Eight of the elite Class of 2021 high school football scholar-athletes in north Louisiana were spotlighted Tuesday night in Shreveport, including Cedar Creek School’s Trace Barnett.
Also honored was former Ruston High quarterback and graduate Bo Meeks, the head coach at Airline High in Bossier City.
The setting was the pandemic-delayed National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame S.M. McNaughton Chapter Scholar-Awards dinner at East Ridge Country Club.
A crowd of more than 200 attended the event, typically held at the end of winter. Because of the pandemic, it had not been held since 2019. The McNaughton Chapter board of directors, led by president Leo Sanford (the Louisiana Tech football legend who is in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame) and including former Cedar Creek football star Tag Rome (a ULM great) and former Tech footballer Terry Slack, chose to honor the Class of 2021 scholar-athletes and the 2019 coach of the year selections, along with West Monroe coach Jerry Arledge (a Tech graduate) as its winner of the “Contributions to Amateur Football” award for 2020.
The event was rescheduled after the end of the school year. Barnett and his family were unable to attend because of a previously scheduled family vacation.
Four of the eight recent high school graduates honored were in attendance: West Monroe quarterback Lane Little, Winnfield linebacker Micah Griffin, Shreveport-Byrd safety Brayden Hermes and Natchitoches-St. Mary’s tight end Patrick Vienne.
Along with Barnett, the winners unable to attend were Haughton linebacker Jake St. Andre, Captain Shreve kicker Alexander Auer and Oak Grove offensive lineman William Klink.
Hermes and Klink will attend Louisiana Tech, but do not plan to compete collegiately.
Rome and former Bulldogs offensive lineman Jerry Byrd Jr. were the masters of ceremony while recent Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Tim Brando of Fox Sports presented the eight scholar-athletes and interviewed the four attending.
Barnett will use his scholarship award while enrolling at Mississippi State. He graduated from Cedar Creek with a 3.94 GPA and scored a remarkable 34, two points shy of a perfect mark, on the ACT.
An all-district lineman and a three-year starter for coach Shannon Brown’s Cougars, he was team co-captain. Barnett earned composite Academic All-State honors. He made the Louisiana Football Magazine second-team All-North Louisiana roster for 2020.
He was also state powerlifting champion in his weight class, and team captain, for Creek’s state champion team this spring He helped the Cougars finish as state runner-up in 2019. A National Honor Society member, Barnett also took part in the school’s Ping Pong Club, was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the French Club, and was active in community service.
The NFF was established in 1947 with the mission to promote the power of amateur football to develop leadership, sportsmanship, competitive zeal and the drive for academic excellence. The McNaughton Chapter began awarding scholarships in 1980 and has provided over $75,000 to top performers in north Louisiana, receiving several dozen nominees annually before narrowing the field to the final recipients.