offense, and will put a huge emphasis on their run game in 2022 as well.

Leesville kicks their season off on September 2nd, when they will host the Jennings Bulldogs to begin their 2022 campaign.

2. St. Louis Catholic Saints (4-7 in 2021)

The Saints come in at number two on the list after going just 4-7 in 2021, but in 2022 St. Louis is a much more experienced team.

St. Louis returns 16 starters from the 2021 season headlined by senior quarterback James Reina who has improved his decision making since last season, and is expected to make a big jump in his second year as starter. Reina will also have his top receiver back for the 2022 season as senior receiver Grant Evans returns hoping to help Reina and the Saints improve upon their 4-7 record in 2021.

In addition to Reina and Evans, Hank Milligan will be back for the 2022 season as well, Milligan missed the entire 2021 season with an injury, but is back for 2022, and will be wearing a new number. The number one jersey at St. Louis is awarded to the player each year who emerges as a leader, as voted on by coaches and the team, and it was awarded to Milligan for the 2022 season.

As for the defense, expect Luke Pierson to be a leader for the Saints as he makes the move from cornerback to safety, and he also serves as the backup quarterback. That being said, you should expect him to be the quarterback of the defense when St. Louis begins their season on September 2nd at Crowley.

1. Lake Charles College Prep Trailblazers (8-2 in 2021)

Taking the top spot in the rankings of the top teams heading into 2022 are the Lake Charles College Prep Trailblazers. LCCP went 8-2 in 2021, but was ineligible for the 2021 state playoffs due to sanctions that were handed down by the LHSAA.

With that, the Trailblazers enter the 2022 season hungry to prove just how good they are after not being able to prove it on the state level last season, and they enter the season with an impressive 13 starters returning from last season, with a majority of them coming on the defensive side.

Highlighting the defense is defensive back Curley Reed who recently committed to The University of Washington to play football. Reed missed the 2021 season with an injury, but enters the 2022 season as one of the team leaders for the Trailblazers, and has been helping his teammates both on the field, leading drills, and off the field as well.

As for the offense, the Trailblazers will once again be lead by quarterback Josiah Bushnell, who is entering his junior season, and has taken on a leadership role entering 2022. One of the main players protecting Bushnell on the offensive line is Kanye Caeser, who is the lone starting offensive lineman returning from the 2021 season, and he is the leader on LCCP’s offensive line as well.

The Trailblazers will kick off their season on the road at the Magnolia School of Excellence on September 2nd.

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