Unfinished Business-Bolden looks to led Rebels to state title
For the first time in the Jerry Arledge era, the West Monroe Rebels returned to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s (LHSAA) Class 5A State Championship Game in the Mercedes Benz Superdome where the Rebels fell just short of their ultimate goal (a state football championship) in their 50-21 loss to the Landry-Walker Charging Broncos of their ultimate prize.
Turn the page to 2017, where the West Monroe Rebels return one of the Louisiana’s most electric and versatile players in senior quarterback Slade Bolden (5’11”, 192 pounds) to lead a new group of Rebels back to what many on the west side of the Ouachita River consider their favorite December destination – the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
In 2016, the Rebels worked together and achieved perfection until the final game. With last year’s bitter taste of unfulfilled goals still fresh in their mouths, Bolden and the 2017 West Monroe Rebels are hungry to complete the job and bring back the Class 5A state title to North Louisiana this season.
“To get there (the Class 5A state championship game), you have to play together,” Bolden said. “You have to play humble and play for each other. We have been there (the Superdome) and now we want to win it!”
In 2016, Bolden’s athleticism was on display as Bolden played running back, wide receiver, kick returner and defensive back.
With three seasons of Rebel varsity play experience, Bolden will be counted on to be solid leader on offense for the younger guys as they get ready for the bright lights of Friday Night Football at West Monroe’s Don Shows Field at Rebel Stadium.
“You are going to have jitters,” Bolden said. “You just have to go out there and play your game. If you make a mistake, move past it and play our game.”
In the Rebels backfield, Bolden ran for 1,370 yards and 25 touchdowns and passed for 906 yards and 9 touchdowns without an interception in split duty with quarterback Robert Scott Foust, who graduated this past May.
At wide receiver in 2016, Bolden was second on the team in receiving yardage with 15 catches for 248 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns.
Even though Bolden will start at quarterback for West Monroe, the Rebels could line up Bolden at receiver and / or running back with sophomore quarterback Garrett Kahmann (6’2”, 170 pounds) under center to distribute the ball which will no doubt give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares trying field a game plan to counter.
When at quarterback, Bolden will have plenty of weapons at the skill positions in senior wide receiver Jarius Henry (5’8”, 140 pounds), senior wide receiver Ethan Snowden (5’10”, 158 pounds), junior running back Cameron Wright (5’7”, 157 pounds) and senior wide receiver Chris Toms (6’3”, 158 pounds).
On the West Monroe offensive line, the Rebels return 2016 All-District 2-5A honorees in senior Jacob Ingram (6’3”, 275 pounds) and Hunter Robinson (6’2”, 243 pounds). Joining Robinson and Ingram in the trenches of the offensive line will be senior Austin Breen (5’11”, 261 pounds), senior Logan Green (6’2”, 240 pounds) and senior Ryan Johnson (5’10”, 212 pounds).
On the defensive front, head coach Jerry Arledge, who is a defensive guru and has been the architect of some great defenses at West Monroe over the past quarter of a century, will need to bring a new unit together to face the challenges of the 2017 schedule.
West Monroe must replace three All-District defensive linemen in Deangelo Patrick, Dennis Collins and Mylan Ard who graduated last May.
West Monroe returns senior linebacker John Bailey Gullatt (6’0”, 225 pounds), who will be counted on to led the Rebel linebacker core.
Junior defensive back Carson Jones (5’9”, 166 pounds) returns to the lead the Rebel’s secondary unit.
West Monroe returns All-District 2-5A punter Chris Toms (6’3”, 158 pounds).
West Monroe will open its 2017 regular season with a home game against the John Ehret Patriots on Friday, September 1.
In week 2, West Monroe will take its show on the road as the “Rebel Yell” invades the “Big Stage” at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium where West Monroe will take on the Booker T. Washington Hornets (8 time Oklahoma Football State Champions)from Tulsa, Oklahoma in the 2017 Landers’ Battle on the Border” Prep Football Showcase on Friday, September 8.
Weeks three and four will see the Class 3A playoff qualifier Wossman Wildcats come to Don Shows’ Field at Rebel Stadium on Friday, September 15 while the 2016 Mississippi High School Athletic Association Class 4A semifinalist – Noxubee County, MS Tigers come to town on Friday, September 22.
All eyes will be on Neville’s Bill Ruple Stadium on Friday, September 29 as the Neville Tigers will host the West Monroe Rebels in a renewal of their regular season rivalry on Forsythe Avenue for the first time since 2010.
One week after facing Neville, West Monroe will open its District 2-5A schedule at home against the Ruston Bearcats on Friday, October 5.
On Friday, October 13, West Monroe will celebrate its 2017 Homecoming when Alexandria Senior High (ASH) Trojans come to Don Shows Field at Rebels’ Stadium. ASH features an explosive offense which returns most of its skill positions including one of the state’s top receiver prospects in senior Jorien Vallien (6’2”, 184 pounds).
West Monroe will play its only District 2-5A road contest on Friday, October 20 when West Monroe travels down US Highway 165 South to face the Pineville Rebels and their new head coach in Dennis Dunn (Former head coach at Louisiana College and Evangel Christian Academey) at D.C. Bill Bates Stadium.
On Friday, October 27, the Ouachita Parish Lions will come to West Monroe for “Parish Braggin’ Rights” and a key District 2-5A showdown.
The Rebels will close out its regular and District 2-5A schedules on Friday, November 3 when West Monroe hosts the Natchitoches Central Chiefs.
WEST MONROE REBELS SIDE BAR
West Monroe Head Coach: Jerry Arledge (5th Season, Overall Record: 43-9-1, District Record: 20-0)
West Monroe Assistant Coaches: Robert Arledge, Mickey Easterling, Todd Garvin, John Green, Keldrick King, Joseph Adams, Cryan Chrislip, Joe Breen, Whit Whitlock, William Hunt, Trey Long, Tony Osborne, Keith Peveto, John Sanders, Matthew Walker, Ronald McBeth, Wade Simoneaux, Brian Carter, Jeremy Many, Donald McNeal and Kenny King.
West Monroe High School’s Home Football Stadium: Don Shows Field at Rebel Stadium (Artificial Turf)
West Monroe Rebels Varsity Football Games will be broadcasted on KLIP – LA 105.3 FM
West Monroe’s’ Past Five Seasons:
2016 Overall Record: 12-2-1 District Record: 5-0 (District 2-5A Champions, Class 5A State Runner-Up)
2015Overall Record: 11-1 District Record: 5-0 (District 2-5A Champions, Regional Playoff Qualifier)
2014 Overall Record: 11-3 District Record: 5-0 (District 2-5A Champions, Semifinal Playoff Qualifier)
2013 Overall Record: 9-3 District Record: 5-0 (District 2-5A Champions, Regional Playoff Qualifier)
2012 Overall Record: 11-3 District Record: 4-0 (District 2-5A Champions, Semifinal Playoff Qualifier)
State Championship Season(s): 8 – 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2011
State Runner-Up Season(s): 7 – 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2016
State Semifinalist Season(s): 18 – 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
State Quarterfinalist Season(s): 18 – 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
State Playoff Seasons: (28 playoff appearances / 1972, 1978, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)