To the victors go the spoils and in the Baton Rouge area that’s represented by four teams that delivered four state championships.
Each team’s got a different story to tell in their pursuits of their state championship glory, a different player to recognize in their ability to excel in his team’s biggest game of the season.
For their efforts the trio of Zachary’s Kameron Hamilton, University High’s Harry Beachman and Southern Lab’s Angelo Izzard Jr. have been selected the Tiger Rag Magazine/Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Shining Stars of the Week.
Zachary’s Kameron Hamilton
The 275-pound Hamilton, a Tulane signee, spearheaded a Zachary defensive line that played a pivotal role in the Broncos’ 28-20 victory over Ponchatoula, capturing the school’s fourth Class 5A state title in seven years with a perfect 15-0 record.
“Kameron’s been our guy up front all year long,” Zachary football coach David Brewerton said. “He was the district (4-5A) MVP on defense, and he just destroyed the guy he played in front of from Ponchatoula. He really had a tremendous night.”
For Zachary to be able come back from a 20-14 halftime deficit, they needed a spark from its defense which delivered a second-half shutout. That began with stifling the Wave’s 1,800-yard running back to the tune of 33 yards on 22 carries.
Hamilton had seven tackles and three tackles for loss, but with Ponchatoula trailing in the fourth quarter and unable to generate a running game, he was part of an unrelenting pass rush with eight quarterback hurries and a sack.
“He does a great job of making sure people don’t get into his pads,” Brewerton said. “He’s so long and strong, he keeps guys off of him and makes a ton of plays.”
U-High’s Harry Beacham
There wasn’t anything complex about U-High’s opponent, E.D. White, in the Division II state championship game. The Cardinals featured a physical, ground-oriented style of offense that had averaged 30 points per game in compiling a 10-0 record.
E.D. White lived up to its billing, going in at halftime tied 7-7 with U-High. The Cubs leaned heavily on the play of its defense and Beachman, a sophomore, in the second half for a 14-7 victory and school’s sixth state crown.
“He was all over the ball,” U-High football coach Andy Martin said. “It’s been a credit to him for the way he’s played all year long.”
U-High’s defense yielded 88 yards and no points in the second half and in three series held EDW on downs twice and forced a punt which proved to be a winning formula. The Cardinals didn’t cross midfield in the final 24 minutes until there were 12 seconds left in the game where under pressure, they threw four straight incompletions.
Beachman, the team’s leader in tackles going into the final, topped U-High with 13 tackles and added a quarterback hurry. He finished the season with 156 tackles, the third best single-season total in school history.
“We saw this as a possibility,” Martin said of Beachman who played some as a freshman. “He exceeded what we thought could happen from him.”
Southern Lab’s Angelo Izzard Jr.
Much like his team did, Izzard didn’t leave much doubt who the best player on the field was in Southern Lab’s 38-14 victory over Ouachita Christian to win the Division IV state title – the first for the school in 25 years.
Izzard accounted for 403 yards of total offense and five touchdowns, helping the Kittens (11-2) extend a 12-7 halftime lead with an explosive second half performance.
“We didn’t want to make that thing close at all,” Southern Lab football coach Darrell Asberry said. “We wanted to make sure it was a convincing win.”
Izzard certainly did his part in carrying out his coach’s orders.
Izzard completed 21 of 31 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions. He proved equally adept on the ground against an opponent dropping numbers into coverage, he rushed 12 times for 63 yards and scored two of his three touchdowns on runs of 1 and 18 yards, respectively, in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
“To put up the numbers he did in a championship game, I thought it was A1,” Asberry said. “You couldn’t ask for a better night. He made a lot of right decisions with the football. It was really a phenomenal night for him.”