Pope John Paul II High School QB George Arata Wants To Have Roaring Finish To His High School Career By Reviving Struggling Football Program
by Jace LeJeune
As a four year starter, Pope John Paul II High School senior QB George Arata has been through some of the tough times enduring coaching changes each and every season while only winning five games during that time frame, but he still has a positive mindset and loves with what he has seen from new head coach Phillip Pigott.
“I’ve had a different head coach every year in high school,” Arata said. “It is pretty difficult going through it, especially at quarterback because you learn a new offense every year, but this year, I really like Coach Pigott. He is bringing in a lot of good stuff, and I can already tell that the program is improving. He has been around a lot of elite level programs playing at LSU, coaching at the collegiate level, and coaching 6A football in Mississippi. He knows what it takes to win at the big schools and is trying to incorporate that here at Pope John Paul. A lot of my friends left football because they thought it was a drag because we weren’t winning, but from the very start, Coach Pigott said he believes that we can go all the way to the state championship and that he has total faith in us.”
In order for the Jaguars to get where they want to go, it all starts with number 9. For the last four years, Arata has been through it all. At the beginning of his career, Arata started out at another position, but eventually, his athleticism gave him opportunities to be under center.
“Sophomore year on, I played pretty much just quarterback, but my freshman year, I started out playing cornerback,” Arata said. “Playing cornerback helped me in playing quarterback because it allowed me to understand coverages and where the ball was going to be thrown most of the time. I was able to read Cover 3 or Cover 4 based on how the defenses would align.”
Having that background obviously helped Arata in his development as a quarterback the last three years, but also, experience has helped him as well.
“I started to gain a little more confidence as well,” Arata said. “I lacked a lot of self confidence going into the job, and I didn’t understand of how to deal with the pressure because I was 14 at the time. I am still only 17 now, but there is a big difference from now compared to when I was only 14.”
As the years have gone by, Arata is so confident now that he has been selling his teammates that a big year was in store this season. After throwing for over 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2020, Arata still feels that he is scratching the surface. Now, with his athleticism, the athletic Pope John Paul quarterback will be playing more of a Taysom Hill role and line up at many positions this season to give defenses different looks.
“This year, I am not going to be a quarterback so much, but I am going to be more of an athlete position,” Arata said. “I am going to play safety as well as some running back and receiver.”
Arata’s athleticism and ability to throw the football has drawn the attention of some colleges. After in what Arata expects to be his best season to date, he will be trying to continue his playing career at the next level.
“There are a lot of D2 and D3 schools looking at me,” Arata said. “A particular school in South Carolina is also pretty interested as well and that is Wofford College. A lot of schools are recruiting me as a quarterback. I went to Wofford’s camp and performed pretty well there so that is what helped me get attention there.”
What has also helped Arata gain attention as a football player is what he can do as a fútbol player.
“Last year, we did go and win the soccer state championship,” Arata said. “Winning a state championship changes a lot of the culture and a lot of fans came to the state championship game to cheer us on so hopefully, winning and changing the culture in soccer can carry on to the football program too.”
Well, Arata and the rest of the Jaguars will get the chance to turn the program around this week to open the season against Pearl River. After missing last week because of Hurricane Ida, the 6-1, 185 pound senior is hoping for a big jumpstart to the season on Friday.
“It’s going to be a really good game, and I think they are going to be surprised with the talent that we have, and I am sure they are not looking at us as a big opponent on the schedule, but I really want to prove that they should not underestimate us,” Arata said.
Although he is getting some interest, Arata wants to prove that his play does stand out and that he can play college football.
“What separates me from everybody else are my grades,” Arata said. “I am a pretty smart kid and I am a good athlete. I want to show them that I am a winner both on and off the field. Also, no matter where I line up on the field, I can help the team win.”
George Arata is the perfect representation to lead the Jaguars this fall because just like his team, he is willing to make you pay the price for underestimating him.
Click the link to check out George Arata’s junior highlights:
We have exciting news that for the 25th year, we will release our Louisiana Football Magazine preview editions. Also, for the fifth straight year, we will have our North and South LA issues and both are now available to pre-order! Both issues will continue to cover all the Louisiana colleges as well as all the high schools in state, but there will be eight pages that will focus on North Louisiana as well as South Louisiana. Along with our print editions of both magazine issues, our digital magazine editions will also be available to pre-order. Just like with our print versions, our digital editions will be available to you when both magazines are available.
For more information, please check the following link to where you can either order our print or digital version of the magazine of your choice. Also, below are the two covers as well as where you can order both magazines on our website.
Buy Print/Digital Magazine Here: https://www.lafootballmagazine.com/2021-magazines/
North Cover South Cover
Jace is from Addis, LA but resides in Port Allen, LA. Jace has graduated recently from Southeastern Louisiana University with a major in Communications. Jace has also broadcasted games as a play by play announcer for Southeastern’s football and basketball games on ESPN Plus. Also, Jace has anchored and reported on Southeastern’s award winning show “The Big Game.” This is Jace’s fifth year as Associate Editor at Louisiana Football Magazine. He is also a graduate from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge where he was the editor of the school newspaper the “Bearly Published.” While at CHS, Jace also announced their football, basketball, and baseball games for the Bruin Broadcast Network which is the Catholic High’s streaming website for their events. On weekends, Jace is the PA announcer for his middle school football games. At home, Jace enjoys time with his family and friends. Besides being a huge football fan, Jace is also an avid NHRA drag racing fan.