WARRICK DUNN FINALIST: Michael Cerniauskas - Catholic DB

Catholic defensive back Michael Cerniauskas (26)
Catholic defensive back Michael Cerniauskas (26)(WAFB)
Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 11:46 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There are questions if 2020 was the year of the defensive back.

The fifth of six finalists for the Warrick Dunn Award announced so far have played significant time at defensive back.

But the first to win a state title is Michael Cerniauskas of Catholic High. The converted quarterback was a three-year starter for the Bears and the quarterback of their defense.

He was selected first team all-state in Class 5A as a senior and willed Catholic High to its third Division I state title the last six years. And even though he missed some time due to injury, he still managed to be a leader not just calling out coverages but leading by example when he sat out the Edna Karr game.

“My mom and dad come to every game and Michael didn’t play,” said former head coach Gabe Fertitta. “He was in his jersey on the sidelines and after the game, she said, ‘Who is number 26? I couldn’t watch the game because I was so enthralled with watching him coach and encourage and be around his teammates on the sideline the entire game.’ She said, ‘It was so unbelievable to watch this.’”

There are three more finalists to reveal Thursday and Friday. You can watch in-depth coverage of all nine Saturday in prime time before we name the Sportsline Player of the Year.

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