Rarely is an offensive lineman even considered for postseason awards outside of his own fraternity. In what can be hailed as a victory for O-linemen everywhere, Sterlington senior quick tackle Trey Rugg has been chosen as the District 2-3A Offensive MVP.
"I've never seen this before," said Larry Foster, Sterlington's veteran offensive line coach, of an offensive lineman receiving a District MVP award. "Trey's the one guy we couldn't do without. He's pretty special."
A three-year starter, Rugg helped the Panthers to the Class 2A state championship in 2016, a quarterfinal berth in 2017 and a state runner-up finish as a senior.
"Trey has set a standard here which others will strive to carry on after he leaves," Foster said. "He learned from the ones who came before him, and he led the others to the water source this year. He was the bell cow for us."
Thrown into the fire as a sophomore, Rugg persevered through some early growing pains.
"We put him in at quick guard as a sophomore, and he went up against some guys like Dare Rosenthal from Ferriday (who now plays for LSU), and took some thrashings," Foster recalled. "I told him to remember these because you are going to be the one dishing them out one day."
Over the long haul, Rugg proved Foster correct.
A repeat first-team All-District football honoree, Rugg now has a football MVP award to go with his 2017 District 2-3A Pitcher of the Year award. Over the past two seasons, the right-hander has helped the baseball Panthers win the 2017 Class 2A state championship and advance to the 2018 semifinals. Last season, he fashioned a 12-1 record with a 0.99 earned run average.
"Between baseball and football, he has played in a ton of postseason games," Foster said.
Rugg's postseason experience now includes an all-star game as he helped the Northeast Louisiana All-Stars to a 21-14 victory over Northwest Louisiana in Saturday's I-20 Bowl. Rugg spent most of the afternoon at H-back.
"Now he thinks he's a running back," Foster joked. "We put him at H-Back and ran mostly to his side."
A 4.0 student, Rugg was also named to the LHSAA Academic All-State team along with classmates Tyler Kaffenberger, Kyle Elee and Reid Handy.
Sterlington claimed two of the three individual awards on the All-District team as Lee Doty is Coach of the Year. In two years as Sterlington's head coach, Doty has guided the Panthers to a 24-4 record, consecutive 12-win seasons and back-to-back district titles.
Senior linebacker Jared Singleton of state quarterfinalist Union Parishis the Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 120 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception and forcing three fumbles.
Joining Rugg on the first-team offense from Sterlington are junior quick guard Brock Risinger, junior quarterback Hayes Crockett, junior running backs Dallas Reagor and Jordan Townsend, senior wide receiver/punter Clay Vaughn and freshman kicker Jacob Green.
Risinger helped clear the path for an offense which averaged 35.4points per game and 364.3 total yards (286.6 rushing, 77.6 passing).
Crockett, who emerged as the Panthers' starting quarterback midway through the regular season, completed 56-of-115 passes for 1,056 yards and 13 touchdowns with only one pick. He also rushed for 389 yards and seven scores.
Averaging 8.8 yards per carry, Reagor rushed for 2,240 yards and 24 touchdowns on 255 carries. Sterlington's MVP of the state championship game, the tailback eclipsed the 200-yard mark five times and went over 100 yards in 10 games. Reagor was named the Class 3A Player of the Week following a 24-carry, 382-yard effort in the Panthers' 43-34Week 7 homecoming victory over Wossman.
Complementing Reagor from the fullback position, Townsend rushed for 860 yards and 13 touchdowns on 126 carries (6.8 yards per carry). Seeing spot duty at linebacker, he recorded 32 tackles with three sacks and three picks, including one in the state championship game.
Vaughn caught seven passes for 224 yards and a touchdown while punting 30 times for a 32.6 yard average. Nine of his punts pinned opponents inside their own 20.
Recruited from the soccer team after a season-ending injury to Landon Green (no relation), Jacob Green made 40-of-41 extra points and all six field goals, highlighted by a 36-yarder against Wossman.
He made the first 42 kicks of his career before having a PAT blocked by Eunice in the state finals.
Led by repeat first-team selection Trey Eddins, the Panthers were awarded six spots on the first defense.
Trey Eddins, a senior cornerback, logged 90 tackles, five stops in the backfield, a team-high five interceptions and blocked two kicks.
Rugg, Eddins, Union quarterback Trent Ginn and Richwood defensive back Benny Davis are the only repeat first-team honorees.
Rounding out the Panthers' first-team defensive list are senior defensive end Justin Fuller, senior nose tackle Colby Rivera, junior linebacker Cole Jones, senior linebacker Willie Holloway and and junior free safety Reece Brooks.
Jones was the team-leader in tackles (132), sacks (6) and blocked kicks (3) while posting 12 tackles for loss, two interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
Holloway logged a team-best 14 tackles for loss and ranked second on the team in tackles with 112 while adding two interceptions and a sack.
Fuller tallied 83 tackles, nine stops in the backfield, three sacks and forced two fumbles.
Rivera had 66 tackles in the interior with five tackles for loss and a sack.
Limited to nine games after being injured in the Bayou Jamb, Brooks came on strong down the stretch to finish with 62 tackles, two picks and three fumble recoveries.
Sterlington's second team offensive honorees feature a trio of linemen — senior strong guard Tyler Hitt, junior center Braden Bruscato and senior quick tackle Jack Anderson. All five of the Panthers' starting O-linemen received first or second-team All-District recognition.
Also representing the Panthers on the second offense are junior wide receiver Layton Rainbolt (19 receptions, 371 yards, 7 TDs; 19 kickoff returns, 24.4 yard average, 1 TD; 6 punt returns, 15.8 yard average), junior tight end Hixson Street (9 receptions, 131 yards, 2 TDs) and senior fullback Malik Davis (59 carries, 332 yards, 3 TDs).
Named to the second defense from Sterlington were senior end Bryce Still (56 tackles, 6 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 2 FF), junior tackle Luke Carmichael (57 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks), senior nose tackle Idris Enoch (20 tackles, 3 TFL , 1 sack), senior linebacker Tyler Kaffenberger (47 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 FF) and senior cornerback Dorian Eddins (77 tackles, 3 TFL, 4 INTs).
I-20 BOWL: Sterlington coach Lee Doty has been saying all year that senior cornerback Trey Eddins is a Division I recruit. Maybe someone should start listening. Eddins was named MVP of the I-20 bowl for his exploits in the East's 35-21 victory. He intercepted two passes, highlighted by a 35-yard pick-6, to go with six tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Eddins was joined on the East squad by Sterlington teammates Trey Rugg, C.J. Colvin and Colby Rivera, who was a late addition to the roster. Doty was the head coach with Larry Foster in charge of the offensive line.