There’s a week left to make a difference for a super senior

We spend the fall cheering on Friday nights, soaring or sinking with the fortunes of our favorite high school football team. Whether it’s your alma mater, where you work, where your kid goes to school, or if your son, grandson, nephew, neighbor kid is pulling on a jersey or a manager’s or trainer’s shirt for the Friday Night Lights, it really means more.

These are young people you truly know, or know about, on a personal basis. They are almost always the best kind of social influencers – the big kids who personally connect with the little kids around them, and in some situations, are even the defacto parental figures in their own households.

In the first year of the Shreveport-Bossier Journal, we’ve spotlighted some of those boys becoming men.

They’re learning how to contribute to something bigger than themselves. It’s not just the star players, it’s the role players, it’s the scout teamers, it’s the student trainers tending to their banged-up classmates, the managers doing all they can to assure equipment and uniforms and footballs and blocking dummies are in good shape and in the right places.

None of these roles are particularly unique to football. But what is unique to football, not only locally but nationally, is the scholarship program provided by the National Football Foundation for remarkable senior scholar-athletes. The NFF’s S.M. McNaughton Chapter, which encompasses all of the 318 area code, is based in Shreveport-Bossier, and has existed for over 40 years with one primary purpose – to celebrate excellence among area prep football seniors.

The last two seasons, the North Louisiana NFF Chapter has promoted a Watch List launched in preseason and expanded during the season, providing recognition for those young men.

Now it’s time to collect nominations from the cream of the crop of the high school football Class of 2023, and reward nine of them with college scholarship money.

You’ve seen some possible nominees spotlighted during 14 weeks of prep football by our partners, KTBS-TV, and Johnny’s Pizza. The late Bob Griffin, the iconic local TV personality, was on the NFF board for years until he passed two years ago, the day after the Super Bowl, at age 85. He had covered a playoff semifinal two months earlier at Many High School. That made the KTBS partnership logical, and added a scholarship award to the eight issued annually by the NFF.

The 2023 recipients will be celebrated Thursday, March 2, with the traditional Scholarship Awards Dinner at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport.

Deadline is in a week: the nominees must be submitted by Tuesday, Jan. 24, by the school’s head football coach.

Yes, next Tuesday night (really, until when the Wednesday Journal publishes and lands in your email box, free as always, at 6:55 a.m.).

The criteria: a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 by a senior who has won at least all-district honors and participated in some extracurricular activity.

There is an application form, available by emailing, or texting me at 318-471-2086. It’s not complicated – takes maybe five minutes to fill out, counting the coach’s call to the guidance counselor to get the exact GPA and standardized text scores. An academic transcript is required (we’ll be flexible for a few days past the deadline to receive that piece), and we’d love to get a letter or letters of recommendation to strongly enhance the nominee’s case.

At some schools, there’s no doubt who should be nominated. Sometimes there is a tough choice to be made.

It’s an opportunity that should not be wasted. If you’re a coach, a teacher, an administrator, a parent, or a fan, reach out to your head football coach to see if he’s nominating a deserving candidate. There are very few schools who just don’t have some senior who doesn’t fit the criteria.

There’s not a college-bound senior who can’t use some extra scholarship money, or who will ever forget that very special, classy evening in March when family, friends, college coaches, and fine folks from all around gather to celebrate the very best of the best.

Let’s celebrate the best kind of local social influencers. Help get a young man from your favorite high school football team nominated to receive a North Louisiana NFF Scholar-Athlete award. 

Contact Doug at