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Notebook: Jennings honors 1992 state championship team

Last Modified: Saturday, October 06, 2012 11:41 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

Jennings honored its 1992 state championship team at Friday’s game.

Among the returnees to Jerry Simmons Stadium were McNeese State head coach Matt Viator and Westlake Rams head coach Shawn Demeritt. Viator coached the Bulldogs to the championship, while Demeritt was an offensive lineman on the team.

“It was very nice, I appreciated it; the administration and alumni association did a great job,” Demeritt said.

“I saw a lot of old friends and old faces, some I had not seen in 20 years. There was a great crowd and football atmosphere. We had about 30 players back. They put a plaque for the ‘39 and ‘92 championship teams. Some of the coaches from our team are still coaching and could not be there, but I still keep in touch with a lot of those guys.”

Jennings beat Cecilia 14-7 in the Class 3A state championship game in the Superdome in 1992, capping a 14-1 season. Demeritt was an all-state offensive tackle on the team that featured a pair of star running backs in Lawrence Nixon and Ronnie McZeal, who serves an assistant coach at Jennings.

“As a player, you set individual and team goals, and every player dreams of winning a state championship, but I did not really expect it,” Demeritt said. “We had a good team the year before. We had lost in the quarterfinals and had most of the team coming back. We had two studs at running back in Nixon and McZeal. Our defense set the 3A record with five interceptions against Cecilia. Reggie Allen had two, Curtis Berry had one and Nixon had two.”

Demeritt said it was nice to be a member of the Bulldogs football family again.

“I don’t get to go back very much, and when I do it is just to see family,” he said. “Last night was special, I was not Coach Demeritt, I was just Shawn. It was almost a class reunion.”

While Demeritt was enjoying the festivities rather than scouting the Bulldogs, a group of his Westlake players were on hand to get a look at the Bulldogs, who the Rams visit on Friday. Westlake beat South Beauregard Thursday night.

• HITTING THE HARDWOOD: Basketball practice for Classes 1A-5A starts Monday. Classes B and C have been allowed to practice since Sept. 3 and will begin playing jamborees on Oct. 22. The regular season for Classes B and C will start on Oct. 29, while Classes 1A-5A may play jamborees beginning Nov. 12, with the regular season starting Nov. 19.

“I probably had about 15-20 Westlake kids there, doing a little scouting,” Demeritt said.

• PLAYER DEATH: A South Carolina high school football player died after collapsing on the sideline during a game.

Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington wrote in an email late Friday that Ronald Rouse, a senior lineman for the Hartsville Red Foxes, died earlier that night.

Darlington County Coroner J. Todd Hardee said Saturday that an autopsy revealed 18-year-old Ronald Rouse suffered a fatal cardiac arrhythmia resulting from a congenital enlarged heart.

The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Rouse was involved in a tackle toward the end of the first half during a game against Crestwood and stayed on the ground. Team officials helped Rouse to his feet and he walked to the sideline, where he collapsed.

Pennington said EMS crews worked to revive Rouse and transported him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The game was cancelled and Pennington ordered flags in the city flown at half staff.

• • •

Items in this report were compiled by staff writer Warren Arceneaux. The Associated Press contributed. To submit an item, contact the American Press at 494-4069 or email sports@americanpress.com

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