West Feliciana quarterback Joel Rogers (5) tries to find a receiver on Friday night in St Francisville.

Four-sport West Feliciana High School athlete Joel Rogers is a player willing to do whatever his team needs.

Rogers, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, projects as a college football safety with his 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash. He played safety and backup quarterback as a 160-pound freshman in 2020. Rogers took over as starting quarterback as a sophomore in 2021 and has improved in all phases this season.

West Feliciana (1-0) defeated East Feliciana 58-14 in its season opener. Rogers rushed for two touchdowns and 130 yards, and he passed for a touchdown to Jeremy Fowler.

Class 5A Central (1-0) travels to West Feliciana on Friday at 7 p.m. West Feliciana then plays eight straight weeks of games against District 6-4A foes. This is the first year the Saints have competed in Class 4A after many years in Class 3A.

"Joel Rogers has always been an athletic kid who worked hard in the weight room," said Hudson Fuller, the third-year coach at West Feliciana. "The past few months I've seen the most growth in his leadership abilities and understanding of the spread football system we run. He's a true dual-threat quarterback now.

"He's selfless and will do anything to help the team. He can anticipate things happening before they happen. He's an instinctive player within our system. He's a really driven kid who is process-centered."

Rogers also plays basketball, baseball and runs track. He averaged 12 points per game as a basketball forward, plays center field in baseball, and participates in relay sprints and the long jump in track and field. His top long jump in 2022 was 22 feet, 9 inches, and he placed sixth in the Class 3A state meet.

Rogers helped the football and baseball team advance to the quarterfinals last season. The Saints were 7-5 in football.

"I like playing multiple sports," Rogers said. "It keeps me in shape for football. Last year I had a lot of things to get used to in playing quarterback. I'm more at ease now. I want to be the leader between the coaches and the team.

"I like to encourage my teammates. The game has started to slow down for me. My main focus in on decision-making and getting the ball out quicker as a passer. Coach Fuller really wants us to focus on executing the next play and not looking at the scoreboard."

The West Feliciana defense also played well in the opener. Senior linebackers Delvin Whitaker and Jontre Cummings, senior defensive back Brandon Lee and junior lineman Ted Jackson are among the standouts.

East Feliciana was limited to just 37 offensive plays. The Saints blocked two punts and returned an interception for a touchdown.

"Our defense had some really great stops," Rogers said. "They kept getting the ball back to us. The offense concentrated on extending drives. Our team goal is to play our best in every game."

"All three phases played well," Fuller said. "We know Central will be a tough opponent. A game like this can only help us in district and in the playoffs."

Fuller has 80 players on the team this season, up from 58 in 2020.

"We really focused on player development this year," Fuller said. "We've got more players that can play at a high level now. We had more competition at all positions."