Manuel Column: Seeing kids excel at their passion never gets old

By By Rhett Manuel / American Press

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this.

Every region in every part of the country has its star high school players. Places such as Acadiana and Greater New Orleans

have commodities who are known almost exclusively to their areas.

Southwest Louisiana is no different. Not many people outside of our region know the names of guys like Lake Arthur’s Trey

Hargrave, Basile’s Kendrick Ceaser, Pickering’s Daveon Banks or Washington-Marion’s Demond Delahoussaye.

All are great players in their own right. But right now, Southwest Louisiana has something special brewing.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock the past few days, most Southwest Louisiana football fans know Trey Quinn broke the national

record for career receiving yards in Barbe’s first-round playoff game. He’s also the state leader in receiving yards this

season and is 12 catches away from breaking the national record for career receptions.

That puts him doing things that current Cincinnati Bengals star receiver A.J. Green never did. Not bad.

Now for what you may not have known. Louisiana’s current passing and rushing leaders also reside within the region.

Kind of fun, isn’t it?

Barbe quarterback Kennon Fontenot has

done his part in leaving an impression on Louisiana high school

football. Last week

he became just the fourth quarterback in state history to pass for

more than 10,000 yards in a career. About a third of that

has come this season. He’s passed for 3,376 yards and 34

touchdowns. Doing the quick math, that’s about 300 yards and three

scores in every game the Bucs play.

But it’s probably the least impressive of the feats when you consider the season Elton’s Marcus Lemoine is having.

Fans saw Fontenot and Quinn coming from a mile away. After all, they’d already been putting up insane numbers for two seasons.

Lemoine had some pretty big shoes to fill after the departure of all-state player Micah Lavan.

Something tells me the junior has filled those shoes admirably, having rushed for 2,507 yards and 27 TDs.

And the best part about the seasons these guys are having? It’s also equating to success on the field. Both Barbe and Elton

will be playing in the regional playoff round Friday.

After all, filling up the stat sheet doesn’t mean a thing if the team isn’t winning.

Fontenot and Quinn will probably always

be joined at the hip in the minds of most high school football fans in

Southwest Louisiana.

Fair play when one considers the magic the pair has worked for

three seasons.

Watching their connection on the field has been fun — things like that are why sports writers get into the profession. It

makes us appreciate why we love sports.

Then we sit back and realize that with each new generation of players comes new stars and new names. New powerhouses rise

and others fall — with the exception of the John Curtises and Evangels of the world.

Fontenot and Quinn will be moving on

after this season to the next level — Fontenot to baseball at Oklahoma

State and Quinn

to football at LSU. Personally, I hope they give the fans in

Stillwater, Okla., and Baton Rouge a similar experience to the

one fans in Southwest Louisiana have enjoyed the past three

seasons.

As with all things, we’ll remember those players fondly. But, we’ll move on as writers and fans. We have to. After all, guys

like Lemoine and Ceaser may try to one-up each other in District 4-1A throughout their senior seasons.

And admit it, your jaw may drop once or twice at whatever incredible stat lines are put up.

Time marches on. Players come and go. But seeing kids excel at their passion never gets old.

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Rhett Manuel covers high school sports for the American Press. Email him at rmanuel@americanpress.com