2023 Louisiana Prep Football Preview: Ouachita Parish High School (Monroe)

Ouachita Parish Lions

By Lee Brecheen

Head Coach: Benji Lewis (1st year)

2022 Record: 6-6

District & Class: Class 5A (District 2)

2022 Playoffs: Defeated Hahnville 35-21 in 1st Round, Lost to Ruston 37-18 in 2nd Round of Division I (Non-Select) Playoffs

Ouachita Parish QB Zack Jackson / Photo provided by Zack Jackson/ Photo taken by Joshua McDaniel (Four Six 3)

Ouachita Parish High School will have some continuity with new head coach Benji Lewis as he was the defensive coordinator in 2022. The Lions have made the playoffs in back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, Ouachita beat West Monroe High School for the first time in 21 years and advanced to the Class 5A Quarterfinals where they lost to eventual state runner-ups Ponchatoula High School.

“We had a great scrimmage in Spring against Captain Shreve High School and the summer went well too,” Coach Lewis said. “There is still a lot of work to be done. We are starting to see the fruits of our labor now and I am excited to see the senior class who are mostly three-year starters as Coach (Todd) Garvin did a great job with this group early on.”

Ouachita OL Gavin Waters (photo courtesy of Gavin Waters)

The offense will return some players with big play ability in 2023 with players like third-year starting QB Zack Jackson (5-9, 170), converted RB Kylon Bell (5-11, 185, 4.5 speed) who was a DB in 2022, RB/WR C. J Spurs (5-8, 165, 4.5), WR Nick Nelson (5-9, 160, 4.5 or better speed), WR Wydell Clark (5-6, 155, 4.45 speed or better). There will be others who make up a great core of skill talent for this program.

The offensive line will be led by one of the top centers in the state three-year starter Gavin Waters (6-2, 280). The Lions will also return three-year starter TE Trey Bradford (6-7, 230) who has big-time upside.

Ouachita LB Kristian Doyle /Photo provided by Zack Jackson/Photo taken by Joshua McDaniel(Four Six 3)

The defense has some talented players back to build around in DE/OLB Jadron Rush (6-2, 210, 4.5 speed), CB Jabriel Sheppard (6-2, 180) who should have a big year this season and senior LB Kristian Doyle (5-10, 190) who led the team in tackles with 120 in 2022 and is a big- time leader of the team. DT A.J Washington (6-0, 315), DT Dylan Berymon (6-1, 275), second-year FS Orlando Freemont (5-9, 165), LB Jacobie Wilson with 80 tackles in 2022 and FS Korey Mack (5-11, 180) who is a big-time hitter.

The special teams return senior kicker Emilio Rios (5-11, 210) who has a stronger leg this season and has become one of the leaders on this team. There’s also Punter/Kicker Decatur McMurray who also has a strong leg and is getting better

every day.

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