Non-Select Division I State Championship Preview: Ruston vs. Zachary

by Hunter Bower // Owner

No. 1 Ruston (13-0) vs. No. 6 Zachary (12-1)

Saturday, Dec. 9 | 7 p.m. | Caesars Superdome | New Orleans, LA
Tickets | Watch – NFHS Network ($)

Distance To New Orleans: Ruston (313 miles), Zachary (96.2 miles)

No. 1 Ruston Bearcats (13-0)

Head Coach: Jerrod Baugh (7th year at school, 66-21)

State Finals History: 8 state titles – 1990 (4A), 1988 (4A), 1986 (4A), 1982 (4A), 1951 (1A), 1947 (1A), 1941 (1A), 1925; 4 runner-up finishes – 2022 (NS DI), 1998 (5A), 1984 (4A), 1944 (1A),

Road To The Dome:

  • Regional: Beat No. 16 Westgate, 20-18
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 9 Walker, 56-17
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 21 Mandeville, 28-7

The Skinny:

Get ready for an epic showdown as the No. 1-seed Ruston Bearcats storm into the LHSAA Prep Classic for the second consecutive season, determined to rewrite their fate after a 24-year hiatus from the pinnacle event. Last year’s heartbreak against Destrehan in the Non-Select Division I state championship is still fresh in their minds, and the Bearcats are hungry for redemption.

Ruston, with a storied history boasting nine state football titles, is on a quest for glory not witnessed since 1990. The Bearcats faced adversity early in the season with a setback, but that only fueled their fire. Since then, they’ve been on an unstoppable streak, securing 12 consecutive victories, including impressive triumphs over formidable opponents like Lafayette Christian, Neville, and West Monroe.

The driving force behind Ruston’s success lies in the exceptional talent of key players who have left an indelible mark on the field. Running back Jordan Hayes, known for his agility and speed (5-8, 166), tight end Zhy Scott, a formidable presence at 6-2, 191 pounds, and linebackers Jadon Mayfield (6-0, 220) and Zheric Hill (6-1, 220) bring strength and strategy to the team. Defensive lineman Geordan Guidry (6-2, 235) ensures the Bearcats dominate the line of scrimmage, while cornerback Aidan Anding (6-0, 155) showcases skill and precision in the secondary.

With a powerhouse lineup and a burning desire for redemption, the Ruston Bearcats are poised to reclaim their spot at the top and etch their names in the annals of Louisiana high school football history. Don’t miss the action as they strive to add another chapter to their illustrious legacy at the state championship!

Averages: Scoring 34.2 points per game, allowing 15.2 points per game

Signature wins: Lafayette Christian (Sept. 22); Neville (Sept. 22); Alexandria (Oct. 6); West Monroe (Nov. 3)

No. 6 Zachary Broncos (12-1)

Head Coach: David Brewerton (10th year at school, 115-20)

State Finals History: 4 state titles – 2021 (5A), 2018 (5A), 2017 (5A), 2015 (5A); 1 runner-up finish – 1957 (B)

Road To The Dome:

  • Bi-District: Beat No. 27 Barbe, 51-14
  • Regional: Beat No. 11 Salmen, 49-28
  • Quarterfinals: Beat No. 3 Destrehan, 35-14
  • Semi-Finals: Beat No. 7 Dutchtown, 31-28 (OT)

The Skinny:

In a remarkable journey filled with challenges and triumphs, the Zachary Broncos are set to storm into the Big Easy once again for the LHSAA Prep Classic, fueled by an unyielding determination to claim the coveted state championship. Overcoming adversities that dotted their path throughout the regular season and playoffs, the Broncos clinched a hard-fought 31-28 overtime victory against Dutchtown in the semifinals, earning their ticket to this year’s title clash.

This championship encounter holds special significance for Zachary as they seek redemption against Ruston, the team that dashed their hopes in the 2022 semifinals. Eager to erase the memory of that defeat, the Broncos are prepared to face off against a resilient Ruston squad in a bid to hoist the state crown.

Zachary, a powerhouse in Louisiana high school football, eyes its first state title in two years after a remarkable run that saw it clinch three championships from 2017 to 2021. Under the seasoned guidance of head coach David Brewerton, a veteran of state championship battles, the Broncos are well-versed in the pursuit of glory. Brewerton’s coaching prowess has steered Zachary to four state title appearances, and his experience extends to leading Livonia to the Superdome in 2013, as well as contributing to two state championships as an assistant at Redemptorist.

Fueling Zachary’s offensive firepower is LSU commit Trey’Dez Green, a social media sensation with his awe-inspiring catches that captivate fans each week. Complementing this aerial threat is the dynamic running back Kameron Thomas, providing a robust ground game. On the defensive front, linebacker Ethan Veal’s leadership has been instrumental in holding opponents to a mere 16 points per game.

As the Broncos prepare to take the field, the stage is set for a showdown that promises both redemption and the pursuit of gridiron glory, epitomizing the resilience and skill that defines Zachary’s championship-caliber football program.

Averages: Scoring 41.1 points per game, allowing 16.2 points per game

Signature wins: West Monroe (Sept. 29); Central-BR (Oct. 20); Destrehan (Nov. 24); Dutchtown (Dec. 1)