LOUISIANA HIGH SCHOOL PLAYER OF THE WEEK #3
Two years ago, when Kendell Beckwith got to the East Feliciana varsity, it was their first year of existance , after the consolidation of Clinton and Jackson. In that very first year, Beckwith helped lead his team to the 2A State Semi-Finals. In fact, I saw Beckwith and his team play in the Port Allen Jamboree two years ago and I knew that he was a Freak and that he was going to be an even bigger Freak on the football field when he got to be a senior. Last season, East Feliciana moved-up to 3A.
On his highlight film as a junior, Beckwith can be compared to a man playing among boys as he completely controls the football game on both sides of the football. On offense, it looks like he can run for a first down any time that he decides to run. It’s hard to compare him to anyone, because no one can dominate the game like he can and he is also bigger than most of the linemen on the field. The only player that comes to mind in comparing him is Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
After their opening game was cancelled, because of Hurricane Isaac and in his first game of the season, Beckwith put on one of the most incredible performances of the year. On the second play from scrimmage, Beckwith took a Shotgun Snap out of the Wildcat Offense, faked a simple handoff and then raced 62-yards down the left sideline for a touchdown and the 37-8 rout over Baton Rouge Capital was on.
In checking the football schedules for Week #3, I realized that Beckwith and his East Feliciana team were coming to Zachary High School Stadium and I immediately penciled the Friday night date on my schedule. I also realized that I had attended East Feliciana and Zachary game in 2011 and remember that it endded in a tie game in regulation and that Zachary had won in Overtime. Zachary high school has one of the best high school football facilities, if not the best in the State of Louisiana with their beautiful astro turf field, meeting rooms, and weight facilities.
Beckwith (6-3, 235, 4.56) had his great game in the opening and Zachary also had some outstanding players in their previous game, including versatile quarterback Trey Hills (5-11, 175, 4.5) who had passed for 298-yards last week and super athletic receiver Donald Gage who had caught passes for 128-yards and one touchdown. Boston Scott (5-9, 180, 4.5) takes over at running back for Ron Pennington (5-8, 180, 4.4) who played in our Eighth Annual 2012 All-American Bowl Game Classic. Zachary also has two outstanding two-way linemen in Chris Taylor (6-3, 305, 5.1) and Cody Griner (6-3, 315, 5.2). Larry Cage (6-2, 195, 4.4) is an undersized, but intriguing linebacker with great potential. Gage was ruled eligible in August after transferring from Baton Rouge Redemptorist. Gage is already committed to Houston and Taylor is committed to Tulane.
East Feliciana also had some more great athletes to check out including, great two-way athlete Thocorence Hawkins 6-0, 190. 4.5); two-way athlete Trent Anio (6-3, 190, 4.5); two-way lineman Christopher Young (6-5, 265, 5.0); Al-District defensive back Olajawon White (5-10, 165, 4.5); and Super Sophomores RB Kameron McKnight (6-2, 215, 4.6) and TE/DE Ty’Quincy Kilbourne (6-2, 235, 4.7) at tight end and defensive end.
Beckwith was one of the most dominating defensive players in the State of Louisiana as a sophomore and a junior. but he is 6-3 and 235 and can run, so if he can pass, then he might be a quarterback at the next level. In the Zachary and East Feliciana game in 2011, I do not remember Beckwith being that great of a passer, but I do remember him being a great physical specimen and playing great on defense.
In the Spring of 2011, I invited Gage to play on my Super Select 7on7 Team, but we could never got together on it, but a few of his friends were able to play, including WR Shelby Christy (6-3, 185, 4.5) of Dutchtown and QB Brandon Fields (6-1, 210, 4.6) of St Michael. All three are seniors this year. I remember selecting Gage, because he had just run a 4.09 in the pro-shuttle and a 4.42 in the forty. Shelby had also just won the 5A State Long Jump with a 23-9 Jump. Gage is a great receiver who makes the big catch in the clutch. The Houston Cougars offerd Gage and he accepted, but he is the type of Playmaker that can play for any team in America and he has recently received more offers, including Illinois, Memphis, and Kentucky.
Hills is a very athletic, but short quarterback who is a great Playmaker in his first year at the helm. Hills passed for 298-yards last week, so he is making the plays to win the game for his team.
Scott is a small running back or slot receiver who is in his first year at the starting running back position.
Taylor is a very athletic two-way offensive linemen who has run a 5.0 in the forty and around a 4.9 in the pro-agility shuttle and he will be a great offensive guard in college. Taylor also plays defensive tackle.
Griner is a two-way lineman that has the size to be considered a college prospect at the next level.
ZACHARY VS EAST FELICIANA
As I got to the game on Friday, I see two coaches on the Zachary football coaching staff that I rated and ranked when they came out of high school. They probably wouldn’t want me to mention the years, but if I rated them in those years, maybe I wouldn’t want to mention the years either.
Coach Chris Carrier played on the Eunice, Louisiana High School 3A State Championship in 1982 and I had him as a Coverboy on my Fourth Annual Max Emfinger’s 1983 National Bluechips Magazine. Carrier later signed with LSU and played for the Tigers from 1984-1987, earning All-SEC Honors in 1986 and 1987. Carrier is one of the Zachary Defensive Coordinators for Head Coach Neil Weiner.
Coach Kendall Cleveland was a running back from West Orange Stark, Texas in my 14th Annual Max Emfinger’s 1983 National Bluechips Magazine and he also signed with the LSU Tigers in 1984. Cleveland played for the Tigers from 1995-1998. Coach Cleveland is the Zachary running backs coach.
Let me start off by saying that Kendell Beckwith is “The Real Deal” at quarterback. You can fiddle around with him on defense and he probably will become a difference-maker on that side of the football, but he is already a 6-3 dropback passing quarterback who can throw it 65-yards with touch and he can make every throw. In my years of Scouting, I have not seen too many that are better. In this game, Beckwith completed 25 of 35 for 403-yards and five touchdowns. He also completed a pass to himself for a minus 13-yard loss.
Although Beckwith was the most highly recruited player on the field, Zachary had some great players who kept bringing them back, time and time again, after Beckwith would throw another touchdown pass. Hills, for one, started the football game off by hitting Gage on a beautiful 15-yard touchdown pass with two defenders on him. Hills and Gage would do this all night.
After Hills and Gage teamed-up to put Zachary ahead 6-0, Beckwith hit junior Danny Johnson on one of the most impressive passes that I have seen in a few years as Beckwith hit Johnson in perfect full stride at the 20-yard line on his way into the endzone for an electrifying 85-yard touchdown. After a missed extra point, the score remained at 6-6 that ended the first quarter.
Scott scored two touchdowns in the scond quarter on short runs of one and three while East Feliciana scored two more touchdowns with a run and another Beckwith touchdown pass. This brought the first half to finish with a 20-20 tie.
Somewhere in the game, Hills got dinged-up and he had to come out of the game. During the time that Hills was out, Zachary struggled, but he finally went back in and he was leading them down the field in the fourth quarter.
Junior running Back Forest Town scored for Zachary on a nine-yard touchdown run, but Beckwith hit Johnson again on a 15-yard touchdown. This brought the score to 27-26 in favor of Zachary. Then after sophomore sensation Kameron McKnight ran for the two-point conversion, East Feliciana led 28-27 and there was 4:09 left in the third quarter.
Gage ran the kickoff back 36-yards to give Zachary great field position, but the drive stalled and they had to punt on fourth and 10 on their own nine-yard line and East Feliciana was still leading by 28-27 score.
The punt return man ran it back to the 19-yard line and there was only 7:22 left in the game. After a great pass-breakup of Gage and some more great pressure from the defensive, including Taylor, Cage, and Griner; Beckwith had one last chance on fourth and goal from the 10-yard line. This is when the Great Playmaker, Beckwith, hit Anio on what looked like the winning 10-yard touchdown pass, but there was still 3:09 left in the game.
East Feliciana had just gone ahead of Zachary by a 34-27 score, but Hills, Gage, Town, and Scott were not done yet. Also remember that Hills had been out of the game for a short period, but he was back and ready to lead his team to another touchdown. Hills completed 13 of 18 passes for 183-yards for the game and he got 50 of those yards in this last drive. Two of the Hills passes in the drive were on bubble-screen passes to Town and Scott and Gage had a 19-yard catch. Town had a key 29-yard catch down to the 21-yard line with 1:19 left in the game and a few plays later Scott went in for the touchdown from the eight-yard line.
After the Jacob Garrett kick, the score was tied 34-34. I believe that the score was also very close last year, but it did not go into Overtime.
The new Overtime Rules in Louisiana are that each team gets the football on the 10-yard line and they try to score. Beckwith got the ball first and he threw another touchdown pass to Anio and then the run failed, leaving the score at 40-34.
Hills immediately hit Gage to tie the score at 40-40 and Garrett kicked the extra point for the 41-40 winning kick for Zachary.
Where do you think the Game of the Week will be next Friday? If you guessed that the Dutchtown game at Zachary, then you guessed right. Just to give you a little preview:
Dutchtown Junior running back Corey McBride (6-2, 180, 4.33) ran a 56-yard touchdown on the very first play from scrimmage for Dutchtown and ended his play by running for another 66-yard touchdown. McBride carried the football three times for 122-yards and two touchdowns as they beat Sulphur 49-17.
Senior Quarterback Mason Nickens (6-0, 190, 4.6) hit Junior WR Torrance Mosley (5-10, 170, 4.4) on a 75-yard touchdown and hit Shelby Christy (6-3, 190, 4.5) on a 49-yard touchdown pass. Nickens completed 9 of 13 passes for 234-yards and three touchdowns and Nickens added another 53-yards on the ground, giving him 287 All-Purpose yards in the victory.
Looks like there will be another passing barrage at Zachary High School Football Stadium on Friday Night at 7:00 P.M. and if The Good Lord lets me, I will be there.