NOTE: This is part 2 of a 5 part series listing the best New Orleans-area prep football performers by position.
Today more than ever, a football teamâ€™s defensive secondary is a critical element to success stopping the opponent. With the advent of the West Coast offense, football is no longer a game in which the run sets up the pass.
Fullbacks today are primarily backfield blockers to give the more polished passing quarterbacks time to find an open receiver, so it is essential that deep secondaries have the quickest reacting athletes on the field.
Players like Rummel's Craig Steltz (pictured left) recently starred in the prep ranks and soared all the way into the NFL. But most of the outstanding pass and run defenders from the metro New Orleans area played as far back as five decades ago.
Let's not forget special teams which are as important in deciding the outcome of games as the performance of pass defenders. How many times has a muffed punt or missed field goal been the difference between a win or loss?
You want great return specialists? We got â€˜em. Start with St, Augustineâ€™s Tyrone Hughes, who in his senior year of 1987 was not only named to the All-State team as Louisianaâ€™s best kick returner but tabed as the Class 4A Most Valuable Player as well. Hughes went on to star at Nebraska and in the NFL with the hometown New Orleans Saints.
The city has had its share of outstanding prep kickers, too. Field goals of 50 yards or more have been accomplished nearly three dozen times on the high school lvel locally since 1974.
Norman Jefferson, Ehret, 1982
Aeneas Williams, Fortier, 1985
Roosevelt Taylor, Clark, 1951
Richie Petitbon, Jesuit, 1955
5. Craig Steltz, Rummel, 2003
6. James Warren, Cohen, 1959
7. Roynell Young, Cohen, 1975
8. Clarence LeBlanc, John Curtis, 1994
9. Chris Horton, De La Salle, 2002
10. Maurice Hurst, Fortier, 1984
OTHER GREAT DEFENSIVE BACKS: Phil Bruno, Jesuit, 1938; Norman Hodgins, Jesuit 1943, Lou Bravo, St. Aloysius, 1947; Clarence Zimmerman, Holy Cross, 1950; Jimmy Shields, Warren Easton, 1958; Kenny Newfield, St. Aloysius, 1964; Mike Trapani, Redemptorist, 1968; Norman Hodgins Jr., Rummel, 1969; Mike Pike, Sam Barthe, 1970; Mike Mulligan, East Jefferson, 1971; Johnny Robinson, L.B. Landry, 1971; Artie Liuzza, Chalmette, 1971; Michael Brown, Nicholls, 1971; Jesse Allen, East Jefferson, 1976; Darryl Songy, St. Augustine, 1978; Randy Thornton, West Jefferson, 1983; Randy Hilliard, East Jefferson, 1984; Mike Riley, Ehret, 1986 Corey Dowden, McDonogh High, 1986; Robbie Green, Shaw, 1987; Ashley Ambrose, Fortier, 1988; Tony Bouie, Holy Cross, 1989; Johnny Dixon, West Jefferson, 1989; Jabbar Juluke, St. Augustine, 1989; Scott Gumina, John Curtis, 1990; Raion Hill, Brother Martin, 1003; Jason Howard, John Curtis, 1996; Chad Boyd, Shaw, 2008; Ronnie Vinson, Newman, 2008; Carvin Johnson, Rummel, 2009.
Tyrone Hughes, St. Augustine, 1987
2. Alvin Haymond, L.B. Landry, 1959
3. Kenny Hrapmann, Holy Cross, 1967
4. Roy Hoffmann, St. Aloysius, 1945
5. Reggie Dupard, John Curtis, 1981
6. Tyrann Mathieu, St. Augustine, 2009
7. Shyrone Carey, Shaw, 1999
8. Terrence Dunbar, Rummel, 2001
9. Kirk Davenport, Fortier, 1986
10. Gerald Mitchell, First Assembly, 1985
OTHER GREAT RETURNERS: Warren Hirsch, Boys High, 1918; Al Liska, St. Aloysius, 1934; Harold â€œWhiteyâ€ Helscher, Peters, 1937; Milton â€œMookâ€ Clavier, Warren Easton, 1939; Butler Avery, Fortier, 1940; Al Widmer, Jesuit, 1942; Johnny White, Peters, 1948; Earl Hubley, Warren Easton, 1949; Willie Hof, Kenner, 1952; Tommy Warner, Redemptorist, 1952; Jimmy Lacava, St. Aloysius, 1954; Terry Terrebonne, Fortier, 1956; George â€œSonnyâ€ Oeschner, St. Aloysius, 1957; Nolan LeBlanc, Nicholls, 1961; Danny Patterson, Warren Easton, 1962; Billy Dwyer, St. Aloysius, 1964; Richie Wilson, West Jefferson, 1966; Bob Marshall, East Jefferson, 1967; Chris Ezell, Brother Martin, 1970; Cecil Bostick, Kennedy, 1972; Robert Woods, Carver, 1973; Wendell Frazier, Redemptorist, 1973; Ron Stander, O.P. Walker, 1973; Sammy Martin, De La Salle, 1983; Ulysses Bentley, B.T. Washington, 1985; Aaron Adams, East Jefferson, 1993; Toney Converse, East Jefferson, 1996.
Ronnie Lewis, Abramson, 1983
2. Jonathan Ruffin, Ridgewood, 1998
3. Ellis Henican, Jesuit, 1921
4. Sean Comiskey, Rummel, 2001
5. Bobby Roca, East Jefferson, 1974
6. Malter Scobel, Shaw, 1986
7. Vincent Manella, Chalmette, 1978
8. David Spiece, Ridgewood, 1981
9. Mark Olivari, Jesuit, 1997
10. Chris Jackson, John Curtis, 2002
OTHER GREAT KICKERS: March Owens, Warren Easton, 1923; Thomas Spears, St. Augustine, 1965; â€œBuzzyâ€ Thibodeaux, Rummel, 1972; David Falgoust, Holy Cross, 1970; Juan Roca, East Jefferson, 1971; Larry Scrubbs, West Jefferson, 1974; James Wagner, St. Augustine, 1979; Tim Parenton, Jesuit, 1979; Tootaj Badie, Shaw, 1981; Jimmy Barrouquere, Rummel, 1982; Keith Hodnett, Holy Cross, 1984; Chris Vest, John Curtis, 1984; Luis Bacerra, Chalmette, 1986; Chris Spurney, Newman, 1986; Eric Held, Brother Martin, 1988; Eric Escher, Brother Martin, 1990; Brian Buckman, Newman, 1993; Mike Brown, Karr, 1993; Nick Reggio, Brother Martin, 1995; Jeff Klibert, Jesuit, 1997; Thomas Peed, Holy Cross, 2001.
Ridley Boudreaux, Fortier, 1948
2. Peggy Flournoy, Rugby Academy, 1920
3. Frank Wills, De La Salle, 1976
4. Troy Gardner, East Jefferson, 1983
5. Karl Hankton, De La Salle, 1988
6. John Matta, Bonnabel, 1981
7. Roy Prendergast, Chalmette, 1966
8. Rhett Goetz, De La Salle, 1997
9. Wade Elmore, Fortier, 1979
10. Danny Hrapmann, Holy Cross, 2004
Next week: Offensive linemen.
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