I’m a lot like my parents and I’m good with that

As the commercials say: Progressive Insurance — even Dr. Rick — can’t save us from becoming our parents.

I used to chuckle at my parents — my father, specifically, when he would babble about the old times, how Father Time has bulldozed so many cool things and awesome people and the good today didn’t compare to the good of yesterday.

The discussions about his generation vs. mine were exacerbated due to the fact he was 46 years my senior. Four decades later, I’m that guy. And dang it, I’m OK with that.

Lately, my perspective is altered and my awareness of the ticking clock heightened. It came to a head this weekend.

In December, I witnessed the final days of Dania Jai Alai, my place of employment and fun for years in South Florida. Jai alai is a glorious pari-mutuel sport (you can bet on it) insanely popular before lotteries came along.

Jai alai’s time had come and gone. It was sad to see it end.

On a trip to Miami last week, the blossoming star I caddie for — LSU and Byrd product Philip Barbaree — played Korn Ferry qualifying events at two courses — Weston Hills and International Golf Links of Miami (aka, Melreese) — that hosted many of my biggest competitions from years ago.

I took my first golf lesson at Melreese four decades ago and wondered if the pro, Charlie DeLucca, was still around. As we arrived at the course, a giant banner read: “Charlie DeLucca Memorial Golf Tournament.”

Apparently not.

Even the golf course I adored hadn’t survived. Well, not the course I knew. Melreese has been renovated, given a new name and is on life support as a group led by David Beckham plans to dig it up and build a soccer stadium.

I recalled plenty of other memories, people and landmarks during tournament week. I’m sure Philip tuned out at some point. I can’t blame him. I used to.

I don’t necessarily believe the new days aren’t as good as the old, but I sure do miss certain things, certain feelings.

My recent emotional journey tormented me the most on the day of my return to Shreveport, when I took the first flight home Thursday to ensure I’d be in attendance for Calvary soccer’s Senior Night.

I married in 2019 and was incredibly lucky to have three special people enter my life — my wife, Christi, and children Raelee and Colton.

This is Raelee’s senior year at Calvary. I’ve watched her play varsity soccer since she was in eighth grade. She’s not exactly Renaldo, but has scored multiple goals (and they cost me money) every season. However, this year has been a challenge. She’s still 4-foot-nothing and playing time has decreased — a credit to the improvement made by Calvary under head coach Adam Hester.

Raelee probably wanted more out of her senior year, at least ONE goal, but Thursday offered an opportunity to exit in style.

One thing was clear from the start: The Cavaliers had a mission to get Raelee that elusive tally. Between Raelee’s soccer and Colton’s hockey/soccer, I’ve watched hundreds of games with the same wishes: health, victories and some dang goals.

Goal scoring defines those sports. It offers validation for young athletes even though goals don’t always accurately represent personal performance.

I’d like to say I spent 80 minutes on the edge of my seat Thursday, but it’s more complicated. As the game progressed, the nerves intensified. Raelee took shot after shot with the help of her unselfish teammates. A save, a ball wide, a slight shank — the ball did everything but touch the twine. When she crashed the net, the ball would deflect the opposite direction.

Again, all I could think about was my father, who walked every fairway of every tournament I played. In this moment, I finally realized how much he lived and died with every golf shot. He wanted the glorious moment to emerge; not for him, but for me.

I did not understand until Thursday. Yes, we want to walk with our chest out with a that’s-my-kid grin. It’s fun, but the look on their faces when in those moments are unmatched.

Raelee needed this. There was no way the man above wouldn’t let it happen to the sweetest human on earth.

Well, Raelee only had an assist to her credit when the clock ran out on Calvary’s 7-0 victory despite her best (by far) effort of the season. I was crushed.

I thought she’d be a wreck. Nope. She came off that field with a smile and made sure we were still going to eat quesadillas.

I could again hear my father: “Not everyone walks off the field a hero.”

If all enjoyed a Hollywood ending, such things wouldn’t be so special.

My parents are gone, and it sucks. But like the trip down memory lane in Miami, the memories and life lessons are vibrant and will be passed on.

Raelee’s time is coming.

Photo by KIM JOHNSON


Matlock makes his case for improving LHSAA soccer

The high school soccer playoff pairings were announced Sunday, signaling the start of the march to the state championship for teams across the state.

Mark Matlock has coached high school soccer for 18 years at four different local schools (currently the head boys and girls coach at Loyola). So he’s seen how the sport has – and hasn’t developed – through the years at the prep level in Louisiana.

Not surprisingly, he’s got some things he’d like to see changed about high school soccer. He explains:

1. 
The LHSAA currently has very rigid rules in regards to concurrent participation on your high school team and your club team. There are a few specific exceptions to attend a showcase tournament or to participate in ODP (Olympic Development Program), but this limits your ability to train with your club team on a weekday.  High school soccer is one of the few sports where players rarely get recruited through high school play.  These rules limit the exposure of players that are looking to continue playing after high school.  The majority of state associations do not prohibit concurrent play and leave that to the coaches/parents to manage.  If a player is participating on an ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) team they cannot join their high school team until all league games have been completed (roughly half way through the season).  We should be trying to maximize the exposure of these players, not limit it.  At Loyola, we had one player who could not play with us until the middle of December.

2.  Do away with set districts.
While I know that a district championship is a great accomplishment, it forces teams to play each other that should not play.  If you look at the score lines throughout the season, you will see a common theme of a large number of 8-0 mercy rule games.  Most of these are due to district matchups where neither team benefits from playing.  New programs that are trying to build a soccer team for the first time should not be forced to play a top five team in the state (sometimes twice).  The way districts are organized, there can often be extended travel to ultimately play 40 minutes.  Currently the district champions earn a playoff berth.  Power rankings determine the seeding in the playoffs.  It is my opinion that we should use power rankings to determine all playoff teams.  If I coach a top team in the state, I should be able to schedule the teams that are an appropriate competition level for my team.  If I have a new team, I should be able to schedule teams that we are competitive with in order to not discourage participation by constantly being beat down by teams we are forced to play. 

3.  Need to fix flaws within the power ranking system.  Currently there is no strength of schedule factor when determining power ranking. 

How power ranking is determined: 

Win – 5 points plus 100 percent of opponents wins

Tie – 2.5 points plus 75 percent of opponents wins

Loss – No points plus 50 percent of opponents wins

The system does not know the difference between teams that win 15 games against very weak competition or a top 5 team that has a .500 record against top competition.  You also should not be able to get more points for losing a game than a team does for winning a game.  For example – Team A has 20 wins, Team B has 0 wins.  Team A wins the game and gets 5 points for the win based on the formula.  Team B loses the game and gets 50 percent of opponents wins (10 points) for the loss.  Eliminating district play would probably fix the majority of these cases as well. 

4.  Finals Locations.Another one on my mind is the location of the finals being primarily in South Louisiana.  It is a two-year bid to host but in our six finals appearances, three have been in New Orleans, two have been in Hammond, and one was in Lafayette.  Guess which one we won? Well, we didn’t have five-plus hours of travel while the other team typically slept in their own beds the night before.

Mr. Matlock rests his case.

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL


Gators down Cowboys in fight for District 1-5A lead

By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports

“We are just happy to be in the position to fight for a share of first place” was the sentiment of Southwood coach Brandon Gultery before the Cowboys district battle with Shreve at the Swamp.

With the Cowboys coming in riding a 6-game winning streak (all district wins), coach Gultery and his team were in a different frame of mind from the first game with the Gators.

Unfortunately, the Cowboys had the same result. Shreve held the Cowboys to a two-point third quarter and 11 points in the second half as they won 39-22 before a packed house.

Shreve coach Corey Deans was elated by the Gators defensive performance as they held the Cowboys to seven made field goals in the contest.

“We did not miss an assignment tonight,” said Deans. We did not double team anyone and we hung our hat on our defense tonight. Offense will come and go. But I could not ask any more of them than they gave.”

The senior duo of Davieon Coleman and Kyron Reed each scored 10 points as they led Shreve to the victory. Sophomore Jeremiah Evans led the Cowboys in scoring with 11 (most of those coming in the fourth quarter).

With the win, Shreve takes over first place as Natchitoches Central falls to Airline. Southwood now has two losses in the district (both to the Gators) and are tied for second in this tight 1-5A race.

SOUTHWOOD 65 – CAPTAIN SHREE 45: The Lady Cowboys were rude visitors to the Swamp on senior night as they defeated the Lady Gators by 20. Jermesha Frierson paced the Lady Cowboys with 27 (15 in the third quarter). She got some help in the post with Allina Milton scoring 10 points. Her three buckets in a row sparked the third quarter run by Southwood. The Lady Pokes improved to 7-3 in district with the win. Carley Hamilton, the Lady Gators freshman point guard, scored 15 in the loss.

Other Friday results

The Airline Vikings avenge their one point loss at home earlier this season to Natchitoches Central by defeating the Chiefs 56-54. Airline did not pull this off without drama as the Vikings found a way to force overtime being down eight points with 30 ticks left on the clock in regulation. The Vikings finished the overtime contest with four players in double figures led by Antonio “AJ” Coleman and his 13 points.

The Woodlawn Knights came back from an early 20 point deficit to defeat 1-4A district leaders Huntington 58-57.

Benton senior Jalen Taylor poured in 22 as Benton pulled off the road win at Parkway.

Bossier, Haughton, and Green Oaks were also winners in their respective district games on Friday night.

Photo by Preston Edwards


High School Basketball Standings

 

Boys   Basketball
DISTRICT 1-5A Dist. All
Captain Shreve (12) 7-1 18-5
Natchitoches (8) 6-2 16-5
Southwood (21) 6-2 13-13
Airline (20) 5-3 11-8
Benton (39) 3-5 10-18
Byrd (Div. 1 – 9) 3-5 11-10
Haughton (37) 2-6 14-10
Parkway (48) 0-8 5-15
     
DISTRICT 1-4A Dist. All
Huntington (6) 6-1 14-5
BTW (16) 5-2 17-7
Evangel (Div. II – 6) 5-2 16-6
Woodlawn (10) 4-2 18-8
Northwood (30) 3-4 13-12
Minden (42) 1-5 4-20
North DeSoto (46) 0-6 3-15
     
DISTRICT 1-3A Dist. All
Bossier (2) 4-0 19-6
Mansfield (16) 2-0 9-6
Green Oaks (30) 2-2 9-13
Loyola (Div. II – 15) 2-3 10-14
North Webster (45) 0-5 7-17
     
DISTRICT 1-2A Dist. All
North Caddo (28) 2-0 9-13
J-Hodge (7) 1-1 10-5
D’Arbonne   Woods (31) 0-1 8-10
Lakeside (52) 0-1 0-17
     
District   1-1A Dist. All
Calvary   (Div IV – 2) 4-0 14-7
Lincoln   Prep (4) 3-1 18-8
Ringgold   (12) 3-1 11-13
Homer   (14) 2-2 4-9
Arcadia   (10) 1-1 6-13
Glenbrook   (Div IV – 23) 1-3 5-9
Haynesville   (30) 1-3 1-13
Plain   Dealing (28) 0-3 1-16
Magnolia   (20) 0-0 1-13
Magnolia   has cancelled rest of season

 

Girls   Basketball
DISTRICT 1-5A Dist. All
Parkway (2) 9-0 24-2
Southwood (13) 7-3 19-8
Airline (15) 6-4 20-10
Benton (10) 5-5 17-9
Haughton (20) 4-6 14-10
Natchitoches (26) 4-6 12-12
Captain Shreve (25) 4-6 12-13
Byrd (Div. I – 8) 0-10 11-12
     
DISTRICT 1-4A Dist. All
Huntington (8) 8-0 13-6
BTW (16) 7-1 19-10
Northwood (20) 5-4 15-13
Minden (33) 4-4 9-14
Woodlawn (25) 3-5 12-13
North DeSoto (40) 1-6 7-16
Evangel (Div II – 22) 0-7 0-13
     
DISTRICT 1-3A Dist. All
Mansfield (5) 4-0 16-5
Loyola (Div. II – 12) 4-1 12-10
Bossier (28) 2-2 5-13
North Webster (48) 0-3 3-13
Green Oaks (50) 0-4 2-19
     
DISTRICT 1-2A Dist. All
North Caddo (36) 1-1 8-11
Jonesboro-Hodge (20) 1-0 7-12
D’Arbonne   Woods (46) 0-1 1-11
Lakeside (48) 0-0 2-12
     
District   1-1A Dist. All
Arcadia   (8) 3-0 13-9
Homer   (5) 4-1 11-8
Plain   Dealing (13) 2-1 10-13
Haynesville   (16) 1-1 7-14
Glenbrook   (Div IV – 10) 1-2 7-8
Lincoln   Prep (20) 1-2 3-15
Calvary   (Div. IV – 20) 1-3 6-9
Ringgold   (28) 0-3 2-20

 


Bugs Beat: Stunning trade precedes Shreveport sweep of rival Brahmas

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Things weren’t exactly smooth – on or off the ice — for the Shreveport Mudbugs, but a tumultuous weekend produced exactly what was needed — a sweep of rival Lone Star, the second-place team in the North American Hockey League’s South Division.

“We did what we had to do this weekend,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said.

“That’s the main thing. We’re in a better spot now than we were two weeks ago.”

Lone Star outshot Shreveport in both games, totaling a 53-24 advantage. However, the Mudbugs escaped 3-2 in overtime on Friday and rode goaltender Devon Bobak to a 2-0 victory on Saturday.

“They aren’t perfect, but they don’t stop,” Campbell said of his squad. “Whether they get scored on or make a mistake, they just keep pushing and pushing and pushing. They don’t quit. That gives them an opportunity to win no matter how they play, no matter how much we possess the puck, no matter how many shots we get or how many shots we give up.”

Bobak’s 26-save performance on Saturday marked his NAHL-leading fifth shutout of the season.

The weekend began with a trade that shocked many. With just a couple of months left in the season, Shreveport sent forward Billy Feczko, who has played the second-most games for the Mudbugs during their NAHL tenure, to New Jersey.

“I hope it works out for both parties; I want Billy to do well,” Campbell said. “He’s done some big-time things for us on the ice and we’ve had some really great conversations and bonding off the ice.”

Since 2018, Feczko tallied 29 goals and 66 points in 148 career games in teal and purple (only Gueorgui Feduolov has played more; 159 from 2016-2019).

“This is a situation where we think this can help him personally,” Campbell said. “But we wouldn’t make the trade if we didn’t think it could help us. There is no bad blood. We weren’t upset with Billy and, to my knowledge, Billy wasn’t upset with us.”

Although the Mudbugs have collected seven of a possible eight points in their past four games, they still reside in seventh place in the South. That doesn’t tell the whole story. Shreveport, trailing the fourth and final playoff position by eight points two weeks ago, is now just two points out of the postseason.

The South’s fourth- through seventh-place teams (Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Corpus Christi and Shreveport) are separated by just two points.

Last week’s 3 Stars

1. Devon Bobak, stopped 51 of 53 shots over the weekend

2. Connor Gatto, tallied in both games, including the overtime game-winner Friday

3. John Hallard, his assist Saturday was just the beginning. Extremely solid in Saturday’s victory

NAHL South Division standings

New Mexico (25-10-3), 53 points
Lone Star (20-10-7), 47
Odessa (21-14-3), 45
Wichita Falls (17-14-7), 41
Amarillo (19-16-2), 40
Corpus Christi (19-18-2), 40
Shreveport (17-14-5), 39
El Paso (13-21-3), 29

*top four make the playoffs

Team leaders

Goals: Austin Brimmer, 10
Assists: Connor Gatto, 18
Points: Austin Brimmer, 27
Penalty Minutes: Davis Goukler, 99
Game-winning goals: Gatto, 4
Goals-against average: Devon Bobak, 1.98
Save percentage: Bobak, .922

Up next

Another week, another matchup against the top team in the South. This time, the Mudbugs will host New Mexico on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum (Friday and Saturday at 7:11 p.m.).

Photo by CHRISTI LANG


In fine finish to local regular season, Loyola girls surprise Byrd

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

It wasn’t a championship game, just a friendly warmup for much-anticipated playoff runs on both sides.

But Saturday’s Byrd-Loyola girls soccer contest was championship-caliber, and produced a surprising winner.

The teams have routinely played this matchup on the final Saturday of the regular season to get playoff-caliber competition. It was the local area’s last regularly scheduled contest. Two loyal fan bases turned out, as the stands were full and fans spilled all over the grassy practice field overlooking the pitch at Byrd High.

The Lady Flyers’ fans went home happy, with a 3-1 victory that was the Lady Flyers’ first in this series since 2013. Byrd, by far the bigger school, has rarely been topped in these matchups, but to both programs’ credit, the friendly rivalry has continued and produced fine competition for as long as the 2022 seniors have been alive, and then some.

Byrd quickly took control for the first 15 minutes, with multiple chances to score. Loyola settled down and had the better of it in the next 15 minutes, including scoring a goal that was voided by an offsides call.

Shortly after a cross came to Loyola’s Kennedy Jarrett, she took a shot that was saved by a diving Emerson Roberts. It was an extraordinary effort, clearly the save of the game. Play evened out until Loyola had a free kick from 50 yards out by Mary Helen Burford. She put the ball into the box, Roberts came out to grab it as girls from both teams were charging her, and the ball deflected around until Jarrett scored.

That was the first half’s only goal. Loyola began the second half controlling play, but in the 17th minute Byrd had a counter attack which resulted in a foul in the box. The Lady Jackets cashed in the penalty kick when Landry Jones evened the score 1-1.

On the kickoff Loyola took the ball straight to goal and Madalyn Van Devender put the visitors back on top 2-1. A few minutes later Loyola’s Jarrett launched a corner kick that found Erin Campbell, who finished for a 3-1 lead.

The rest of the afternoon’s match was Byrd pushing everyone forward in an attempt to get back into the game. At the final whistle, both teams had given everything they had on the field.

Roberts had nine saves for Byrd. Millicent Mascagni had seven for Loyola in a worthy game preparing both sides for what certainly could be deep playoff runs.

Friday night, Byrd walloped Natchitoches Central 8-0.

Also Friday, Captain Shreve beat Parkway 5-2, led by Brooklyn Lattier’s hat trick and Alex Knight’s two goals. Avery Watson had five saves. Parkway got both goals from Maya Jackson. Aubri Dupre had nine saves. The loss cost Parkway dearly, dropping the Lady Panthers to the No. 33 seed, one spot out of the playoffs.

Photo by MARK MATLOCK


Local high school soccer boys and girls playoff pairings

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association released its state soccer playoff brackets Sunday, and local teams will be busy this week. First and second-round play is slated to be contested before the week ends.

Pairings involving local teams are below. More playoff coverage and schedule updates will follow in Tuesday’s SBJ.

Girls Division I

4 seed Captain Shreve hosts Denham Springs

8 seed Byrd hosts Walker

26 seed Airline travels to Barbe

Girls Division II

2 seed Caddo Magnet, round 1 bye

5 seed Benton, round 1 bye

11 seed Haughton hosts Woodlawn (Baton Rouge)

Girls Division III

2 seed Loyola, round 1 bye

8 seed North DeSoto, round 1 bye

Girls Division IV

8 seed Calvary, round 1 bye

21 seed Evangel travels to Ascension Episcopal

Boys Division I

11 seed Byrd hosts H.L. Bourgeois

13 seed Captain Shreve hosts Mandeville

24 seed Airline travels to Southside

Boys Division II

5 seed Caddo Magnet, round 1 bye

6 seed Benton, round 1 bye

8 seed Parkway, round 1 bye

12 seed Northwood hosts 21 seed Haughton

Boys Division III

4 seed Bossier, round 1 bye

14 seed Loyola hosts DeRidder, Wednesday, 5:30

Boys Division IV

24 seed Evangel visits Jeff Morris Community

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL


Final regular season soccer standings

 

Boys   Soccer
DIVISION I – DISTRICT 1 Dist. All
Byrd (11) 8-0-0 14-6-4
Alexandria (4) 7-1-0 17-2-2
Captain Shreve (13) 5-2-0 15-8-3
West Monroe (19) 4-3-1 10-9-2
Pineville (17) 2-4-1 11-8-1
Ruston (34) 2-5-1 5-13-3
Natchitoches (36) 1-3-1 3-10-3
Airline (23) 2-6-0 12-11-0
Southwood (45) 0-8-0 0-10-0
     
Division II – District 1 Dist. All
Benton (6) 6-0-0 14-7-2
Parkway (8) 5-1-0 13-8-1
Caddo Magnet (5) 4-2-0 16-8-1
Northwood (12) 3-3-0 14-7-2
Haughton (21) 2-4-0 7-13-2
Minden (26) 1-5-0 7-14-2
Huntington (33) 1-6-0 2-7-1
     
Division III – District 1 Dist. All
Bossier (4) 5-0-0 17-2-3
Loyola (14) 4-1-0 10-9-1
Sterlington (17) 3-2-0 10-6-1
Union Parish (27) 1-3-0 3-10-2
North DeSoto (34) 1-4-0 6-19-0
     
Division IV – District 1 Dist. All
Evangel (24) 2-0-0 7-14-0
Calvary (30) 1-1-0 5-10-1
North   Caddo (37) 0-2-0 0-11-1

 

Girls   Soccer
Division I – District 1 Dist. All
Captain Shreve (4) 7-0-2 23-2-3
Byrd (8) 7-0-2 14-5-8
West Monroe (15) 7-1-1 14-5-4
Alexandria (19) 5-2-2 9-6-5
Airline (26) 5-4-0 11-10-4
Pineville (27) 3-5-1 9-10-2
Parkway (33) 3-5-0 15-10-0
Natchitoches (38) 2-7-0 4-13-1
Ruston (41) 1-8-0 3-18-0
Southwood (47) 0-8-0 1-13-1
     
Division II – District 1 Dist. All
Caddo Magnet (2) 5-0-0 13-5-3
Benton (5) 4-1-0 14-9-4
Haughton (11) 2-2-1 10-11-4
Minden (16) 2-2-1 8-14-2
Northwood (25) 1-4-0 8-13-0
Huntington (34) 0-5-0 1-17-0
     
Division III – District 1 Dist. All
Loyola (2) 2-0-0 11-5-4
North DeSoto (8) 1-1-0 14-6-1
Bossier (28) 0-2-0 5-11-0
     
Division IV – District 1 Dist. All
Calvary (8) 2-0-0 11-6-3
Evangel (21) 1-1-0 7-10-1
North   Caddo (35) 0-2-0 2-16-1

 


Weekend Sports Scoreboard

Friday
High School Basketball

GIRLS

Southwood 65, Captain Shreve 45
Parkway 65, Benton 38
Airline 53, Natchitoches Central 48
Haughton 48, Byrd 29
Huntington 53, Woodlawn 29
BTW 43, Northwood 35
Loyola 70, Green Oaks 35
Jonesboro-Hodge 46, North Caddo 28
Homer 50, Calvary 44

BOYS

Benton 60, Parkway 56
Captain Shreve 39, Southwood 22
Airline 56, Natchitoches Central 54
Woodlawn 58, Huntington 57
BTW 76, Northwood 50
Evangel 79, North DeSoto 38
Bossier 85, North Webster 31
Green Oaks 66, Loyola 49
North Caddo 67, Jonesboro-Hodge 55
Calvary 88, Homer 59
Ringgold 65, Plain Dealing 58

High School Soccer

GIRLS

Byrd 8, Natchitoches Central 0
Captain Shreve 5, Parkway 2

BOYS

Airline 1, Northwood 0
Huntington 5, North Caddo 2
Ruston 8, Calvary 1

College Baseball

LSUS 10-7, Cumberland 3-0
BPCC 10, DFW Postgrad 2

Saturday
College Basketball

WOMEN

BPCC 75, Tyler 71
Jackson St. 81, Grambling St. 68
LSUS 89, University of Southwest 43
La-Lafayette 76, La-Monroe 55
Louisiana Tech 72, North Texas 60
Texas A&M-CC 72, Northwestern St. 55

MEN

BPCC 109, Kilgore 101, OT
Georgia St. 73, La-Monroe 62
Grambling St. 73, Jackson St. 64
LSUS 108, University of Southwest 98
North Texas 63, Louisiana Tech 62
Northwestern St. 90, Texas A&M-CC 76
TCU 77, LSU 68

College Baseball

BPCC 19-11, DFW Postgrad 0-1
LSUS 12-7, Cumberland 8-2

College Softball

BPCC 13-10, National Park College 0-0

High School Soccer

GIRLS

Loyola 3, Byrd 1

BOYS

Byrd 5, Loyola 0
North DeSoto 7, North Caddo 0

Sunday
College Basketball

WOMEN

LSU 78, Kentucky 69
Schreiner 78, Centenary 68

MEN

Schreiner 90, Centenary 74


LSU rallies, hands Mulkey historic win No. 650

JOURNAL STAFF

BATON ROUGE – A fourth-quarter rally fueled by 19 points in the final 10 minutes from guard Khayla Pointer made basketball history Sunday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

It made LSU a 78-69 winner over Kentucky in an SEC women’s basketball game, and made Kim Mulkey the fastest coach, man or woman, to reach 650 career victories in NCAA Division I basketball.

Mulkey, part of two national championship teams as a player at Louisiana Tech, reached another career coaching milestone on a resume’ that already has earned her induction in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. It came on a day when it appeared her first LSU team was in danger of losing a third straight league contest.

LSU (18-4, 6-3 SEC) trailed by five after 30 minutes. Pointer, an All-SEC guard, had scored only nine, but erupted and spurred a pivotal stretch when the Tigers made 9 of 11 shots.

Locally, Sunday Centenary dropped both ends of a doubleheader at home.

MEN

SHREINER 90, CENTENARY 76: The Gents lost at home for just the second time this season in falling to the Mountaineers Sunday in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference game at the Gold Dome. The Gents (10-8, 5-5) got a game high 18 points from Seth Thomas, 14 of those coming in the second half. Jalen Behr was the only other Gent in double figures with 16 points. Schreiner (10-10, 8-3) shot 54 percent from the floor and had Darian Gibson and Jalen Ned both tally 17 points. Kamden Ross tossed in 16 and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Mountaineers.

WOMEN

SCHREINER 78, CENTENARY 68: The Ladies fell to the Mountaineers in a Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference game Sunday at the Gold Dome despite leading at the half 33-32. Junior guard Destini Powell had a game-high 25 points and 11 rebounds for Centenary (3-15, 1-9) while sophomore guard Addy Tremie scored 21 points. Schreiner (9-10, 6-4) was led by Gabby Ivarra who scored 16 points and grabbed 11 missed shots.

Photo courtesy LSU ATHETICS


Grambling travels to face Alcorn State

Monday

College Basketball

Grambling State women at Alcorn State, 5:30 p.m.
Grambling State men at Alcorn State, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday

High School Basketball (boys and girls)

Haughton at Airline
Captain Shreve at Benton
Byrd at Natchitoches Central
Southwood at Parkway
Evangel at BTW
Huntington at North DeSoto
Woodlawn at Minden
Loyola at Bossier
Green Oaks at Mansfield
Lakeside at North Caddo
Haynesville at Plain Dealing


Notice of Death – January 30, 2022

Bossier Parish

Debra Ann Marshall
February 18, 1958 – January 20, 2022
Visitation: 10:00 a.m. until time of service
Services:  12:00 P.M. Saturday, February 12, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City

John Boggs
May 27, 1964 – January 5, 2022
A graveside service will be held at Hill Crest Memorial Park, 601 Highway 80 East, Haughton

Mr. Kendrick Owens
October 11, 1978 – January 9, 2022
Services:  Saturday February 5, 2022 11:00 AM Ebernezer Baptist Church 199 Ebernezer Road Taylortown

Caddo Parish

Mr. Robert Smith
March 28, 1952 – January 17, 2022
Visitation:  Wednesday February 2, 2022 11:00 PM to 5:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services:  Thursday February 3, 2022 11:00 AM Paradise Baptist Church 1706 Hollywood Avenue
Shreveport

Mrs. Gennie Smith
April 9, 1927 – January 16, 2022
Visitation:  Wednesday February 2, 2022 11:00 PM to 5:00 PM Heavenly Gates, 1339 Jewell St. Shreveport
Services:  Thursday February 3, 2022 11:00 AM Paradise Baptist Church 1706 Hollywood Avenue
Shreveport

Mr. Albert Gipson
May 18, 1954 – January 20, 2022
Visitation:  Friday February 4, 2022 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue
Services:  Saturday February 5, 2022 11:00 AM Winnfield Funeral Home – Shreveport 3701 Hollywood Avenue

Ronald Stephen Tilley
March 29, 1949 – January 27, 2022
Services: 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1815 Marshall Street, Shreveport 

Catherine Lucille Gill Flynn
December 15, 1932 – January 16, 2022
Visitation:  Saturday, February 5, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. until service time
Services:  Saturday, February 5, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Dr., Shreveport

Barbara Sue “Susie” Tate
September 16, 1949 – January 26, 2022
Visitation:  Monday, January 31, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Rose-Neath South
Services:  Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2500 Southside Dr., Shreveport


Former Evangel, Tech star one step from Super Bowl redemption

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Trent Taylor and George Kittle were joined at the hip as San Francisco 49ers teammates. The duo came into the NFL together (both drafted in the fifth round, 2017) and spent the first four years of their careers by the Bay.

Friday, Taylor, now a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, and Kittle – one of the best tight ends in the league – fantasized about a possible reunion during a phone conversation two days before their respective conference championship games.

“It would be hilarious — obviously big games for both of us before we get there as both of our teams are considered the underdogs,” Taylor, an Evangel and Louisiana Tech product, told the Journal. “A lot of trash talk would be had for that Super Bowl. It would be amazing.”

Kittle’s 49ers do battle against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC game, but the continuation of Taylor’s inspirational comeback comes first when the Bengals attempt to knock off the reigning AFC champion in Kansas City.

Two years ago, Kittle and Taylor were in Miami together. Kittle suited up in Super Bowl LIV against the Chiefs, but Taylor was trapped on the sideline in a walking boot, the result of a doctor’s screw up.

Taylor’s NFL debut season (2017) included 43 catches, 27 for first downs (best for rookies), but the bitter disappointment in South Florida capped a two-year run of pain and anguish.

A back surgery hampered 2018, and in 2019, an injury that was to cost Taylor a few weeks turned into a nightmare. Five surgeries and a major infection later, Taylor missed the entire campaign.

His chance at redemption could come in a couple of weeks.

“(Watching the Super Bowl from the sideline) can motivate you, but as one player, I can work harder than anyone else in the league but still maybe never see another shot at the Super Bowl again,” Taylor said. “There’s so many things that have to fall into place in order for your team to make it back to that stage. So, I was mainly disappointed in the fact that it was because of a doctor’s mistake on my foot that I wasn’t able to perform on the biggest stage ever.”

Taylor is no stranger to beating long odds. Despite “a million” catches at Evangel, his lone offer came from Ruston. The near outcast subsequently led the country in receiving yards as a senior.

“The one offer was all I needed,” said Taylor, who has “built” his “body back” in an attempt to be a game-changer once again.

“I feel back to normal, but right now it’s all about gaining that trust back with coaches and proving to everyone all over again that I belong in this league and can compete and run routes with the best of them,” Taylor said. “It’s something that takes a lot of work to get back so I’m enjoying that process right now.”

Taylor, born in Cookeville, Tennessee, returned punts for the Bengals in front of friends and family in last week’s victory in Nashville. However, Louisiana remains “No. 1” and Taylor senses and embraces the Louisiana effect in Cincinnati.

From LSU’s Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase and fellow Shreveport star Brandon Wilson (on injured reserve), Cincinnati has become a different sort of “Bayou Bengals.”

“There’s at least five more guys on the team that are LSU guys or from Louisiana,” Taylor said. “We are flooded with Louisiana guys so I would expect most of Louisiana to have our back for this AFC championship game.”

As Taylor boarded the team charter to Kansas City on Saturday, he explained how following Kobe Bryant’s mantra led him within 60 minutes of the sport’s grandest stage.

“After being down for two years with back surgery and my foot disaster, recovering from that and having the Mamba mentality has to be a way of life,” he said. “My work has gotten me another chance in Cincinnati. Now that I have my opportunity, what am I going to do with it? It’s small daily steps in the right direction that are going to get me back to how I know I can perform.”

Photo courtesy @Trent5Taylor


Will LHSAA take first step to undo its playoff mess?

Sometimes you just need to admit that something you did was wrong. Maybe it was a good idea at the time, but times change. You gave it a shot, but it just isn’t happening.

And then there are the voting members of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

The LHSAA executive officers didn’t unilaterally implement the select/non select playoff systems that has been in place since 2014. That was done by a vote of people who should have known better at the time. It was enacted by the school principals for reasons that are as weak today as they were eight years ago. They hit it out of bounds off the first tee and now they get a chance for a mulligan.

Well, sort of.

The streamlined LHSAA convention is being held this week in Baton Rouge and among the proposals is a unification in Class 5A for all sports.

Because this applies only to an individual class, it just requires a simple majority, not a two-thirds majority. That would seem to make it easier to pass.

There may be a little bit of an end run at play here. It seemed unlikely that the original split, which was done by a simple majority vote, would be undone by a vote that would now require a two-thirds majority.

But …

Individual classes can pass legislation that requires 50.1 percent majority. So if Class 5A leads the way, might others follow since the road would now be paved?

The feeling in Baton Rouge as today’s vote approaches is that nobody knows. Some believe it will pass, other think it has no shot. In football, there’s a pretty severe imbalance in the two types. In the 2021 season, there were 52 non-select football schools and only 12 select. In Class 1A, the ratio was 30/27, so what might be good for 5A might not be as meaningful for Class 1A.

If it were to happen, it would seem to reason other classes would follow. But this is the LHSAA; “seem to reason” doesn’t typically apply.

It would seem to reason that if you are going to split in a few sports, then you would split in them all. Why isn’t there a split for track or soccer?

It would seem to reason that schools wouldn’t be deemed “select” by some arbitrary percentage deemed by the voting body. If school zones are so sacrosanct, then why wouldn’t just one student from outside the zone make that school “select”?

It would seem to reason that those with voting privileges would notice the imbalance in the scores of playoff games. How many non-competitive games do you have to see before you realize this isn’t working?

There are so many ridiculous aspects to the select/non select setup for high school athletics in Louisiana and most of them have been detailed since, well … about 2014. But the principals who voted for the split in 2014 aren’t necessarily the ones who are around today.

There’s another matzah ball hanging out there to consider – might the definition of what constitutes a “select” school change? Some magnet schools are select, some are not. Some charter schools are, some are not.

A principal might be voting from one perspective and then find out it’s something they hadn’t planned on.

But what makes the most sense today is the same thing that made sense eight years ago. Address the problems that caused the split in the first place. Work really hard to fix them. And vote for what’s best for the entire organization, not just one school or one classification.

That change isn’t going to happen overnight. But today could be a step in that direction.


Bettors win when Louisiana’s mobile/online sports wagering era begins today

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Louisiana has taken its fair share of heat for being behind the times in several areas.

When it comes to sports betting, the state is well ahead of the game.

Sports betting was approved in 55 of 64 parishes. In October, casinos welcomed in-house wagering. Today, Louisiana will debut mobile/online wagering. Less than 20 states allow this level of betting opportunity.

“Everyone likes everything at their fingers. People don’t want to have to drive and park to gamble. They want to be able to fit it into their everyday lives,” said Ben Mintz, who spent more than four years as a radio host in this area. “No one wants to be inconvenienced. (The mobile element) is the key to the entire future of sports betting. Props to Louisiana for finally getting it right. It may have taken a while, but they got it done.”

Shreveport’s Jimmy Dicken loves the Chicago Bears and the Fighting Irish from the University of Notre Dame. Therefore, he’s excited to have the opportunity to bet against both.

You read that right.

“I never bet on the Bears. I always bet against the Bears,” Dicken said. “Whoever the Bears are playing, I take the opponent on the money line.”

At 25 to 50 bucks a pop, Dicken was pretty successful during this NFL season as the Bears posted a 6-11 mark.

The convenience of mobile betting is a huge draw for Dicken.

“The brick and mortar sports books offer a great experience,” he said. “With mobile, you can bet from your coach. So, Louisiana has the best of both worlds.

“The revenue generation will be a boon for everyone – the politicians aside.”

The tax proceeds from sports betting will benefit early childhood education (20 percent), the participating parishes (10 percent), the Behavioral Health and Wellness Fund (1 percent), the Louisiana State Racing Commission (1 percent) and the General Fund (68 percent).

At least five companies will offer mobile apps upon Friday morning’s launch. Most offer significant bonuses for new accounts, including Barstool’s app.

If you sign up for Barstool and make one $20-plus wager on either NFL conference championship games this weekend, you’ll earn $100 if Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow collects at least one passing yard against Kansas City on Sunday.

Mintz, who spent years championing sports wagering, has been at Barstool for more than a year.

“We’re a unique brand,” Mintz said. “You get to interact with us. The success of the sports betting app may define my tenure at Barstool. (Founder) Dave Portnoy has given me a lot of freedom.”

Many in the state have used illegal shops to make sports bets. The addition of sports betting in the state, and particularly the mobile/online component, will present the customer with better prices. Bettors won’t see much of a difference in typical bets like sides and totals (the juice is generally 10 cents on the dollar). However, the public can expect to see a much better variety of betting options and prices on props and futures.


Bossier breaks through, defeats Loyola for boys soccer district title

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

As soon as the final whistle blew, there was no doubt what Thursday’s game meant to the Bossier boys soccer team.

It set off a wild celebration by the Bearkats, not just because it was a 1-0 win over Loyola that gave Bossier the district championship.

Instead, it was because this was a long time coming.

Loyola came into the game having won six straight district titles – almost all of those clinched by beating Bossier.

“I’m happy for my seniors because they’ve come up short against Loyola the last three times,” said Bossier coach Orlando Medlin. “This means a lot. We are trying to build something at Bossier and hopefully we can keep it going.”

Bossier, now 17-2, came into the game as the No. 4 team in the Division III power rankings. It’s the seventh straight win for the Bearkats.

“We were disciplined tonight and were able to contain their long balls,” Medlin said. “We didn’t let calls get to our head like it can sometimes.”

Bossier’s Felix Deras was a problem for the Flyers throughout the night. The Bearkat forward knocked home a deflected pass in front of the goal to give Bossier a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.

“That’s kind of been the story of our season,” said Loyola coach Mark Matlock. “We gave up a goal and we ended up having to chase the game. That’s been kind of a season theme for us.”

The Bearkats spent a lot of time on the Flyers’ end of the field as they dominated the time of possession in the first half.

In the seventh minute, Loyola freshman goalkeeper Hudson Moore knocked a free kick over the top of the goal to keep the Bearkats off the board before Deras put Bossier on the board four minutes later.

Bossier also had a goal disallowed in the 17th minute for offsides.

One of Loyola’s few chances came in the final two minutes of the first half when Bossier goalkeeper Marco Rodriguez fumbled the ball 10 yards in front of the goal. The Flyers’ Zachary Tuttle rushed in and had visions of an empty net but Rodriguez gathered it back before Tuttle could control it.

Ten minutes into the second half, Loyola had its best opportunity with a free kick just outside the penalty box, but was deflected away. That was followed by a corner kick that was knocked away by the Bearkats.

Rodriguez had a couple of diving saves in the final 10 minutes as the Flyers tried to apply the pressure in an effort to tie the game.

“I feel pretty good knowing that’s the (number) 4 seed,” Matlock said. “I think we are in it with a chance for sure. If we can play like we did in the second half and get a better start, then I think we have a shot in the playoffs.

The Flyers (9-8) will play at Byrd Saturday in a non-district game to close the regular season.

Photo by John James Marshall


Thursday’s Sports Scoreboard

College Basketball

WOMEN

Arkansas 90, LSU 76
Incarnate Word 52, Northwestern St. 45
Paul Quinn 58, LSUS 47
Rice 72, Louisiana Tech 64

MEN

Georgia Southern 50, La-Monroe 45
Northwestern St. 79, Incarnate Word 70
Louisiana Tech 80, Rice 63
LSUS 80, Paul Quinn 75

High School Soccer

BOYS

Bossier 1, Loyola 0
Benton 3, Caddo Magnet 1
Calvary 4, North Caddo 0
Parkway 6, Northwood 0

GIRLS

Airline 2, North DeSoto 1
Caddo Magnet 3, Benton 2
Calvary 7, North Caddo 0
Evangel 6, Southwood 0
Loyola 8, Bossier 0

Photo by John James Marshall


Jordan’s three goals lead Caddo Magnet over Benton for District 1 girls crown

Happy Caddo Magnet seniors (left to right) Abby Beasley, Maddie Myers, Anniston Hildago, Margaret Roemer, Sara Sutherland, Jordan Lee, Hannah McGuire and Toni Sapp captured a district crown Thursday night

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

The last of Audrey Jordan’s three goals was the only score after halftime Thursday night, and it lifted Caddo Magnet to a 3-2 triumph over Benton in a battle of top-ranked state powers paired in a showdown for the Division II, District 1 girls soccer championship.

Toni Sapp provided two assists for the second-ranked winners, with Merritt Hughes notching the other one. Magnet keeper Addison Tipton had six saves.

Fifth-ranked Benton got goals from Natalie Brice and Jenevieve Willis, with assists by Lexy Bouillon and Abigal Jacobs. Kennedy Nipper recorded eight saves for the Lady Tigers.

The game was played on a cool, clear night at Freedom Fields in Bossier City. It started fast, and never slowed down, with the ball going up and down the field on quick passes and runs by both teams’ forwards.

In the 18th minute Benton’s Bouillon crossed the ball past a couple players for each team, and a charging Brice collected it and hit a line drive into the net from 25 yards out.

In the 25th minute the Lady Mustangs’ Sapp hit a 40-yard through ball that Jordan chased down and beat Nipper for the equalizer.

With 5 minutes left in the half Benton’s Jacobs shot from distance and it was deflected by Tipton. Willis caught up with the loose ball and put the Lady TIgers back on top 2-1. Just before the halftime whistle, Sapp played another long through ball that Jordan again chased down, and she finished to tie it up at 2. The score and the flow of play was even.

The second half played out similar to the first, other than Magnet having more possession and opportunities. The flow of play remained extremely fast, with more chances.

In the 8th minute, Jordan broke free with the ball and headed to the net hoping to put the Lady Mustangs on top. Benton’s Nipper came off her line, slid through Jordan, and snatched the ball for the save of the game.

A couple minutes later, Magnet converted for the game-winner. Hughes passed to Jordan whose shot deflected off the diving Nipper and found the net.

As time was winding down, Lady Tiger defender Jaime Willis, with her state title-level speed, started moving forward with the ball in a bid to tie. That got the attention of the Lady Mustangs’ whole backline as she pressed.

With three minutes left, Benton had its best chance, when a communication error left Bouillon in the box with the ball and only Alayna Howell and Tipton to defend. After a mad scramble for the ball, it went just wide of the post, and time soon expired on a great championship battle by both teams.

In the boys contest, Benton defeated Magnet 3-1, claiming the Division II, District 1 championship.

Other midweek girls results:

Calvary captured the Division IV, District 1 championship by beating North Caddo 7-0. Calvary’s goals were by Carson Davis (2), Addison Stevenson (2), Ava Colvin, Pamela Lee and Elizabeth Lee.

Loyola blanked Bossier 8-0 with goals from Kennedy Jarrett (3), Isabell Black (2), Leslie Johnson, Emmaline Drummond and Riya Ahuja.

Airline finished its regular season with a 2-1 win over North DeSoto, with Jaicee McIntyre finding the net twice. Assists for both goals were provided by Jewell Molina. Catherine Webber had five saves in goal.

In other action, Evangel beat Southwood 6-0, and Haughton and Minden played to a scoreless draw.

Photo by DREAMER THORN


District 1-5A leaders Southwood, Shreve meet in The Swamp

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Southwood’s boys basketball team is on a roll and hopes to keep it that way when it pays a visit to Captain Shreve in a battle of two of the three teams tied for first place in District 1-5A.

The Cowboys (13-12 6-1), winners of six straight, will try to avenge a lopsided loss to the Gators (53-30) as the district begins the second half of the season. Shreve is 17-5 overall and 6-1 in the district and have won their last five home games.

Fourth-place Airline (10-8 4-3) will make the trek on I-49 to Natchitoches to face the Chiefs (16-4, 6-1). All three of the Vikings district losses have been to the three first-place teams.

Benton (9-18, 2-5) plays at Parkway (5-14, 0-7) and Byrd (11-9, 3-4) travels to Haughton (13-10, 1-6) in the other two District 1-5A games.

Huntington (14-4, 6-0) tries to further distance themselves from the rest of District 1-4A when it goes to Woodlawn (17-8, 3-2).

The Raiders offense has picked it up as of late. They have scored 69 or more points in five of their last six games that includes a big 72-54 defeat of Evangel last time out.

The Knights look to bounce back after scoring a season-low 32 points in a lopsided 62-32 loss to Bossier last time out. They have lost their last three games as well.

BTW (16-7, 4-2) plays at Northwood (13-11, 3-3) seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since the start of 2022.

North DeSoto (3-1, 0-5) will be in search of its first District 1-4A win when it visits Evangel (15-6, 4-2). The Eagles dropped a 72-54 decision last time out to league leader Huntington that snapped a three-game win streak.

In District 1-3A, league leader Bossier (18-6, 3-0) will host cellar dweller North Webster (7-16, 0-4). The Bearkats only loss in their last eight games came to Carver of New Orleans 57-50 in the Extravaganza Classic hosted by Calvary over last weekend.

Green Oaks (8-13, 1-2) is at Loyola 10-13, 2-2). The Flyers won at GO earlier in the year 50-48.

North Caddo (8-13, 1-0) will travel to face Jonesboro-Hodge (9-4, 1-0) in a battle of the two first-place teams in District 1-2A. The Titans carry a No. 28 power rating while the Tigers are No. 6 in Class 2A.

Calvary (13-7, 3-0), winners of five straight and sitting at the top of the District 1-1A standings, will hit the road to Homer (4-7, 2-1).


BTW girls out to keep pace with league leader Huntington

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Booker T. Washington’s girls basketball team will make the short trip to Northwood for a District 1-4A battle looking to stay on the heels of league leader Huntington.

The Lady Lions (6-1) are just one game behind the Lady Raiders (7-0) who they will visit next Friday. BTW is 18-10 overall and has won its last three games.

The Lady Falcons are 5-3 in the district with all three losses coming to Huntington (twice) and BTW. Northwood is 15-12 overall and has a No. 21 power rating in 4A.

Huntington, 12-6 overall, 7-0 in 1-4A and No. 8 in the Class 4A ratings will play at Woodlawn (13-12, 3-4). The Lady Raiders are riding a five-game win streak. The Lady Knights have won their last two but have not won more than two-in-row all season.

The other District 1-4A game has North DeSoto (7-15, 1-6) at Evangel (0-13, 0-7).

In District 1-5A, league leader Parkway (24-2, 9-0) will host Benton (18-8, 5-4). The Lady Panthers are the No. 2 rated team in Class 5A and have not lost at home this season. The Lady Tigers are coming off a double-overtime win at Airline.

Captain Shreve (12-12, 4-5) will host Southwood (18-8, 6-3) looking to cool off the hot Lady Cowboys and Jermesha Frierson who is averaging just under 30 points per game the last five games.

Airline (19-10, 5-4) will be on the road at Natchitoches Central (12-11, 4-5). The Chiefs won at Airline in the first half of district games 64-59.

Byrd (11-11, 0-9) will cross the river to meet Haughton (13-10, 3-6) in another 1-5A clash.

In District 1-3A, North Webster (3-13, 0-3) will go to Bossier (5-14, 2-3) looking for its first district win.

Loyola (10-11, 3-1) will seek to get back on track after losing to 1-3A leader Mansfield (57-12) when it hosts Green Oaks (2-18, 0-3).

Jonesboro-Hodge (5-12) hosts North Caddo (8-10, 1-0) in a District 1-2A game. The Lady Titans have won the only two games they have played in the new year.

Calvary (6-8, 1-2) will make the trek to Homer (10-8, 2-1) in a District 1-1A game.


Mudbugs, Brahmas continue decades-long ‘war’ at The George this weekend

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Rivals.

The competition between the Shreveport Mudbugs and Lone Star Brahmas is best described in that one word. The hockey adversaries are poster boys for the definition.

Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell often uses another descriptor.

“War.”

The competition is even, the titles are plentiful.

It’s a good bet the road to the Robertson Cup travels through Shreveport and/or North Richland Hills, Texas. The cities were the home to three of the past four Robertson Cups in the North American Hockey League (Shreveport, 2018 and 2021; Lone Star, 2017). The teams have led the South Division in four of the past five seasons (Shreveport, 2017-18 and 2020-21; Lone Star 2016-17 and 2019-20).

The head coaches were teammates during Shreveport’s days of professional hockey and Dan Wildfong, the Brahmas’ leader, is arguably the greatest Mudbugs player of all time. However, he left in his prime to coach the Brahmas (2007). Ever since, the Mudbugs and their fans often wonder if they see a mirror image of their team.

Friday and Saturday, the Brahmas (20-9-6) visit George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. Lone Star is in a familiar position, three points from the top of the South. There’s one twist at this point in the 2021-22 season. The Mudbugs (15-14-5), who have never missed the playoffs as a member of the NAHL, are five points behind the final postseason position and are desperate for wins.

“These are the games coaches are talking about in practice when we say ‘Stay engaged and challenge each other. You have to compete against each other, get the best out of each other,’” Campbell said. “Teams like Lone Star are relentless, coming after you in all areas of the rink. If you don’t match that it could be a rude awakening come Friday and Saturday.”

The Brahmas swept the only series played between the two – 3-2 and 9-2 on Nov. 12-13 in Texas.

The conflict extends off the ice, too. Even the recruiting battles are intense for two desirable destinations.

“(Fighting for recruits) happens knowingly (between the teams),” Campbell said. “I’m sure there is a lot more I don’t know, that (Wildfong) doesn’t know. It is ongoing.”

Campbell is already thrilled about one aspect to this weekend at The George.

“We should have everyone available to us,” he said.

This deep into a hockey season, health is an anomaly.

“It’s great news,” Campbell said.

Mudbugs vs. Lone Star

Friday, Saturday, 7:11 p.m.

George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum

Photo: Christi Lang


Staff picks for NFL conference championships games

Incredible games last week. Incredible picks? Not so much. No one was over .500 for the week, but as sports betting goes full send in Louisiana this week, we promise to do bettor (get it?)!

This week’s schedule

Sunday’s games

Cincinnati at Kansas City (2 p.m., CBS)
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams (5:30 p.m., Fox)

Our selections

Roy Lang III (7-3 overall; last week, 1-3)

Kansas City
San Francisco

Teddy Allen (7-3; 2-2)

Kansas City
Los Angeles

Lee Hiller (6-4; 1-3)

Cincinnati
Los Angeles

John James Marshall (6-4; 1-3)

Kansas City
Los Angeles

Jerry Byrd Jr. (5-5; 1-3)

Kansas City
San Francisco

Doug Ireland (5-5; 2-2)

Cincinnati
Los Angeles

Tony Taglavore (4-6; 1-3)

Kansas City
Los Angeles

Photo: Cincinnati Bengals