By Malcolm Butler
After a special season that saw Ruston return to the Superdome for the first time since 1998, the Bearcats recorded a clean sweep of the specialty awards on the 2022 all-Lincoln Parish Journal Football Team.
All three of our parish teams earned postseason appearances as Ruston (12-2, state runner-up), Cedar Creek (7-5, second round) and Lincoln Prep (3-8, first round) saw playoff action.
However, it was the Bearcats who made the deepest run, coming up just a win short of the state title.
Head coach Jerrod Baugh was named the parish’s Coach of the Year after leading Ruston to a 12-2 record, the program’s first district title in more than 30 years and its first state title game appearance in more than two decades.
Despite playing one of the – if not the – toughest schedule in the state, the Bearcats won 12 straight games before coming up short in a 17-10 loss to Destrehan in the Non-Select Division I title game.
A pair of Bearcats shared the Offensive Player of the Year award as quarterback Jaden Osborne and wide receiver Aaron Jackson combined to form a dangerous one-two punch through the air for the Bearcats.
Osborne completed 111 of 206 passes for 1,579 yards and 17 TDs while rushing for 385 yards and two more scores. The dual threat signal caller was one of the key components to the Bearcats success as his maturation process in the pocket proved key.
Jackson was Osborne’s favorite target. Despite a potent Bearcat rushing attack, Jackson caught 57 passes for 919 yards and 11 scores after returning to the Ruston roster after one season at Neville. Jackson’s ability to consistently get open deep kept opposing defenses honest and aided in the Cats rushing attack.
Mayfield was the centerpiece on a Ruston defense that was loaded with playmakers in 2022. The junior linebacker recorded 119 tackles, including 75 solo stops and 44 assisted tackles. He registered eight tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, 2 interceptions (1 for TD), 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries.
The 33-man all-Lincoln Parish Journal team included 18 Bearcats, 11 Cedar Creek Cougars and 4 Lincoln Prep Panthers.
2022 All-Lincoln Parish Journal Football Team
Co-Offensive MVP: Jaden Osborne (Ruston), Aaron Jackson (Ruston)
Defensive MVP: Jadon Mayfield (Ruston)
Coach of the Year: Jerrod Baugh (Ruston)
QB: Jaden Osborne, Ruston
RB: Dyson Fields, Ruston
RB: Lane Thomas, Cedar Creek
WR: Aaron Jackson, Ruston
WR: Brian Osborne, Cedar Creek
WR: Brandon Heard, Lincoln Prep
OL: Sam Nations, Ruston
OL: Nicholas Thompson, Cedar Creek
OL: Mason Skipper, Ruston
OL: Josh Colvin, Ruston
OL: Jake Smith, Cedar Creek
Flex: Caden Middleton, Cedar Creek
Flex: Jordan Hayes, Ruston
Flex: Bralyn Mayfield, Lincoln Prep
Flex: Ladd Thompson, Cedar Creek
DL: Christian Davis, Ruston
DL: Geordan Guidry, Ruston
DL: Ahmad Breaux, Ruston
DL: Lathan Elmore, Lincoln Prep
LB: Jadon Mayfield, Ruston
LB: Zheric Hill, Ruston
LB: Quincy Lewis, Cedar Creek
DB: Ray Owens, Ruston
DB: Nate Johnson, Ruston
DB: Austin Webb, Cedar Creek
DB: Chauncey Harper, Lincoln Prep
Flex: Jordan McWain, Ruston
Flex: Carter Hill, Cedar Creek
Flex: Kyran McConnell, Ruston
Flex: Lawson Lillo, Cedar Creek
PK: Davis Long, Cedar Creek
P: RJ Brown, Ruston
Returner: Jordan Hayes, Ruston
All-LPJ Specialty Awards Year-by-Year
Coach of the Year
2022: Jerrod Baugh (Ruston)
2021: Matt Middleton (Cedar Creek)
Offensive Player of the Year
2022: Jaden Osborne (Ruston), Aaron Jackson (Ruston)
2021: Dyson Fields (Ruston)
Defensive Player of the Year
2022: Jadon Mayfield (Ruston)
2021: Carson Riley (Cedar Creek)
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