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Louisiana high school football final Top 25 rankings for 2023 season

Repeat title performance enables St. Thomas More to finish the season No. 1

With the 2023 Louisiana high school football season in the books, it is now time to recognize several teams and players that made this season successful. 

Later this month, we will unveil the 2023 All-State football team. As an appetizer to that, here is the final Louisiana Top 25 football rankings with the season now finished.

1. St. Thomas More (14-0)

The top-seeded Cougars defeated No. 3 Lafayette Christian, 35-21, to win their second straight Division II select state title and fourth in the last five years. STM owns the state's longest winning streak at 24 games.

Quarterback Sam Altmann is one of 10 senior starters who will have to be replaced. Receiver Jacob Froehlich (a 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior) was the lone underclassman on the Cougars' first-team offense. Junior tailback Gabe Mocek (6-0, 210) saw extensive action and split carries with seniors Hutch Swilley and John Luke St. Pierre until an injury. Mocek ran for 357 yards on 53 carries with nine TDs.

Defensive coordinator Terry Tidwell will return both starting cornerbacks in Gavin Duplechin and Brian Broussard. Both had sensational junior campaigns.

2. Ruston (14-0)

The top-seeded Bearcats defeated No. 6 Zachary, 31-17, to win the Division I non-select state title, their first in 33 years. Junior quarterback Josh Brantley ran for 134 yards and three TDs and passed for 194 yards.

Tailbacks Jordan Hayes (5-9, 190, Jr.), and Dylone Brooks will join Brantley on next year's offense, along with 6-foot-7, 220-pound receiver Ahmad Hudson. On defense, linebacker Zheric Hill (6-0, 220, Jr.) and cornerback Aiden Anding will return. Anding had a 54-yard punt return for a TD in the championship game.

Top seniors include defenders Ahmad Breaux (LSU signee) Jadon Mayfield (Louisiana Tech signee) and Geordan Guidry (Tulane signee).

3. Calvary Baptist (14-0)

The second-seeded Cavaliers scored a last minute touchdown to beat top-seeded St. Charles Catholic, 34-28, for the Division III select state title.

Junior quarterback Abram Wardell finished the season with 3,883 yards passing and 45 TDs with two interceptions. Junior tailback James Simon (6-0, 200) rushed for 1,600 yards on 192 carries with 21 TDs. Senior Aubrey Hermes led the team in receiving with 70 catches for 1,363 yards and 17 TDs.

4. Catholic-Baton Rouge (12-2)

The third-seeded Bears handled No. 8 Acadiana, 55-31, to win the Division I select state title.

Quarterback Daniel Beale (Louisiana signee) passed for 360 yards and four touchdowns. Tailback Barry Remo rushed for 121 yards on 18 carries with three TDs. Cohen LeBlanc caught seven passes for 221 yards and two TDs. Bradley Wright caught five passes for 72 yards. Brooks Wright hauled in four catches for 78 yards and two TDs.

LeBlanc, who is listed as a QB/WR, will return along with defensive backs Jacob and Blaine Bradford.

Catholic's two losses were to St. Thomas More and University Lab.

5. Opelousas (10-3)

The Tigers won their first state title in school history, defeating second-seeded Cecilia, 26-13, in the Division II non-select finals.

D'Shaun Ford and Zack Malveaux combined for 260 yards rushing on 36 carries with three touchdowns. Both will be seniors next season. Korey Fontenot caught three passes for 78 yards.

The 12th-seeded Tigers won 10 of their last 11 games, avenging a 25-22 loss at Cecilia in Week 8.

Ford set new school rushing records for a single season (1,797 yards) and career (4,387).

6. St. Charles Catholic (13-1)

The top-seeded Comets led 28-13 before Calvary Baptist reeled off 21 unanswered points in the second half of the Division III select state title game.

Quarterback Brady St. Pierre passed for two touchdowns to Daniel Joseph. Jeremiah Wills and Skyler Edwards combined for 160 yards rushing and two TDs.

The Class 2A Comets built an impressive regular season resume with wins over large school programs Archbishop Shaw, Teurlings Catholic and Lutcher. St. Charles will play up in Class 4A next year.

7. Zachary (12-2)

The sixth-seeded Broncos lost to Ruston in the Division I select title game, 31-17. Kameron Thomas gained 51 yards on 15 carries with a TD. Trey'Dez Green and Tyson George combined for 15 catches and 223 yards with a TD.

8. Lafayette Christian (11-3)

The Knights led 14-0, but succumbed to St. Thomas More, 35-21, in the Division II select state title game for the second consecutive year.

Ju'Juan Johnson ran for 187 yards and three TDs and threw for 270 yards.

Jalen Noel, who rushed for over 1,200 yards with 500-plus receiving yards, will return next season, along with Brennan Walker (38 catches, 710 yards, 10 TDs). Braylon Walker is expected to take over at quarterback with Johnson departing for LSU.

9. Destrehan (11-1)

The Wildcats had a 25-game winning streak snapped by Zachary in the Division I non-select quarterfinals. Quarterback Jackson Fields, tailback Shane Ward and receivers Phillip Wright, Johnnie Thiel and Jabari Mack will all return next year. Key losses include tailback Shane Lee, linebacker Kolaj Cobbins (LSU signee) and athlete Anthony Robinson (Ole Miss signee).

10. Acadiana (10-3)

The Rams lost to third-seeded Catholic-Baton Rouge in the Division I select title game. Junior halfback Jonah Gauthier ran for 196 yards on 21 carries with a TD. Junior quarterback Caden DiBetta ran for 116 yards on 10 carries with a score. Receivers Russell Babineaux and Collin DiBetta will return on offense. Lineman Darryus McKinley will be back on defense.

Five-star defensive lineman Dominick McKinley (LSU signee) and leading rusher Ezekiel Hypolite are seniors.

11. Cecilia (12-2)

The second-seeded Bulldogs reached the state final for the first time since winning it all in 1995. Coach Dennis Skains will have to find a new tailback with 1,200-plus yard rusher Corey Broussard graduating.

Quarterback Diesel Solari had a tremendous junior season, rushing and passing for a combined total of more than 3,100 yards. He and Broussard combined to score 80 touchdowns.

Free safety Brent Gordon, the Most Outstanding Player of the title game, will return along with athletes Ellis Stewart and Braylon Calais and cornerback Franky Frank.

12. University Lab (11-2)

The Cubs lost in overtime, 10-7, to St. Charles Catholic in the Division III select semifinals. Quarterback Emile Picarella, receiver Zay Martin, lineman Lamar Brown and linebacker Keylan Moses (LSU signee) were among the top underclassmen on the roster. Linebacker Harry Beacham (Navy signee), tailback Riley Small, receiver Seth Gale, athlete Granville Anderson and defensive backs Tony Burns and Marcus Dawson are departing seniors.

13. Edna Karr (10-2)

The fifth-seeded Cougars lost to Acadiana, 30-24, in the Division I select semifinals. Quarterback John Johnson, receiver TaRon Francis (LSU commit), tailback Daejawn Smith and defensive back Aiden Hall headline the list of underclassmen. Key losses include receiver Rahj Dennis, tailback Dezemen Favorite and linebacker Tah'j Butler (Georgia Tech signee).

14. John Curtis Christian (9-3)

The Patriots have a case for being ranked at least one spot higher, considering they hammered Edna Karr during the regular season. We gave the Cougars the edge for advancing farther in the playoffs. Quarterback Dagan Bruno, receiver Michael Turner (LSU signee) and halfbacks Marlon Prout and Jason Gabriel are among the Patriots' top seniors.

15. Dutchtown (11-2)

The seventh-seeded Griffins were edged, 31-28, in overtime by Zachary in the Division I non-select semifinals. Junior tailback Lakedrin Harvey will be among the top players on next year's team. Key senior losses include athlete Carter Hanberry (Southeastern Louisiana signee), quarterback Ethan Aucoin, tailback Gary Dukes and defensive lineman Diego Spears.

16. North DeSoto (11-2)

The top-seeded Griffins lost, 28-20, to Opelousas in the Division II non-select semifinals. Top underclassmen include QB Luke Delafield (3,219 yards, 38 TDs), tailback Kenny Thomas (1,269 yards rushing, 16 TDs) and receiver Cole Cory (79-1,431, 15 TDs). Trysten Hopper, a 1,000-yard rusher, and 1,000-yard receiver Landry Wyatt are graduating seniors.

17. Oak Grove (12-2)

The third-seeded Tigers blew out fourth-seeded Haynesville, 62-36, to win the Division IV non-select state title.

Quarterback Jackson Bradley, a junior Louisiana Tech commit, accounted for over 3,100 yards of offense with 40 TDs. Tailback Jay Freeman, also a junior, rushed for 1,595 yards and 24 TDs while averaging 9.4 yards per carry.

18. Southern Lab (12-1)

The second-seeded Kittens won the Division IV select state title by defeating fifth-seeded Riverside Academy, 42-35.

Senior quarterback Marlon Brown will leave the offense in the capable hands of Jerry Bottley IV. Tailbacks Armariyan Asberry and Jerome Harris will return next season. Defensive back and Miami (Fla.) signee Dylan Day, who scored the game-winning TD on an interception return in the semifinals vs. Ouachita Christian, will leave big shoes to fill in the secondary.

19. Archbishop Rummel (7-7)

The 18th-seeded Raiders got healthy at the right time and upset No. 15 Northwood-Shreveport, No. 2 Captain Shreve and No. 7 St. Paul's before falling to Catholic-Baton Rouge in the Division I select semifinals.

20. Union Parish (10-4)

The fourth-seeded Farmers beat third-seeded St. James, 36-35, to win the Division IV non-select state title after finishing as runner-up three consecutive seasons. Tailback Jy'marion Island concluded his senior campaign with 2,496 yards rushing and 25 TDs. Senior quarterback Jordan Hill ran and passed for a total of more than 1,600 yards with 20 TDs.

21. Teurlings Catholic (9-4)

The seventh-seeded Rebels lost, 42-35, to Lafayette Christian in the Division II select semifinals. Senior quarterback Preston Welch passed for over 2,000 yards with 27 TDs. Senior receiver Bradford Cain led the team with 843 yards and 10 scores. Sophomore receiver Travis Gallien is a player to watch next season.

22. Mandeville (9-5)

The 21st-seeded Skippers upset No. 12 Sam Houston, No. 5 St. Amant and No. 4 Airline before bowing out at No. 1 Ruston in the semifinals. Junior tailback Nate Sheppard ran wild in the playoffs with games of more than 200 and 300 yards rushing.

23. Holy Cross (9-3)

The top-seeded Tigers lost to Acadiana, 28-14, in the Division I select quarterfinals. Coach Scott Wattigny is the favorite to win Class 5A Coach of the Year in his debut season. He'll have to replace QB Cole Canatella and receiver Koby Young (Houston signee).

24. St. James (11-3)

The Wildcats finished as Division I non-select runner-up to Union Parish. Key losses include seniors Brayden Williams (QB) and Kobe Young (WR). Key returnees include RB Kani King-Young and WR Jakias Villanueva.

25. Riverside Academy (12-2)

The Rebels finished as runner-up to Southern Lab in the Division IV select championship game. Junior tailback Dedric Lastie ran for over 2,500 yards.

Honorable Mention (in random order)

Haynesville, Archbishop Shaw, John F. Kennedy, St. Paul's, E.D. White, Airline, Isidore Newman, Kentwood, Northwest, Captain Shreve, Neville, Central-Baton Rouge, Carencro, Vermilion Catholic, Ouachita Christian

St. Thomas More photo by Brett Duke, Times-Picayune 

-- Mike Coppage | @SBLiveLA