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 first of eight Players of the Decade teams, here’s a look at Hahnville.
1. Anthony “Pooka” Williams RB 2015-2017
2. Adonis Friloux DE 2016-2019
3. Sergio Medina RB/LB 2009-2012
4. Dwain Thomas LB 2011-2014
5. Jerqwinick Sandolph 2009-2011
The top vote getter for Hahnville was running back Anthony “Pooka” Williams.
One of the most prolific runners in River Parish football history, Williams rushed for 3,118 yards and 37 touchdowns in leading the Tigers to the Class 5A state championship game against Zachary his senior year in 2017.
In five postseason games that year, Williams amassed slightly less than 1,400 yards of offense while scoring 14 touchdowns.
“In my 38 years of coaching, he is the absolute best player I have ever coached,” said Nick Saltaformaggio, Williams’ high school coach. “He really put Hahnville football back where it should have been – in the Superdome (playing for a state championship).”
“He never didn’t answer the bell,” Saltaformaggio said. “It didn’t matter who we were playing or where we were playing or when we were playing. He played hurt. He played sick. He played up to the level of anybody we had to play. There was never a game or an opponent that was too big for him.
“I will always remember how great he was as a player but also how great he was in our locker room. He was what you would want an all-around superstar to be like.”
Placing second was defensive lineman Adonis Friloux.
“He’s probably the most dominant defensive lineman I’ve seen play or had an opportunity to coach,” Saltaformaggio said of Friloux.
In his senior year in 2019, Friloux amassed an astounding 22 sacks and 27 tackles for losses. The 22 sacks broke the single-season record in the state, previously held by O. Perry Walker’s Anthony Johnson, who went on to play for LSU. Friloux finished the season with 71 solo tackles and 21 assists. He also forced four fumbles, recovered three fumbles, and had one pass break up.
“I had an opportunity to coach a kid named Brandon Mitchell. That is who Adonis reminds me of,” said Saltaformaggio. “I coached Brandon at Abbeville and he went on to be an All-American at Texas A&M and went on and won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots.
“That was in 1988. Here we are more than 30 years later it took to coach another guy to have that ability.”
The third place vote getter was Sergio Medina, who played both running back and linebacker for Hahnville.
A four-year letterman, Medina helped lead Hahnville to a 32-17 overall record and three trips to the Class 5A playoffs in his four years playing for the Tigers.
“He almost singlehandedly won the district championship for us. Then in the first round of the playoffs, we played an undefeated St. Paul’s, and we went to their house, where they rarely lose, and we put a whipping on them,” said Lou Valdin, Medina’s coach at Hahnville.
Medina, who rushed for 1,047 yards and 15 touchdowns his senior season while also recording 61 tackles with two sacks and an interception, was known for his speed on both sides of the ball, according to Valdin.
“He was just so quick. I remember we played Dutchtown and we had him on Eddie Lacy (the future Alabama Crimson Tide and NFL running back) because he was the only guy fast enough to cover him,” said Valdin. “When we moved him to tailback, he was phenomenal. He was just a combination of strength and speed.”
In fourth place was linebacker Dwaine Thomas. Thomas had 131 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception his senior season in 2014.
“His first couple of years, he really was without a of position,” longtime Hahnville assistant coach Mike Silva recalled of Thomas. “We played him at safety. We tried him at a couple of different positions but it wasn’t until the summer of his junior year that we moved him to linebacker.
“He got bigger. He got faster. He got stronger. Her really started to step up in the middle of his junior year and by the time he was a senior, he was a tough player to run the ball or throw the ball on.”
Rounding out the top five was defensive back Jerqwinick Sandolph. Sandolph, who concluded his Hahnville career in 2011.
“Next to LaRon Landry (the former LSU and NFL defender), he (Sandolph) was the best defensive back I’ve ever coached,” said Valdin. “He was very, very intelligent. He could play the run and the pass equally well. We walked him up in the box to play the run and we kept him back to play the pass.
“When he was a cornerback he covered (East St. John’s) D’haquille Williams, who might be the best high school football player I’ve ever seen, and D’haquille had one catch.”
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