Local schools sought, but not on Battle of the Border slate

NOT BATTLNG:  Loyola, North Caddo and the rest of the local schools will be absent for this year’s Battle On The Border prep football showcase.

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

The only thing local about this year’s Battle on the Border High School Football Showcase may be where it’s played.

The 11th BOTB will be held Sept. 2-3 at Independence Stadium. However, there are no Shreveport-Bossier teams scheduled to participate.

Joe Mero, Assistant Director of Shreveport Public Assembly & Recreation, which organizes the event, told the Journal Wednesday he is still reaching out to local schools, hoping to entice them to give up their home game the first week of the season.

Last year, the BOTB was held the second weekend in September. However, this year, Northwestern State and Grambling will play at Independence Stadium Sept. 10 in a game that has been on the books for over a year.

“Once we moved (the BOTB) to the first weekend (in September), a lot of teams already had their schedule in place. I’m wishing and hoping.”

Mero said the plan is to have four games — one on Friday and three on Saturday. He said six of the eight teams are confirmed. Glenbrook (Minden) will play Cedar Creek (Ruston), Ryan (Denton, Texas) will play Bryant (Arkansas), and Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge) will play McAlester (Oklahoma).

When asked what the benefits would be of a local school moving its home game to play in the BOTB —making the change five weeks before the season starts — Mero said each school would be given tickets to sell, and that the school can keep the money it makes. He also stressed that college coaches will be in attendance, providing an attractive audience for athletes who want to play at the next level.

Mero would not go into detail on what is provided to out-of-town teams as incentive to play in the BOTB, except to say a school traveling over 200 miles is given money to help offset expenses. The Ada (Oklahoma) News reported the City of Shreveport will “provide up to $5,000” for McAlester’s expenses, including up to 34 hotel rooms for one night. The newspaper also reported that McAlester will be given pre-sale tickets, and that the school will keep the revenue those ticket sales generate.

Last year, four local schools — Captain Shreve, C.E. Byrd, Southwood and Woodlawn — played in the BOTB.

Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com