With 10 years of RiverParishFootball.com coinciding with the past decade of high school football in the area, RPF.com is announcing its Team of the Decade.
With the help of past and present coaches of the schools involved, along with members of the RiverParishFootball.com staff, a top five Players of the Decade were named for each school. After the All-Decade teams from each school are announced, an overall RPF.com All-Decade team will be released.
Voters each listed their choice for the top five players from an individual school from a period spanning from 2010-19. A point system was used to determine the outcome. A player receiving a first-place vote was awarded five points, down to one point for a fifth place vote.
In the fourth of eight Players of the Decade teams, here’s a look at West St. John.
1. Kylan Duhe RB 2015-2018
2. Ronnie Feist DL 2008-2011
3. Austin Howard QB 2010-2013
4. Jairus Moll WR 2008-2011
5. Jeremy Jackson RB 2009-2013
Duhe was part of a West St. John team that won the Class 1A championship and reached the semifinals the following year in 2018. He was a two-time All-State performer and the MVP of the state title game in 2017.
“He’s one of the best that I’ve seen come through here and we definitely had some good guys running the rock. To me, he was a pure running back,” West St. John coach Brandon Walters said.
“He had such good vision. He was an Emmitt Smith-type guy,” Joseph said of Duhe, referencing the Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer. “He had quick feet. He could see a hole with his vision going one way, stop on a dime and go the other direction. He’s a guy you wanted the ball in his hands in crunch time.”
During his career, Duhe rushed for 3,929 yards on 523 carries and 48 touchdowns. He also had 38 catches for 726 yards and nine touchdowns.
Duhe put up eye-popping numbers his senior season, rushing for 2038 yards on 222 carries and 33 touchdowns.
“I didn’t think he could top that junior year. He everything you could ask as far as a high school football player. I was I had 10 or 20 just like him, He’s tough as hell and he’s a real hard-nosed guy. He could run the ball as many times as you want. He just got better as the game goes on,” said Walters.
During his senior season in 2011, Feist had 13 sacks and 73 tackles, including 35 for loss on his way to being named the Most Valuable Player on defense in Class 1A. Feist had 22 sacks as a junior.
“Ronnie was a freak of nature for us. We converted to a 3-3 Stack defense because of guys like Ronnie. They were so versatile for us and couple play and it gave us an opportunity to kind of move them around. It was a great change of pace for us to be able to use him. He was big, he was strong, very athletic, and he played angry. That’s my type of guy,” said Robert Valdez, Feist’s head coach at West St. John.
“Ronnie was tenacious. He just couldn’t be blocked on our level. He had a great attitude toward the game. He wanted to be in the battle. He worked hard in practice and worked hard away from the game. On the football field as a defensive guy, he felt like he just couldn’t be stopped. He wanted to be in on every play,” said Gregory Joseph, a longtime coach at West St. John.
Howard threw for 1,963 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior in 2013.
“He was probably one of the smartest guys I ever had a chance to coach,” Valdez said of Howard. “Austin, from a young age, really, really grabbed and understood the game plan. He had that quarterback moxie that allowed other kids to follow him.”
“That guy was just unbelievable. I spent a lot of time with him through my sons and he was like a son to me. He was a fun guy on the football field. When he stepped on the field, there’s nothing he couldn’t do. He just had unbelievable fortitude for a young man,” said Joseph.
Howard also had another quality at coaches always enjoy.
“Austin never missed one day of practice when he played football. He was always dedicated and committed,” said Valdez.
A threat from anywhere on the field, Moll had 800 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns during his senior season in 2011 while also playing defensive back and serving as a kick returner.
“Jairus played with a chip on his shoulder because a lot of people considered him to be too small.” Valdez recalled. “For us, he would do everything. He was a receiver, he did punt returns and kick returns, cornerback. He would go block punts. He was just a competitor.
“The thing I may remember most about Jairus is that he probably was one of the most mature players I coached in my life. He knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to work for it.”
During his senior season in 2013, Jackson spearheaded a West St. John offense that averaged 42.4 points per game.
Jackson rushed for 1,797 yards in 2013. He scored a total of 38 touchdowns, including 27 rushing, seven receiving and four on kickoff returns. Jackson averaged more than 11 yards per carry.
“My first call as a coach in middle school from the offensive side was Jeremy Jackson as an eighth grader,” recalled Walters. “He took it for like 70 yards for a touchdown. From then on, he was pretty special to watch.
“He could do it all. He was a kick returner. He was a really strong kid and worked his butt off in the weight room. He was just a specimen to look at.”
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