In every era, producing stellar defensive talent has been a theme for River Parish Football. Players like A.J. Duhe (Godchaux/ESJ), Lionel Washington (Lutcher), and Burnell Dent (Destrehan) had standout NFL careers. Currently players like Tyson Jackson (WSJ) and LaRon Landry (Hahnville) are making their marks in the NFL, with Ed Reed (Destrehan) surely headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In 2013, defensive play was again very special in the River Parishes. The aforementioned players would certainly be proud of this year’s finalists for the Riverparishfootball.com Defensive Player of the Year:
Joe Anderson DE (Riverside)– In his first season with the Rebels after moving from Lafourche Parish, Anderson was an instant force. The 6-4 junior registered nine sacks, which ranked fourth in RPF.
Sully Laiche DL (Lutcher)– One of the youngest players on the list followed up a sensational freshman season with more of the same as a sophomore. Lining up at times as a defensive tackle and others as a defensive end, opposing offensive lines again had difficulties dealing with Laiche’s speed and knack for the ball. His 79 tackles ranked fourth in defensive statistics reported to RPF.com.
Rae Juan Marbley LB (Destrehan)– The first defensive player ever to be named the RPF.com Player of the Week (9/27/12), Marbley is a defensive finalist for the second straight year. In addition to leading RPF in tackles with a regular season total of 97, the Tulane commitment saved some of his best play for big games. Marbley played a huge role in wins over rivals Hahnville and East St. John coming up with major turnovers in both key district wins.
Amani Martin LB (East St. John)- The junior linebacker was again all over the field for the Wildcats in 2013. Martin was third in RPF with 84 regular season tackles. In the playoffs, Martin came up with a career-high two interceptions in a defensive slugfest with St. Amant including a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the Wildcats first-round victory.
Blake Roussel LB (Lutcher)– Having entered his senior season, already as the school’s all-time leader in total tackles, Roussel excelled again in 2013. He finished second in RPF with 87.5 tackles and again provided leadership for a Lutcher team which was hit with several key injuries. Roussel also was a defensive finalist in 2012.
Aquindas Steib (LB) St. James– The sophomore linebacker was one of the key pieces in a turnaround season for the Wildcats. Not only was Steib’s play consistent finishing with 87 solo tackles, but he also had a flare for the big play registering 11 tackles for loss. In a first-round playoff win at Lake Arthur, Steib had an incredible 24-tackle performance. His play in the playoffs pushed his overall tackle total to 138.
Daren Williams (DE) East St. John– Again in 2013 Williams combined both his uncanny physical abilities with his intelligence on the football field to create havoc against opponents. Williams, the leader of a defensive line which also included standouts Charlie Payne (11 sacks) and Davarian Stockman (11 sacks), led RPF in sacks with 15. William follows former ESJ teammates Darion Monroe and Leonard Davis as a Tulane commitment.
The winner of the 2013 RPF.com Defensive Player of the Year will be announced December 28.