Panthers off to the perfect start they envisioned

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

That is happening for the Parkway Panthers football team and coach Coy Brotherton.

After a convincing 24-6 homefield victory over rival Haughton in the league opener, the Panthers were a unanimous choice as the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Team of the Week.

Not only is Parkway unbeaten through four games, and 1-0 in District 1-5A, but the Panthers’ defense hasn’t given up a point in three games. That piece wasn’t in Brotherton’s plan – but a clean start was in his vision.

No disrespect to the non-district opponents – Minden, Red River and Bossier – but they were all lower-division teams that a solid Parkway program expects to handle. Other than the opening 43-41 escape from the Crimson Tide, the Panthers have cruised forward, outscoring the next three teams 108-6.

But starting district against the Bucs provided a stiff test, which Parkway passed, opening a 24-0 halftime lead. The Bucs were playing without their starting quarterback and lost a key lineman, and their only score came on a long fourth-quarter fumble return.

The following game – this Friday’s encounter with another 1-0 district foe, Captain Shreve – completes a pivotal two-step for Parkway’s chances to be dancing into postseason.

“It (4-0) was attainable,” said Brotherton. “We knew all spring to this point, these first two district games will kinda make or break our year, show us where we’re going to be able to aim at the end of the (district) season.”

The Panthers were confident about their defense, and had no worries in the kicking game with Aeron Burrell back for his senior season as unquestionably one of the country’s top specialists.

Parkway installed a different defensive scheme this year, running a “Bear” defense (mostly a 5-2 front), counting on its veteran players to make the adjustment. They certainly have done so in the past three games.

“We did have some guys back on defense, so that was going to be a plus for us,” said Brotherton. “The defense has played well the last three weeks. We struggled in Week 1 at Minden, and that was alarming.

“Our defensive coaches, coach (Dillion) Jackson and his guys, got those kids ready to play. In the last three weeks, we haven’t given up a touchdown, so that’s good. And we’ve scored in every game on defense. That’s pretty impressive, what they’ve been able to do.”

As for Burrell, his kicking and punting have been as flawless as expected, and he’s getting better now.

“He’s not even 100 percent yet, battling some injuries from last year, but in the last three weeks he’s started to look healthy again and that’s been a bonus,” said Brotherton. “This (Haughton) was the first game he’s kicked off the entire game, because we were just easing him back into it, but he’s a full go now.”

The key questions offensively were in the backfield. So far, they’ve been exclamation points.

“It’s been good to get Antonio Gladney at running back and KB (Kaleb Williams) at quarterback some experience under their belts,” said Brotherton, whose offense is averaging 30 points per game. “They’ve gotten better each week – that’s always the goal, I know coaches say that all the time – but for us and our youth, that was important and it looks like they’ve done that.”

The Panthers’ secret to success is pretty basic.

“We’ve done a good job getting better each week. We’ve done well protecting the football. Those are things we need to continue to do,” said Brotherton. “When you’re young at key positions, they can look good one play and then do something bone-headed the next one. We’ve got to continue to eliminate those bone-headed plays.”

The defense, the heartbeat of this Parkway team, is particularly critical this week. Coming off a rivalry win, and facing an explosive, multi-dimensional Shreve offense, Parkway must be focused. Brotherton has no worries about that aspect.

“We’ve counted on those (defensive) guys to be leaders this year,” he said. “We have a good group of kids who have bought into the system. This is our fourth year here as a staff, so we’re the only coaches they know.

“They’re good kids to be around. I don’t think the emotions of last week will have any ill effect on the way they prepare this week.”

Contact Doug at

Airline breaks into LSWA Class 5A football poll 


Airline finally found its way into the latest LSWA Class 5A football Top-10 poll at No. 9 on Monday.

It took the Vikings four wins into the season and averaging 52.3 points per game in those four wins to get ranked by an LSWA panel of high school beat writers around the state.

Airline’s 60-35 defeat of Benton in the District 1-5A opener for both teams Friday gave it a 4-0 start to the season for the first time since 2019.  The Vikes were 1-3 (1-0 in district) at this point last season.

Undefeated Parkway broke into the list of 5A teams receiving votes after its 24-6 win over Haughton.  

Calvary remained at the top of Class 2A just ahead of St. Charles Catholic. The Cavs had to rely on their defense in a 21-6 defeat of Class 3A’s previously undefeated Wossman.  

Evangel continues to receive votes in Class 4A after its 49-0 whitewashing of Bossier.  

LSWA Prep Football Polls
Class 5A W-L Pts. Prv.
1. John Curtis (9) 3-0 149 1
2. Edna Karr (4) 4-0 143 2
3. Destrehan 4-0 131 3
4. Zachary 3-0 116 4
5. Ruston 4-0 111 5
6. Carencro 4-0 85 6
7. West Monroe 4-0 61 8
8. Acadiana 3-1 59 9
9. Airline 4-0 43 NR
10. East St. John 4-0 35 NR
Others receiving votes: St. Augustine 30, Catholic-BR 27, Brother Martin 9, Southside 8, Dutchtown 4, Sam Houston 3, Holy Cross 3, Parkway 1..
Class 4A W-L Pts. Prv.
1. St. Thomas More (13) 4-0 156 1
2. Neville 4-0 136 3
3. Lafayette Christian 3-1 130 2
4. Westgate 4-0 12 4
5. North DeSoto 3-1 88 6
6. Warren Easton 1-3 88 5
7. Lutcher 2-1 73 7
8. West Feliciana 3-1 64 8
9. Teurlings Catholic 3-1 57 9
10. Shaw 2-2 21 NR
Others receiving votes: Cecilia 19, Tioga 17, Evangel Christian 14, Opelousas 9, Franklin Parish 7, Plaquemine 5, Morgan City 1, Vandebilt Catholic 1.
Class 3A W-L Pts. Prv.
1. University (10) 3-1 153 1
2. E.D. White (3) 4-0 138 3
3. St. James 3-1 134 2
4. Sterlington 3-1 120 4
5. Jena 4-0 91 6
6. Union Parish 2-2 83 7
7. Parkview Baptist 3-1 80 8
8. Madison Prep 2-2 40 5
9. John F. Kennedy 3-1 47 9
10. St. Louis 3-1 39 10
Others receiving votes: Amite 24, Wossman 11, Iota 10, North Webster 7, Bogalusa 6, Lake Charles Prep 6, Bunkie 4, Carroll 4, Pine 3, South Beauregard 1.
Class 2A W-L Pts. Prv.
1. Calvary (9) 4-0 152 1
2. St. Charles (4) 4-0 147 2
3. Newman 4-0 129 3
4. Dunham 3-1 110 5
5. Oak Grove 2-2 101 6
6. Notre Dame 2-2 91 4
7. Episcopal-BR 3-1 69 8
8. Northlake Christian 4-0 52 9
9. Many 2-2 48 7
10. Loreauville 3-1 43 10
Others receiving votes: Catholic-New Iberia 39, Oakdale 26, Ascension Episcopal 3, South Plaquemine 3.
Class 1A W-L Pts. Prv.
1. Ouachita Chr. (13) 4-0 157 1
2. Vermilion Catholic 4-0 142 3
3. Southern Lab 2-1 122 4
4. Homer 3-1 108 5
5. Kentwood 3-1 106 2
6. St. Martin’s 3-0 86 6
7. Riverside Acad. 3-1 82 7
8. Haynesville 4-0 77 8
9. St. Mary’s 4-0 52 10
10. Ascension Catholic 3-1 39 9
Others receiving votes: Logansport 31, Glenbrook 9, Jeanerette 6, St. Frederick 6, White Castle 2, Centerville 1.

LSU’s Kelly sees resiliency resurgence

TOUCHDOWN: LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers makes one of his two touchdown catches in last Saturday’s 34-31 win over Arkansas. Nabers ranks first in the SEC in receptions (35) and receptions per game (8) and is second in receiving yards per game (130.75). (Photo by KRISTEN YOUNG, LSU Athletics) 

By RON HIGGINS, Journal Sports

BATON ROUGE – Rewind just more than three weeks ago, and LSU head coach Brian Kelly and his team had a long plane ride home from Orlando after a stunning 45-24 season-opening loss to Florida State.

The most puzzling thing to Kelly was the Seminoles outscored the Tigers 31-7 in the second half. LSU had 15 returning starters – 8 on offense, 7 on defense – from its 2022 SEC West Division championship squad that came back for wins vs. Auburn, Mississippi State and Ole Miss by 17, 13 and 17 points respectively.

With those returning players, why did LSU roll over and play dead in the final two quarters vs. FSU? Where was their fight, their hunger to win?

After two blowout wins over Grambling and Mississippi State, the Tigers had to battle back from a late-second quarter deficit last Saturday in a 34-31 SEC victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks. Kelly liked how his team climbed out of a 10-point hole by scoring in the last 30 seconds of the first half and the first minute of the second half.

“We really didn’t have the right mix of mindset going into the Florida State game, so this (the Arkansas game) was our first chance really to identify who we were when we got down,” Kelly said at his weekly Monday press conference. “We immediately responded. We came out in the second half and played the kind of football that I expect.

“Never flinching, knowing that we were going to take some more shots. And when we gave up a play, we forgot about it. We’re starting to see some resiliency from last year to this year.”

Heading into Saturday’s game between No. 13 LSU and No. 20 Ole Miss in Oxford, Kelly is happy with the Tigers’ offense that leads the SEC in scoring (42.75 points per game) and total offense (530 yards per game).

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels won the co-SEC Offensive Player of the Week for a second consecutive week, totaling 356 yards including 5 TDs vs. Arkansas. The Tigers had two 100-yard receivers (Malik Nabers 8 catches for 130 yards, 2 TDs and Brian Thomas (5 receptions for 133 yards, 2 TDs). Running back Logan Diggs almost had his second 100-yard rushing game in the last three weeks, running for 97 yards and 14 carries.

There was a lot to like offensively.

Defensively, not so much.

Arkansas gained 426 total offense yards. QB KJ Jefferson totaled 337 yards and 3 TDs passes. His constant escapes from a collapsing pass pocket consistently sent the Tigers’ defense into a tizzy, especially LSU’s defensive backs who ran around like their jerseys were on fire.

One play in the first minute of the fourth quarter – Jefferson’s scrambling 59-yard TD pass off a scramble to wide-open Luke Hasz – illustrated what Kelly believes is the crux of LSU’s defensive woes.

“This is about staying focused all the time and doing your job,” Kelly said. “He (LSU cornerback Zy Alexander) lost sight of what he should have been doing on that particular play.

“He saw the quarterback as a run threat. That’s not his (Alexander) job. His job was to be the deep half-defender. Go do your job. There was somebody else assigned to him. (Jefferson)

“We are trying to chase too many plays on defense. We’re trying to make plays that aren’t really our place to make. We need to do our job. Once we settle down and do the ordinary things extraordinarily well, this can be a really good defense.”


LSU (3-1 overall, 2-0 SEC West) at Ole Miss (3-1, 0-1 SEC West), Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Saturday, 5 p.m. (ESPN)

Last game for Ole Miss: Lost at 24-10 at Alabama last Saturday. After trailing 7-6 at halftime, Alabama was dominant on both sides of the ball in the second half as the Tide racked up 241 total offense yards compared to 148 for Ole Miss.

Series record and last meeting: LSU leads the series 64-41-4. Last season in Tiger Stadium, unbeaten Ole Miss led 17-3 in the second quarter before LSU scored 28 unanswered points in a 45-20 win. Tigers’ quarterback Jayden Daniels completed 21 of 28 passes for 248 yards and 2 TDs and ran for 121 yards and 3 TDs on 23 carries.

Ole Miss head coach: Lane Kiffin (87-48 in 12 seasons, 26-14 in his third season at Ole Miss)


Early betting line: LSU opens as a 2½-point favorite

Number of Louisiana natives on Ole Miss roster: 1

Number of Mississippi natives on LSU roster: 6

Number of transfers on Ole Miss roster from 4-year schools: 40 players from 37 schools including 19 players from 15 Power 5 Conference schools


QB Jaxson Dart (65 of 103 for 1,096 passing yards, 7 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 219 rushing yards and 3 TDs on 44 carries), WR Tre Harris (8 catches for 188 yards, 5 TDs), WR Jordan Watkins (24 catches for 347 yards, 1 TD), RB Quinshon Judkins (201 rushing yards and 4 TDs on 57 carries)

FS Trey Washington (25 tackles, 2 TFL), MLB Khari Coleman (19 tackles, 2½ TFL, 1½ sacks), SS John Saunders Jr. (18 tackles, 1 sack, 4 PBU), PK Caden Davis (7 for 9 FG, 16 of 16 extra points), P Fraser Masin (43.1 ypk, 3 fair catches, 3 inside the 20, 1 plus 50 yards), KO Caden Davis (31 KO for 63.4 average, 23 touchbacks, 1 out of bounds), KR Ulysses Bentley IV (6 for 113 yards), PR Jordan Watkins (4 for 72 yards, 1 TD)


1. The last time Ole Miss clinched an SEC championship. . .

    A. Current head coach Lane Kiffin wasn’t yet born

    B. The Beatles hadn’t made their first U.S. appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show

    C. Was eight days after the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy

    D. All of the above

2. What is the highest finish for an Ole Miss player in Heisman Trophy voting?

    A. 3rd

    B. 2nd

    C. 1st

    D. 4th

3. Who was the former Ole Miss quarterback from the New Orleans area first to see game action in a Super Bowl?

     A. John Fourcade

     B. Eli Manning

     C. Norris Weese

     D. Pee Wee Reese

ANSWERS: 1. D, 2. A, 3. C

Contact Ron at

Battle of ranked teams at Calvary highlights mid-season slate

DEFENSE DIDN’T REST:  Calvary Baptist got a big night from its defense, including Landon Sylvie (19), to offset a slow offensive outing and subdue a strong Wossman team 21-6 last Friday. The Cavs face a tough test this Friday when state-ranked Westgate visits. (Journal photo by GAVEN HAMMOND)


Calvary’s rugged pre-district schedule comes to a close as the Class 2A No. 1 ranked Cavaliers host New Iberia’s Westgate, Class 4A’s No. 4 ranked team, in a battle of unbeatens that highlights the midway point of the local prep football season.   

The game is scheduled for Friday night at Jerry Barker Stadium.   

Thursday’s lone game to begin Week 5 is a District 1-5A matchup of Benton (1-3, 0-1) who has lost its last three after a season-opening win and Byrd (0-4, 0-1) who is still looking for its first win.  

Friday’s slate has a pair of 1-5A games that matches four teams that won their district openers. Undefeated Parkway (4-0, 1-0) will face Captain Shreve (3-1, 1-0) at Independence Stadium and Airline (4-0, 1-0) travels to Natchitoches Central (2-2, 1-0) at Turpin Stadium. Southwood (0-4, 0-1) will host Haughton (2-2, 0-1) at Booker T. Washington’s Leonard C. Barnes Stadium. 

The Airline at NCHS game shifted from Thursday to Friday several weeks ago when a St. Mary’s home game against Newman of New Orleans was called off. The Newman School administration didn’t want to make two trips to north Louisiana. The Greenies came to Benton earlier this month.   

District 1-4A will have a pair of 1-0 teams facing each other when Woodlawn (3-1) plays at Evangel (2-2). Bossier (1-3, 0-1) is at Northwood (1-3, 1-0), Huntington (2-2, 0-1) at Minden (0-4, 0-1) and BTW (1-3, 0-1) at North DeSoto (3-1, 1-0).   

Non-district matchups have North Caddo (1-3) hosting undefeated 5A West Ouachita (4-0), Green Oaks (1-3) traveling to Alexandria for the second consecutive week, this time to play ASH (2-2), and Mansfield (0-4) coming to Shreveport to face Magnolia Charter (0-4).    

Loyola is idle this week. 

Thursday’s game  

District 1-5A  

Benton (1-3, 0-1) vs. Byrd (0-4, 0-1), Independence Stadium  

Friday’s games  

District 1-5A  

Parkway (4-0, 1-0) vs. Captain Shreve (3-1, 1-0), Independence Stadium  

Haughton (2-2, 0-1) vs. Southwood (0-4, 0-1), Leonard C. Barnes Stadium  

Airline (4-0, 1-0) at Natchitoches Central (2-2, 1-0), Turpin Stadium  

District 1-4A  

Woodlawn (3-1, 1-0) at Evangel (2-2, 1-0), Rodney Duron Stadium  

Bossier (1-3, 0-1) at Northwood (1-3, 1-0), Jerry Burton Stadium  

Huntington (2-2, 0-1) at Minden (0-4, 0-1)  

BTW (1-3, 0-1) at North DeSoto (3-1, 1-0)  

District 1-1A  

Plain Dealing (0-4, 0-1) at Haynesville (4-0, 1-0)  


Westgate (4-0) at Calvary (4-0), Jerry Barker Stadium  

West Ouachita (4-0) at North Caddo (1-3), Sanders-Prudhomme Stadium  

Green Oaks (1-3) at Alexandria (2-2)  

Mansfield (0-4) at Magnolia Charter (0-4)  

Loyola is open

Trip of a lifetime with my old team

It’s been 28 years since I have traveled with the Louisiana Tech football team. In November of 1995, I went to Nashville, Tennessee with the Bulldogs as their right tackle. We had a forgettable date, 29-6, with the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Last Friday, as the sideline reporter for the LA Tech Football Radio Network, I traveled with the team to Lincoln as the Bulldogs faced Nebraska on Saturday.

In some ways it seems like a hundred years ago since I’d traveled with the team. In other ways it seems like it was yesterday.

Something about packing in the old Tech charter bus with my brothers and heading east on I-20 to the airport in Monroe. Going to battle!

In my day, the bus would pull up on the tarmac – about 40 yards from the plane – and “the race” would be on.

The race was between the taller offensive linemen who coveted those seats on the wing with the extra leg room. The defensive linemen were not in play. They didn’t have a chance. They were on Bus No. 2.

Back then, the last people to get on the plane would be the administrators, coaches and wives, and supporters.

The late Dr. Guthrie Jarrell was always with us on those trips. Always. He sat in first class where – being a tall man himself – I’m sure he appreciated the extra leg room, too.

“It must be nice.” If I didn’t say it back then, I thought it. It must be nice to be able to take in a college football game and root, root, root, for ol’ red and blue. It must be nice to not have to worry about your blocking assignments and taking the proper first step before trying to knock the block off a guy who is a 6-3, 245-pound, five-star SEC defensive end who runs like a deer.

Don’t get me wrong.

There is nothing like the rush of trotting out on the field in some of the sport’s biggest and best venues in front of thousands of people and playing the greatest game God ever created. Williams-Bryce. Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. Been there. In the trenches. Hand-to-shoulder pad combat. Hat on a hat. At the bottom of the pile. There is nothing like it.

Even back then, I said I always wanted to take a trip with the team and experience it…without the pressure. Thanks to Learfield and the Tech administration, I was able to do that last Friday.

The trips are a little different now. There were no security checks back then. Now, you get your snacks before getting on the plane. Assigned seats. A little thank you note from Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie.

It was nice…even with knees jammed into the back of an airplane seat and praying to God a sixth grader sitting in front of me doesn’t want to see how far his seat back can go.

The University of Nebraska is known for storied tradition, 100-year old Memorial Stadium, the fumblerooski, and their loyal fan base. Among other things. 391 consecutive sellouts! Are you kidding me, Cornhuskers? Wow.

When the Louisiana Tech entourage arrived in Lincoln, everyone went straight to the stadium and walked out on Tom Osborne Field. Red signs reading “There is no place like Nebraska” were lit up all over the stadium.

Back in the day, we would get in our shorts and T-shirts and have a walk-through practice after arriving Friday. The walk-through for the Bulldogs on this trip happened in the parking lot of the Marriott in Omaha, Nebraska early Saturday morning.

Impressive was the adjective for when Memorial Stadium was empty. Incredible would be the word for Saturday at 2:30 p.m. when Big Red took the field against my Bulldogs with 85,000 Cornhusker fans in the stands.

When the announcer says “and that will bring up THIRRRRRDDD DOOOOWWWNNNNN!!!,” most in the sea of red stand on their feet and scream their heads off. On third down, I’ve never heard a louder stadium…ever.

The score was 7-7 at halftime and I could not have been more proud of how the Bulldogs competed.

Things got away from Tech as the second half started. The big offensive line from Nebraska, with the smallest lineman being 6-3, 315, leaned on the Tech defense. Pulling the left guard and running off tackle to the right side all the way down the field.

Penalties. Personal fouls. And one flag – a pass interference call – which was thrown and then picked up, hurt the Bulldogs. A good fight, but 28-14 was the final.

While the outcome was not what Louisiana Tech wanted, it was a memorable time – at least for this old Dawg, able to take the trip of a lifetime with the Louisiana Tech football team.

Contact Jerry at

Airline alone atop latest SBJ prep football poll


Airline regained solo possession of the No. 1 spot in the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10 prep football poll after the fourth week of games.

The Vikings remained undefeated and started their District 1-5A title defense with a convincing 60-35 romp over last year’s district runner-up Benton. They got all six first-place votes.

Airline is primed to break into the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A Top 10 Monday since No. 10 St. Augustine lost, and the Vikings topped the “others receiving votes” in last week’s balloting.

Calvary dropped from being tied at the top spot into the No. 2 position after facing offensive struggles for the first time in 2023. The Cavs, No. 1 in the LSWA’s Class 2A Top 10 last week, were still impressive, relying on their defense to stay perfect and defeat previously undefeated Class 3A Wossman 21-6.

Parkway’s defense pitched its third shutout of the season in a 24-6 defeat of Haughton and move to 4-0 overall and 1-0 in 1-5A. The Bucs’ only score came on an 87-yard fumble return. 

Evangel moves up a notch to No. 4 after a 49-0 defeat of Bossier in its 1-4A opener. Evangel’s rise was surely the reason Captain Shreve dropped a spot to No. 5 after its 35-28 comeback win over rival Byrd. 

Haughton – which played without quarterback Christian Turner — remained at No. 6 despite its defeat at the hands of No. 3 Parkway. Woodlawn moved up to No. 7 after opening its 1-4A slate with a 26-8 win over BTW. 

Huntington slipped a spot to No. 8 after dropping its 1-4A opener to Northwood 27-12. Benton is at No. 9 after its loss to Airline and Northwood climbed back into the top 10 after defeating Huntington.

SBJ Top 10
School (1st) W-L Pts. Prev.
1. Airline (6) 4-0 60 1
2. Calvary 4-0 53 2
3. Parkway 4-0 49 3
4. Evangel 2-2 41 5
5. Captain Shreve 3-1 37 4
6. Haughton 2-2 29 6
7. Woodlawn 3-1 23 T8
8. Huntington 2-2 16 7
9. Benton 1-3 14 T8
10. Northwood 1-3 12 NR
Receiving votes: none.    

High school sports aren’t just about the highlights

Insider tip: this week’s Shreveport-Bossier Journal Coaches Roundtable question being pondered by local head football coaches is one they’re enjoying.

“What’s your favorite memory from your football playing career?” Read replies Wednesday.

For today’s local players, it’s easy to suggest a few answers.

  • The senior class at Captain Shreve may not top the end of last Thursday’ 35-28 triumph over arch-rival Byrd. The Gators scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, sandwiched around a fourth-and-2 stop of the Yellow Jackets with 5:04 left, down by 1. It was Shreve’s first win in the Backyard Brawl since 2019.
  • Captain Shreve’s Jamarlon “Bobo” Otis raced 66 yards for the game-winning touchdown one snap after that fourth-down stuff. In the huddle, when Otis heard the “21 Cut” play call, he told Gators’ quarterback Brodie Savage it was going to be a TD. Hey, Bobo, got any ideas about the winning Powerball numbers tonight?
  • Across the Red River, on the same night, Airline QB Ben Taylor tossed seven touchdown passes – in the first half. Even in the recent hyper-charged scoring locally, seven TD throws in a game is amazing. To do that before halftime, against an opponent of Benton’s caliber, is stupendous.
  • Coleman Pratt made an extra point for Haughton in the Bucs’ Sept. 8 win at LaGrange. So what, you’d say, if you hadn’t read John James Marshall’s wonderful “Pratt makes a point, turns Bucs’ win into a bigger deal” story on Sept. 13. If you haven’t, use the search button at the upper left of this page. Pratt has defied the odds and consistently refuses to accept he can’t do something because he’s extra short.

Those are just a few recent examples. One of the joys of high school sports is the ever-present opportunity for young people to be part of achievements that create lasting memories in their lives, and for others. Big victories, and smaller ones. Those on a scoreboard, and those among teammates.

But as much as you wish it was all hugs and high-fives, it’s not.

None of those feats above were conjured up. They resulted from hours, days, months and years of practice, summer workouts, strength and conditioning sessions, and often plenty of time studying game tape, and always, responding to coaching.

One of the most overused phrases in sports: “people don’t know.” In plenty of cases, we do. But it is hard for outsiders to fully appreciate the commitment level, the toughness, the work ethic, the sacrifices, and the ability to learn and improve required not only to produce timeless memories and highlight reel plays, but simply, to go compete game after game, win or lose.

It’s challenging to stick with it when a coach is pushing you harder than you like. To stay the course when the scoreboard sucks. Especially when it sucks game after game.

Respect players, coaches, trainers and managers who keep pushing forward for teams where winning is elusive. Respect kids who aren’t getting to play much, if at all. Or those playing in a role they don’t necessarily like.

The easiest thing is to quit. Some do. They walk away from the work they’ve put in, give up on the experiences they could have. Most often – there can be exceptions – it’s a selfish act to give up, and doing so can open the door to much more dire consequences down the road.

“At some point you’re going to have some adversity, and you have to handle it, you have to conquer it. That’s a life lesson.”  Those were words earlier last week from Captain Shreve coach Adam Kirby, reflecting on how the Gators reacted to a 61-27 walloping by Calvary Baptist a couple weeks earlier.

Those are words that many coaches, in every sport, have shared with their teams and players, for as long as balls have been placed on tees, nets have been strung up on rims, bats have been swung, stopwatches and tape measures have been used, and ankles have been taped.

They should be heeded much more often today than ever. Things go wrong. Decisions, seemingly unfair, get made. Strong words from authority figures are spoken – a.k.a. “real talk.” Pride and ego take a beating. Feelings get hurt.

It’s at least uncomfortable, tough to take. Instead of quitting, it’s infinitely more impressive to face it head on, to listen and learn, to hang in there.

Here’s another well-used coaches’ line: “if I’m on you, it’s because I know you can do better.”

That’s a coach’s job. Not only to make his guys better players, but to help teenagers to keep pushing through struggles, working to succeed.

Those are the victories that matter most. 

Contact Doug at

Local high school football standings

 NICE KNIGHT:  Multi-talented Brandon Henderson Jr. (3) has been a key part of Woodlawn’s 3-1 start. (Journal photo by KEVIN SHANNAHAN)

District competition is underway in 1-5A, 1-4A and 1-1A for local teams.

Football standings
DISTRICT 1-5A Dist. All
Airline 1-0 4-0
Parkway 1-0 4-0
Captain Shreve 1-0 3-1
Natchitoches Central 1-0 2-2
Haughton 0-1 2-2
Benton 0-1 1-3
Byrd 0-1 0-4
Southwood 0-1 0-4
DISTRICT 1-4A Dist. All
North DeSoto 1-0 3-1
Woodlawn 1-0 3-1
Evangel 1-0 2-2
Northwood 1-0 1-3
BTW 0-1 2-2
Huntington 0-1 2-2
Bossier 0-1 1-3
Minden 0-1 0-4
DISTRICT 1-2A Dist. All
Calvary 0-0 4-0
D’Arbonne Woods 0-0 4-0
Lakeside 0-0 3-1
Green Oaks 0-0 1-3
Loyola 0-0 1-3
North Caddo 0-0 1-3
DISTRICT 1-1A Dist. All
Haynesville 1-0 4-0
Homer 1-0 3-1
Ringgold 1-0 3-1
Arcadia 0-0 4-0
Glenbrook 0-1 3-1
Magnolia Charter 0-1 0-4
Plain Dealing 0-4 0-4

Stay in Shreveport was springboard for Jim Hawthorne’s LSU career

By MASON SIEGEL, LSU Athletics Communications

There’s something about the true power of a voice.  For generations of LSU fans, there is no more iconic, more golden voice than Jim Hawthorne’s.

Last Friday night, Hawthorne was awarded the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame Distinguished Honor.

Known as “The Voice of the Tigers,” from 1979-2016, Hawthorne served as the radio play-by-play announcer for LSU football, baseball and men’s basketball. 

Born in Many, Hawthorne moved just south to Anacoco, in the sixth grade. He began his career at radio station KLLA as a senior in high school, serving as the play-by-play announcer for the Leesville High School Wampus Cats football team.

After graduating from high school, Hawthorne worked as a commercial radio broadcaster and DJ for KNOC in Natchitoches, while attending college at Northwestern State.

There, he befriended one of his greatest mentors, the late Norm Fletcher. Fletcher served as a play-by-play announcer for Northwestern State sports for four decades after working as a broadcaster in the U.S. military’s Far East Network during the Korean Conflict.

“I loved him, he was like a big brother to me,” Hawthorne said. “If it weren’t for him, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

With Fletcher as his guide, Hawthorne began calling his first collegiate games, serving as play-by-play announcer for NSU men’s basketball. Hawthorne then moved to Shreveport, where he worked at KWKH, one of the nation’s top 50,000-watt stations, known through much of the country as a home to LSU football as well as for a popular country music program known as the Louisiana Hayride.

While at KWKH, Hawthorne was the play-by-play announcer for Centenary College men’s basketball. He had the opportunity to call games involving future four-time NBA champion center Robert “The Chief” Parish. Hawthorne also handled Texas League baseball games and World Football League contests.

With Hawthorne still living in Shreveport and working for KWKH, the voice of LSU football, John Ferguson, visited KWKH in search of a radio announcer for LSU men’s basketball. It was there that Ferguson requested an audition tape from Hawthorne. A few weeks later, Ferguson returned to Shreveport, where the two met for lunch.

While at lunch, Hawthorne asked Ferguson if the position for LSU basketball had been filled.

“Well, that depends,” said Ferguson. 

“What does it depend on?” asked Hawthorne.

“It depends on if you’ll take the job or not,” responded Ferguson.

Hawthorne accepted the job, and his tenure as a Tiger had begun.

He began calling LSU men’s basketball games during the 1979-80 season. He went on to broadcast three NCAA Final Four appearances (1981, 1986, 2006), seven SEC regular-season championships and one SEC Tournament title.

Hawthorne covered some of college basketball’s most electrifying players, highlighted by NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and a host of others. Hawthorne was also the voice behind the winningest head coach in program history, Dale Brown.

Hawthorne’s success early success with men’s basketball led him to Tiger Stadium, where he worked alongside Ferguson for a short time before becoming the voice of LSU football. From 1983 to 2015, Hawthorne covered LSU’s 22 bowl games, six SEC titles and two national championships (2003, 2007).

Some of Hawthorne’s most famous calls on the football field include the “Earthquake Game” on October 8, 1988, in which the Tiger Stadium crowd’s reaction to LSU’s game-winning touchdown pass against Auburn registered on a seismograph on campus.

In 1984, Hawthorne – who played some college baseball at Northwestern State — became the first play-by-play announcer in the history of LSU baseball. With the arrival of coach Skip Bertman in the same year, LSU baseball rapidly transformed into a national power.

“To see it start as something that people came to because they didn’t have anything else to do,” Hawthorne remembered, “and seeing it develop into the incredible powerhouse that the baseball program became under Skip Bertman was just incredible.

“I’m very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him and for him. I don’t know if my career would’ve ended up the way it did had it not been for him.”

Hawthorne was the voice behind LSU’s first 17 College World Series appearances, six national titles and 11 SEC Tournament championships.

Of all the iconic calls over Hawthorne’s legendary career, no moment quite compares to the Warren Morris walk-off home run in the 1996 CWS finale to capture LSU’s third national title.

“That’s probably the most incredible feeling that I’ve ever had,” Hawthorne said as he recalled the moment. “I don’t know if there will ever be anything quite like it again. I’m just very proud to have been part of it.”

Hawthorne proved himself as one of the all-time greats in the industry. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Lindsey Nelson Award, an honor given to an individual who has exemplified a passion for broadcasting during his or her career.

In 2015, Hawthorne was presented with the Chris Schenkel Award in New York City. The award honors those who have lengthy, illustrious careers as college football broadcasters with ties to a particular university.

Hawthorne’s basketball accomplishments were recognized by the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches with their Mr. Basketball Award, and on June 25, 2016, he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches.

Hawthorne credits his mother, as well as Norm Fletcher, for being integral parts of his success.

“Those two really laid the foundation for me to have had the career that I did,” he said.

The LSU Athletics Hall of Fame Distinguished Honor is icing on the cake.

“I’m very humbled by it,” he said. “It’s an incredible award with incredible recognition, and I’d always hoped I’d be worthy of it.”

Parkway stays perfect, cruising to Brotherton Bowl triumph

(Journal photo by GAVEN HAMMOND,


This year, there was no nerve-wracking finish. And Aaron Burrell’s field goal was a mundane 27-yarder, not a game-winning 50-yard bomb in the final seconds.

Playing at its Preston Crownover Stadium, Parkway opened a four-score halftime lead and cruised to a 24-6 victory in the fourth annual “Brotherton Bowl” District 1-5A battle with Haughton Friday night. The contest pits brothers Coy (Parkway) and Jason (Haughton) against each other as head coaches.

“We played pretty good, offensively and defensively,” said Parkway’s Coy Brotherton. “They were handicapped without (injured starting QB Christian) Turner, but our defensive line got after them.”

So did senior defensive back Ashtin Jackson. He doubled his career interception total with a 50-yard first-half pick six return TD, and added another interception in the fourth quarter as the Parkway defense pitched a shutout.

The Panthers pounded away on a game-opening 15-snap scoring drive to go up 7-0 on C.J. Dudley’s 2-yarder. Five plays later, Jackson’s surprise swipe doubled the lead, which expanded to 21-0 when Parkway mounted another 15-play drive on its second series, with Kaleb Williams scoring from 4 yards out.

Parkway rolled (4-0, 1-0) to a 24-0 halftime advantage, capped by Burrell’s field goal at the horn.

“We knew it was going to be hard to score, hard to sustain drives,” said Haughton’s Jason Brotherton. “But we moved the ball OK. We just couldn’t score. The pick six put us in a hole, and then we were just chasing points, which is tough against a really good defense.”

Haughton’s only tally came when Austin Walton scooped and scored on a 92-yard fumble return TD.

“We played like a physical football team tonight,” said the Parkway coach. “I challenged the kids this week that since we were beginning district, we’d be playing 5A teams week after week and we’d have to be tough, flying around the football defensively, and we’d have to make some physical blocks offensively, have our receivers be a presence in the run game. They responded tonight.”

The brothers do understand the unique pleasure, and pain, of their annual on-field competition.

“It’s pretty special. It’s cool. But I hate playing against him because one of us has to lose,” said younger brother Coy. “I probably like playing earlier than later in the year, but since it’s the first district game one of us starts well and one doesn’t. Once the game starts, you forget he’s over there and coach your team. We shake hands after and tomorrow we’ll get to talking like we normally do.”

The Panthers are unbeaten through Week 4, but there’s not too much swagger in the Parkway camp.

“I’m pleased and cautious at the same time,” said Coy Brotherton. “Last year we were lucky enough to win the first six, but didn’t finish like we wanted to. Our talk all season has been to make sure we’re clicking at the right time, improving every week, and we feel like we have. We are headed in the right direction, but with sophomores at quarterback and running back there’s a lot of upside.”

The District 1-5A season for Parkway continues against Captain Shreve next week. Haughton will try to rebound against Southwood.

NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL 41, SOUTHWOOD 12:  In Natchitoches at Turpin Stadium, the Chiefs raced to a 28-0 halftime lead in a District 1-5A game plagued by 29 penalties for a combined 227 yards – each team had touchdowns wiped out by flags.

Calvary Baptist transfer Owen Smith threw four TD passes, starting with strikes of 16 yards to Dillon Braxton and 13 yards to Cam Davis that got NCHS (2-2, 1-0) up 14-0.

The Cowboys closed to 14-6 in the second quarter on a Michael Morgan Jr. 11-yard toss to Detanion Arkansas, but the Chiefs pulled away.  A 25-yard flea flicker pass from Smith to Davis was a highlight. Tailback Zion Thompson later tallied on a 46-yard run and added another TD on an 11-yard scamper.

Davis caught his third scoring strike from Smith, a 27-yarder, with eight minutes remaining. Smith finished with 221 yards passing on 16 of 19 aim, with David accounting for 144 of those yards on eight snags.

Three touchdowns were erased by penalties on Southwood (0-4, 0-1), which got a 7-yard DeTravion Williams TD run a minute before the game ended.

The Chiefs host Airline next Friday. Southwood gets Haughton as 1-5A competition continues.

Falcons finally take flight, score District 1-4A win over Raiders


The Northwood Falcons made their 2023 debut Friday night.

Four games in, coach Austin Brown’s team picked a fine time to find its stride and post its first victory, a 27-12 decision over Huntington at Independence Stadium in the District 1-4A opener.

“It was good to finally see Northwood football for the first time all season,” said Brown, whose young team dropped its first three outings, two close losses before a blowout last week at Airline.

The district matchup against the Raiders was fraught with danger.

“They have speed, and we were well aware of that. We weren’t able to do a very good job last week with Airline’s speed and big-play ability,” said Brown. “The focus all week was to stay disciplined and in technique, but really the major focus was the will to win. We were 0-3, but we were only a few points away from 2-1.

“You could feel the kids had that taste in the first half. They might not have quite understood yet what it took to win, but they could feel it. Now our job is to make sure they understand what they were feeling and to keep it going.”

The Falcons and Raiders traded scores, although Northwood never trailed and carried a 14-12 advantage into halftime. Afterwards, playing keepaway from the explosive Huntington attack proved a winning strategy.

“In the second half we were able to be more effective offensively, do what we wanted,” said Brown, “and run some clock. We slowed our tempo when we had a solid lead.”

The outcome reversed last year’s, when Huntington topped Northwood on a day that Brown will always remember fondly – despite that defeat.

“My son (Braxton ‘Cooter’ Brown) was born last year at 1 o’clock, and I made it to the game about 30 minutes before kickoff,” he recalled.

“He didn’t get to start life off very well. So this week, the boys said, ‘it’s personal. We’ve gotta win one for Cooter’ and for his first birthday, he went 1-0.”

The Falcons (1-3, 1-0) celebrate homecoming against Bossier next week, then face Evangel. The Raiders (2-2, 0-1) visit Minden next Friday before meeting BTW to start October.

Eagles bounce back, bomb Bearkats in 1-4A opener


Evangel Christian Academy and Bossier may have entered Friday’s contest at Rodney Duron Field with 1-2 records, but ECA made sure to differentiate itself on the field in a big way. 

The Eagles dumped 35 first-half points on the Bearkats and coasted through to open District 1-4A play. 

Evangel’s (2-2, 1-0) offense got back on track after scoring 12 points last week in a loss to Westgate.  

“It was extremely important to start fast tonight after we ran out of gas in the fourth quarter against Westgate,” said Evangel coach Denny Duron. “Our passing game was clicking early in the game. 

“Our defense recorded a shutout, and honestly, everyone played well on that side of the ball. Jacob Wilson was especially dominant on that side of the ball, and our defensive coordinator rightly pointed out that there’s plenty of praise to go around.” 

Bossier’s offense has scored just six points combined in the last three weeks after winning a shootout with North Caddo in the season-opener. 

The shutout is the Eagles’ second of the season after blanking Mansfield in Week 2. 

The Bearkats (1-3, 0-1) were shut out for the second straight week. 

Evangel quarterback Peyton Fulgham threw for 342 yards on 12-16 passing and five touchdowns.  

“This was the best game our receivers have played as a unit,” Duron said. “Our guys just played so hard, and I can’t say enough about their effort on both sides of the ball.” 

Evangel gets Woodlawn in Week 5 while Bossier heads to Northwood in its fourth straight road game. 

Friday’s high school football scoreboard

(Journal photo by GAVEN HAMMOND,


Friday’s scores 


Calvary 21, Wossman 6 
Evangel 49, Bossier 0 
Homer 48, Magnolia 12 
Loyola 35, Red River 18 
Natchitoches Central 41, Southwood 12 
Neville 54, North Caddo 0 
Northwood 27, Huntington 12 
Parkway 24, Haughton 6 
Ringgold 54, Plain Dealing 6 
Woodlawn 26, BTW 8 


ASH 21, East Ascension 14 
Arcadia 44, Bolton 0 
Barbe 20, Pineville 13 
Beekman Charter 21, Northwood-Lena 20 
Brother Martin 31, Ouachita 13 
Cedar Creek 22, Delhi 12 
Haynesville 34, Glenbrook 14 
Jena 32, Winnfield 20 
Lakeside 41, Block 34
Lakeview 36, LaSalle 34 
Logansport 32, Mansfield 24 
Newman 49, Many 31 
North DeSoto 51, Minden 0 
North Webster 28, Richwood 6 
Oak Grove 63, Rayville 26 
Ouachita Christian 59, Tensas 0 
Sterlington 46, Carroll 6 
St. Frederick 43, Delhi Charter 8 
Union Parish 41, Bastrop 14 

Tigers try to continue recent form as Hogs visit

WINNING VIBE:  LSU defensive tonesetters Mekhi Wingo (18) and Harold Perkins Jr. have the Tigers back in stride after two lopsided wins heading into tonight’s home contest against Arkansas (Photo by GUS STARK, LSU Athletics)

By RON HIGGINS, Journal Sports

BATON ROUGE — LSU’s football opponent changes weekly – SEC West foe Arkansas is on the menu here tonight at 6 p.m. in Tiger Stadium — but Tigers’ head coach Brian Kelly’s approach rarely wavers.

“We’ve made some tweaks and adjustments like anybody would along the way to prepare our football team in a manner that when it’s time to play,” Kelly said, “they play with a competitive edge, not only execute not but do things necessary to win football games.

The 12th-ranked Tigers (2-1 overall, 1-0 in the SEC) are almost three weeks removed from having a cold bucket of reality tossed on them in the form of a 45-24 season-opening loss to Florida State in Orlando on Sept. 3.

With 9 million viewers watching with LSU-FSU as the only game being televised that Sunday night, the then-No. 4 ranked Tigers failed miserably in just about every area.

Since then, much has changed.

Harold Perkins Jr. has moved back to SAM linebacker so he can roam free to disrupt offenses. The offensive line has returned to playing to its experience level. Injuries have forced new stars to emerge such as true freshmen Whit Weeks at linebacker and running back Kaleb Jackson who teams with Notre Dame transfer Logan Diggs to provide a viable rushing attack.

Then there’s senior starting quarterback Jayden Daniels. Though he wasn’t a reason why LSU lost to FSU – he accounted for 439 yards of the Tigers’ 460 yards total offense – he has since tightened the screws on his execution.

Not counting running out the clock in the first half of last Saturday’s 41-14 win at Mississippi State, Daniels has led LSU to points on his last 13 of 14 series with 11 touchdowns and two field goals.

“We showcase what we can do if we execute a high level,” said Daniels, who in the last two games vs. Grambling and MSU completed 48 of 58 passes for 650 yards, 7 TDs and 0 interceptions and rushed for 93 yards and 2 TDs on 20 carries. “We go out there and we’re communicating. When all 11 guys are in the right place at the right time, good things can happen.”

Daniels has only been sacked three times in the last two games after getting sacked four times in the opening loss to FSU. LSU’s rushing attack, which managed just 3.1 yards per carry from its three running backs vs. FSU, got a combined 5.6 yards per carry from its backs against Grambling and Mississippi State.

It hasn’t just been elevating Diggs and Jackson to the top of the running back rotation. The offensive line is now playing like a starting unit with a combined 93 college starts.

“Our communication got a lot better (after the FSU loss),” LSU starting center Charles Turner said. “The flow of practice (the Tigers had a full-contact practice on the Tuesday before the MSU game) got a lot better. It taught us to start fast. The whole time (vs. MSU), we were just trying to set the tone and play nasty.”

LSU’s defense has had its own set of challenges. It was torched by Florida State’s taller receivers. Perkins, starting game one in his new role, looked lost and was ineffective. New faces have been plugged in to replace injured starting linebacker Omar Speights (lower-body injury) and starting safety Greg Brooks Jr. who underwent emergency surgery last Friday to remove a brain tumor.

With all that weighing on the Tigers’ defenders, their challenge this weekend is neutralizing Arkansas senior quarterback KJ Jefferson, a 6-3, 247-pound fifth-year senior who’ll be making his 30th college start vs. LSU.

As one of the best and certainly most physical dual-threat QBs, Arkansas generally goes as Jefferson goes. He’s three TDs shy of breaking Matt Jones’ career record for touchdown responsibility.

“KJ is a pretty big quarterback,” LSU starting defensive end Sai’vion Jones said. “We can’t just go in and tackle high and expect to bring him down. The emphasis is to make sure we hit him nice and low and that the backside pursuit always runs to the ball. Don’t assume he’s down.”

Jefferson, who puts his body on the line every game, is a bit banged up from last Saturday’s 38-31 home loss to BYU.

He missed last season’s game vs. LSU, a 13-10 Tigers victory in Fayetteville. Daniels, who had been sick most of the week before the game, had one of his worst outings of the season. Perkins saved the day for the Tigers with one of the best individual defensive performances (3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles) in school history.

The way Arkansas fought that day gives Hogs’ coach Sam Pittman hope as his 2-1 squad begins SEC play. He’s doing his best to forget his team committed 14 penalties in the loss to BYU.

“We were dealt a hand (with Jefferson’s absence in last year’s game vs. LSU),” said Pittman, whose Razorbacks beat the Tigers 16-13 in overtime two years ago in Tiger Stadium. “But we played a physical, good game and I think that we’ll do the same thing this time. We’ve got a good football team. We lost a game and we’ve got to go get our pride back and get our respect back.” 


5: Punts this year by LSU, the fewest in the FBS. 

13: Consecutive wins for LSU when the Tigers for 200 or more yards. 

14-0: Arkansas record under third-year head coach Sam Pittman when the Hogs win the turnover battle. 

15: First-quarter completions by LSU QB Jayden Daniels last week vs. Mississippi State, the most completions in any quarter in Tigers’ football history. 

74: Career TDs for Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson, including 53 passing and 24 rushing.

Contact Ron at

Offensively-challenged Green Oaks, North Caddo, Plain Dealing, Magnolia fall on road


Points were hard to come by Friday night as two local teams were shut out and a couple others combined to score only 18 points in road contests. 

Turnovers were among the undoing for Green Oaks’ trip to Alexandria in a 47-0 loss to Peabody that had the Giants throwing three interceptions.  

The Warhorses (3-1) scored 27 points in the second quarter after taking a 7-0 first-quarter lead. The hosts got a couple of passing touchdowns before returning an interception for six and a 19-0 advantage.  

Green Oaks (1-3) failed to convert a fourth down on its own end of the field and Peabody capitalized with its third passing touchdown of the first half.

After another Giants drive stalled, the Warhorses got a long run to set up a short plunge and take a 33-0 score into the locker room. 

Green Oaks was able to settle down in the second half but the three interceptions helped keep the Giants from getting any deeper than the Peabody 43 all night.  

NEVILLE 54, NORTH CADDO 0: At Bill Ruple Stadium in Monroe, the outmanned Titans found a similar fate, falling behind to the Class 4A No. 3 ranked Tigers 14-0 in the first two minutes of the game thanks in part to a fumble return for a score. North Caddo trailed 41-0 by halftime.  

North Caddo falls to 1-3 and will be back home next to face West Ouachita. Neville stays undefeated at 4-0 and will host rival Ruston next Friday.  

RINGGOLD 54, PLAIN DEALING 6: The Redskins left little doubt in the District 1-1A opener for both teams, winning their third game of the year in four outings. The Lions dropped to 0-4, 0-1 and will have to travel to Haynesville (4-0, 1-0) next week. 

HOMER 48, MAGNOLIA 12: The Mariners scored a season high but it wasn’t enough to keep from falling to 0-4, 0-1 in 1-1A. The Pelicans (3-1, 1-0) had their second highest output on the season and will travel to face Ringgold next Friday. Magnolia will host Mansfield next week who will also be looking for its first win of the season.  

Grambling gets into SWAC season today at home

TOP TIGER: Chance Williams leads GSU with 187 yards and a score on 25 carries this season. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT, Lincoln Parish Journal)

By T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT, Journal Sports

GRAMBLING — It’s about to get real in “The Hole,” otherwise known as Eddie G. Robinson Stadium on the campus of Grambling State University.

Grambling opens Southwestern Athletic Conference Play at 2 p.m. today by playing host to Texas Southern.

The G-Men (1-2) will be looking for a second straight win for only the second time in two seasons under former NFL coach Hue Jackson.

Last year, in his first year as head coach at GSU, Jackson led Grambling to back-to-back wins only once, defeating Alcorn State 35-6 before downing Arkansas-Pine Bluff 36-10 with both games being played in at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium.

Texas Southern defeated Grambling 41-7 last year in Houston.

Grambling is coming off a 58-20  home win over Florida Memorial, but Jackson knows his team will be better tested against Texas Southern, which enters the game at 0-3 after falling last week 59-7 at Rice.

After falling to Prairie View 39-37 to open the season, TSU has lost its past two games by a combined score of 130-10 including a 71-7 drubbing at Toledo in Week 2.

One big question for Grambling heading into the contest will be who will get the start at quarterback for TSU.

Andrew Body started the season opener against Prairie View, completing 18-of-38 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions while adding 64 yards on 10 carries.

But  Body was apparently injured late in the game against Prairie View, giving way to Jace Wilson, who has thrown for a combined 196 yards and one touchdown on 39 passing attempts the past two weeks.

“We’re waiting to hear what the doctors are going to allow him to do,” said TSU coach Ted McKinney about the possibility of Body returning to the gridiron against Grambling during a SWAC weekly video conference. “It’s going to be a gametime decision. “We’re going to do what we do offensively. We have confidence in both Andrew and Jace. Our scheme is our scheme. We recruited those guys to play in our system.”

Whoever gets the start at quarterback for TSU against Grambling will likely be targeting Jyrin Johnson, who hauled in four passes for 49 yards and Texas Southern’s lone score against Toledo.

There’s no question who will get the start under center for Grambing against Texas Southern. Myles Crawley has thrown for six touchdowns with only one interception this season for the G-Men and is averaging 224.3 passing yards per game.

Grambling features a two-headed rushing attack in sophomores Chance Williams and Floyd Chalk IV.

Williams leads GSU with 187 yards and a score on 25 carries while Chalk has added 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 attempts.

Crawley will likely continue to spread the ball around after tossing touchdowns to six different receivers this season. Antonio Jones leads the G-Men with 14 catches for 162 yards but has yet to haul in a score this season.

Jackson will be looking for more from his defense, which had trouble at times slowing Florida Memorial’s rushing attack last week and is giving up 271.3 yards on the ground per game so far this season.

The head G-Man is also looking for more out of his “12th Man” in Grambling’s second home game of the season.

“We need everybody to be here against Texas Southern,” Jackson said. “We went to Houston last year and they beat us. Now they’re a good team coming here this weekend. We need more fans in the stands. We need more people screaming and yelling and making sure they root us on to victory.”

Can’t stop thinkin’ about the ‘Troy Edwards game’ as Bulldogs return to Lincoln

UP CLOSE:  Louisiana Tech defensive back Myles Heard peers into the North Texas quarterback’s eyes before a snap in last week’s loss to the Eagles. (Photo by JOSH McDANIEL, Louisiana Tech)

By MALCOLM BUTLER, Lincoln Parish Journal

LINCOLN, Neb. — Twenty-five years ago, Louisiana Tech fans watched one of the greatest performances in the history of college football when Tim Rattay and Troy Edwards teamed up to torch the Nebraska Cornhuskers for what are still today NCAA single game records.

Rattay threw for 590 yards with an NCAA single game mark of 405 of those going to Edwards, the Shreveport-Huntington product who was on his way to the 1998 Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver.

None of the current day Bulldogs were even alive when that performance took place at Memorial Stadium, a 56-27 win by the Cornhuskers.

Fast forward and Louisiana Tech returns to the scene of that offensive crime today when Sonny Cumbie and Co. face the present-day Huskers at 2:30 p.m. in a game that will be on the Big Ten Network.

Coincidentally enough, Troy Edwards son, Tru, is on this Tech team and will be making the trip to Lincoln.

However, it’s another Bulldog receiver that Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule specifically mentioned during his weekly press conference earlier in the week.

“They are going to get the ball into Smoke Harris’ hands,” Rhule told Nebraska beat writers. “He is one of the more dynamic players that you will see.”

Truer words have not been spoken. Harris has caught 24 passes for 288 yards and three scores this season through the first four games. His ability to make defenders miss has led to multiple big time plays, including the 36-yard scoring catch that tied the ballgame against North Texas in the final two minutes last week.

“It is a high compliment and high praise,” said Tech coach Sonny Cumbie on Tuesday when talking to Bulldog beat writers. “Coach Rhule is a phenomenal coach. I competed against him when he was at Baylor. He has done a phenomenal job in terms of rebuilding programs and is very clear on what he wants in his programs and how he wants his teams to play. He has seen a lot of football coming from the Carolina Panthers. For him to say that about Smoke I think it is a very high compliment.”

Harris may not touch Edwards 405-yard record today, but in order for the Bulldogs to have a chance to come out on top, the sixth-year senior will need to make some plays — whether on special teams and/or in the slot receiver position.

Cumbie points to Harris’ passion for playing football as a key for his success.

“It is a lot of joy to coach someone who practices the same way he plays with a lot of intensity and a lot of speed,” said Cumbie. “I kid our guys all the time if you talk about the guys that have played a lot of football. There is a lot of miles on those tires. He has a lot of miles on his tires and he is still running like he is brand new. It shows his passion for the game.”

Today’s game is the final non-conference game for Tech (2-2) as the Bulldogs will then play seven straight CUSA contests, including the next four on non-traditional midweek dates. Today starts a stretch where Tech plays four games in 17 days.

The Bulldogs could be without starting QB Hank Bachmeier, who is still recovering from an injury suffered in the third quarter of last week’s loss to North Texas. Red-shirt sophomore Jack Turner could get his first college start. Turner completed 9-of-14 passes last week in 20 minutes of gametime while throwing for one TD and running for a second.

“They are the opposite of us,” said Rhule. “They are going to drop back and throw it. They are going to spin it. They are going to play with tempo. They will run it too. They are going to RPO you. Offensively, they will present us with a lot of challenges.”

Nebraska (1-2) will look to pound the football on the ground. The Cornhuskers have utilized a pair of signal callers through the first three games but have settled on Heinrich Haarberg.

“We are going to have to figure out ways to get extra hats in the box,” said Cumbie.  “Both quarterbacks do a great job of running the football with zone reads and quarterback draws and with quarterback power. We are going to have to find ways to get extra hats to the box.”

Rhule said the Bulldogs defense will present some obstacles.

“Defensively, they are going to bring pressure,” said Rhule. “They are going to play man. They are going to challenge you. They are going to try to disrupt you.”

Airline’s win is Taylor-made (even without a scoreboard)

BOMBS AWAY: Airline’s Ben Taylor lets loose with a touchdown on the opening play of the game. (Journal photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL)


One way or another, Thursday was going to be a rough day for the scoreboard at Airline Stadium.

As it turned out, it’s probably a good idea that the scoreboard took the night off rather than deal with the assault the Vikings were putting up in the first half.

A power surge near the stadium around noon actually put the game in jeopardy for a few hours and the game was played with just enough lighting to get by, sans scoreboard, game clock and play clock.

Not that any of those really mattered.

But there was enough electricity supplied from the Vikings’ offense to make this pretty clear: The Airline offense is a handful. That is, unless you aren’t impressed by 54 points.

In the first half.

The Vikings scored early and often in opening the District 1-5A season with a 60-35 win over Benton that was even more one-sided than the score might appear.

Here was the night for Airline quarterback Ben Taylor: Complete 17 of 23 passes in the first half, throw for 455 yards, have seven touchdown passes, play one series in the second half and do nothing but handoff and then take the rest of the night off.

Is that any good?

“There’s not many more things you can say about him,” said Airline coach Justin Scogin. “Last year, he really didn’t know all the ins and outs of the offense. He made up his mind this year to learn everything that’s going on and that’s a huge reason he’s having the success he’s having.”

The highest passer rating an NFL quarterback can possibly have in a game is 158.3. Taylor’s was 155.3 – in one half.

It would almost be boring to go through the progression of scores that the Vikings put on the board, but there were two moments of particular note that told the story of the night for the junior quarterback and the Airline offense.

On the first play of the game, Taylor found Jarvis Davis on a perfectly executed fade route down the near sideline that resulted in a 63-yard touchdown. It was a play that should be used as a tutorial on how to throw the pass and run the route. The Benton defender had it played well, yet had no chance. Zero.

It wasn’t as if the Airline staff had planned on opening with that play all week.

“They came out in a look we weren’t expecting,” Taylor said. “There was no high safety, so we called the fade.”

“We throw the fade at least 100 times a day,” Scogin said. “And I’m not kidding. We start practice throwing the fade, we throw it during practice and we throw it in group. When you take it serious in practice, you get really good at throwing it. He (Taylor) knows exactly how to throw it and where to put it.”

The other play of significance had far less fanfare; in fact, it was hardly even noticeable. Late in the second quarter, Taylor threw a pass to tight end Bob Patterson that was, well, flat out dropped.

Patterson was pretty dejected after the ball hit the ground but even though it was 20 yards downfield, Taylor ran all the way to Patterson to pat him on the helmet and then jogged with him back to the line of scrimmage.

The Vikings scored anyway on that series (like they did every series in the first half) and when they went back to the sideline, Taylor made it a point to find Patterson.

“I just told him to keep his head up,” Taylor said. “I told him I was going to throw him a touchdown when we back out. I had no idea we’d actually do it, but we did.”

With 1:42 to go in the half, Airline got the ball again and on the fifth play, guess who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Taylor for his only reception of the game: Bob Patterson.

With a 54-21 lead at halftime, the Vikings did not throw a pass during the entire second half.

Taylor had three receivers with 100-yard nights: Bryson Broom (155), Davis (138) and Tre Jackson (124).

Contact JJ at


B             7              14           0              14           — 35

A             27           27           6              0              — 60

A – Jarvis Davis 63 pass from Ben Taylor (Preston Doerner kick)

A – Bryson Broom 60 pass from Taylor (Doerner kick)

B – Jeff King 27 run (Will Petro kick)

A – Tre Jackson 13 pass from Taylor (Doerner kick)

A – Broom 22 pass from Taylor (kick failed)

A – Jackson 59 pass from Taylor (Doener kick)

B – Trey Smith 28 pass from King (Petro kick)

A – Broom 47 pass from Taylor (kick failed)

B – King 1 run (Petro kick)

A – Jackson 4 run (Doerner kick)

A – Bob Patterson 38 pass from Taylor (Doerner kick)

A – Brandon Cooper 9 run (kick failed)

B – Caden Lee (Petro kick)

 B – Jordan Johnson 4 pass from Malachi Zeigler (Petro kick) 

RUSHING: Benton (40-315), Manning 22-110, 14-114, Conner Jeter 10-49, Lee 6-42, Zeigler 2-0. Airline (19-159), Cooper 7-125, Jackson 4-30, Derrian Milligan 3-13, Broom 1-11, Christian Moore 1-8, Austin Smith 1-minus-2, Team 1-minus-18. 

PASSING: Benton (15-25-1-146-1), King 14-24-1-142-0, Zeigler 1-1-0-4-1. Airline (17-23-0-455-6), Taylor 17-23-0-455-7. 

RECEIVING: Benton, Manning 6-66, Smith 4-48, Jones 2-13, Chandler 2-23, Johnson 1-4. Airline, Broom 6-155, Davis 5-138, Jackson 5-124, Bob Patterson 1-38.

Thursday’s high school football scoreboard 

FULL STEAM AHEAD: Before getting sidelined with an apparent arm injury in the second half, Byrd fullback Dixon Poirier plows forward Thursday night at Independence Stadium. (Journal photo by GAVEN HAMMOND,


Airline 60, Benton 35 
Captain Shreve 35, Byrd 28 


Jonesboro-Hodge 40, Lincoln Prep 0 
Mangham 36, General Trass 30 
St. Mary’s 21, DeQuincy 12 


Central-BR 67, East Jefferson 0 
Dunham 29, Ascension Catholic 28 
Episcopal 55, Port Allen 19 
Lake Arthur 27, Delcambre 12 
Loreauville 17, North Vermilion 10 
Oberlin 41, Merryville 12 
Riverdale 41, Frederick Douglass 14 
The Willow 47, Capitol 0 
Warren Easton 28, BTW-NO 6 
West Feliciana 41, Tara 14 

Having a little something extra to play for

Whether you are a player, coach or fan, it’s the game you look for with red pen in hand when you scan the upcoming high school football schedule.

There are usually 10 games listed, but one jumps out like it is printed in neon. THAT game.

Here in the middle of September, the rivalry stars have aligned for local high school football, proving that big games aren’t necessarily played at the end of the year.

The Soul Bowl was last week.

Byrd vs. Captain Shreve was last night. So was Airline vs. Benton.

The Brotherton Bowl is tonight.

Depending on who you talk to, these are “just another game” or a season-maker. You certainly got the impression that it was a season-maker for Booker T. Washington last week when the Lions came away with a 12-6 win over Green Oaks in the Soul Bowl.

More than any of the others, that’s a game you have to see to fully appreciate. If everything goes right for BTW this year and they were to clinch a district championship, it is very possible that the celebration would not match the one they had at Leonard C. Barnes Stadium.

“This is our Bayou Classic,” said BTW coach Gary Cooper in referencing the Grambling-Southern game played every year in the Superdome.

Byrd and Shreve students have been known to perform various shenanigans in the days leading up to their game. Even though Shreve coach Adam Kirby tries to downplay the significance with the ol’ “it’s big because it’s a district game,” that seems to fall on deaf eyes.

It’s a nice try, but that doesn’t change overnight.

Once upon a time, there was a definitive separation between Airline and Benton. Now, not so much. The line between north Bossier and Benton has just about disappeared. Benton was once a little Class 2A school in the country. Now they are both in Class 5A and it has become neighbor vs. neighbor.

Not quite brother vs. brother. Oh wait, that is happening with the Brotherton Bowl. Jason’s Haughton Buccaneers will travel to Parkway to meet little brother Coy’s team. The teams are a combined 5-1; there’s no telling what the Jason-vs.-Coy-in-the-backyard-as-kids record is.

Are too much made of these games, as Shreve’s Kirby has suggested? From the outside looking in, maybe so. But there is nothing wrong with having a little something extra to play for.

All games are not created equal and with the neutering of district games by the ever-changing LHSAA formats, having something that gets the blood boiling does make you want to make sure you leave those three hours open on your personal schedule.

You also have to learn to appreciate them while you can because a redistricting is always right around the corner. Coaches these days are always conscious of accumulating power points when constructing a schedule. They’d much rather try to improve their potential playoff chances than worry about trying to keep a rivalry game going in a non-district schedule.

The exception, of course, is BTW and Green Oaks. Even though the Lions are 4A and the Giants are 2A, they are going to play. (The rest of these are District 1-5A games, so it’s just a matter of where those dates fall in the district rotation.)

How important are these games? Probably just depends on whether you have the bigger number on the scoreboard when it’s over.

Contact JJ at

Haughton-Parkway Brotherton Bowl matchup is spicy 1-5A opener

BIGFOOT:  Parkway’s Aaron Burrell is one of the country’s top placekickers, and nailed a game-winning 50-yarder last year to beat Haughton.


Parkway will host Haughton tonight in a District 1-5A opener and a battle that has been labeled the Brotherton Bowl.  

It is the third meeting between head coaching brothers Coy Brotherton of the Panthers and Jason Brotherton of the Bucs. Last year’s contest was settled by a 50-yard Aeron Burrell field goal with three seconds left for a 17-14 Parkway triumph between the pines in Haughton.

Parkway has shutouts the last two weeks in posting a 3-0 record while Haughton lost an overtime game last week after winning its first two.  

Southwood is on the road to Natchitoches Central to try and stop its 29-game losing streak. The Chiefs have lost their last two after winning the season opener. 

Plain Dealing (0-3) is at Ringgold (2-1) and Magnolia (0-3) at Homer (2-1) to open District 1-1A play.  

HAUGHTON (2-1) at PARKWAY (3-0), Preston Crownover Stadium  

Series: Haughton leads 35-16  

Last year: Parkway won 17-14  

Last week: Parkway beat Bossier 51-0; Haughton lost to Many 45-42, 2OT  

Rankings: Parkway is No. 3 in SBJ poll; Haughton No. 6 in SBJ poll  

Power rankings: Haughton No. 40 Non-Select Div. I; Parkway No. 21 in Non-Select Div. I   

Radio: none  

Notable: It’s time for another version of the Brotherton Bowl (head coaches and brothers, Coy (Parkway) and Jason (Haughton) … Coy won last year’s meeting to lead in the head-to-head matchups 2-1 … The Panthers have two straight shutouts after squeaking past Minden in their opener 43-41 … Both teams average more than 40 points per game with Haughton coming in at 44.3 and Parkway 42.3 … Parkway RB Antonio Gladney is third in the area with 331 yards rushing and six touchdowns …Haughton will be without its leading rusher QB Christian Turner, who is out with an ankle injury. Turner leads the team with 262 yards rushing and has passed for 553 yards. 

SOUTHWOOD (0-3) at NATCHITOCHES CENTRAL (1-2), Turpin Stadium  

Series: Natchitoches Central 23-9  

Last year: Natchitoches Central 27-0  

Last week: Natchitoches Central lost to ASH 56-14; Southwood lost to Carroll 38-16  

Rankings: none  

Power rankings: Southwood No. 30 in Select Div. I; NCHS No. 34 in Non-Select Division I  

Radio: Natchitoches ( live)   

Notable: District 1-5A opener for both teams … Southwood will try to stop its losing streak at 29 games …The Cowboys averages only 9.3 points per game while the Chiefs average 27…. NCHS quarterback Owen Smith, a sophomore transfer from Calvary Baptist, has thrown for 704 yards on 49-of-79 passes Camryn Davis has 24 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns … both teams have new coaches, Mike Green for Southwood and former Many coach Jess Curtis in Natchitoches.


Series: Plain Dealing 21-5  

 Last year: Ringgold 36-34  

Last week: Ringgold beat Tensas 50-14; Plain Dealing lost to Lakeside 51-20 

Rankings: none  

Power rankings: Plain Dealing No. 39 in Non-Select Div. IV; Ringgold 25 in Non-Select Div. IV  

Radio: none  

Notable:   Plain Dealing hopes to end an 18-game losing skid …Its last win was against Ringgold in 2021 38-6 … The Lions scored their first points of the season in last week’s 51-20 loss against Lakeside … Ringgold is averaging 31.3 points per game. 

MAGNOLIA (0-3) at HOMER (2-1)  

Series: Homer 4-0  

Last year: Homer 47-0  

Last week: Homer beat General Trass 55-38; Magnolia lost to East Iberville 52-8  

Rankings: Homer is No. 5 in LSWA 1A poll  

Power rankings: Magnolia No. 31 Select Div. IV; Homer No. 20 in Non-Select Div. IV   

Radio: none  

Notable:  Magnolia has only managed to score once in each of the last two games … Homer is averaging 34 points per game … The Pelicans have lost one district game in each of the last three seasons.  

Huntington-Northwood tops opening night in 1-4A 

 LOOKING FOR SUCCESS:  Northwood coach Austin Brown and the Falcons have a winless mark entering Week 4 and district play, but that 0-3 record might be deceiving. (Journal photo by GAVEN HAMMOND,


Huntington hosts Northwood tonight at Independence Stadium to highlight the District 1-4A opening slate. 

The Falcons (0-3) will be out to break into the win column and Raiders (2-1) want to get back in it to start district play. 

Evangel (1-2) played a tough non-district slate and has losses to pair of the state’s best teams on the road. ECA hosts Bossier (1-2) tonight at Rodney Duron Stadium. 

Woodlawn and BTW will play at Leonard C. Barnes Stadium with both looking to build on non-district success in what will be a statement game for the winner. 

North Caddo (1-2), after blasting Bolton 62-0 last week, is on the road to Monroe to play 4A power Neville (3-0) in a non-district game.  

NORTHWOOD (0-3) vs. HUNTINGTON (2-1) Independence Stadium  

Series: Huntington 16-7  

Last year: Huntington 28-20  

Last week: Huntington lost to Neville 50-20; Northwood lost to Airline 48-14  

Rankings: Huntington is No. 7 in SBJ poll  

Radio: none  

Power rankings: Northwood No. 25 in Select Div. I; Huntington No. 18 in Select Div. I  

Notable: Both teams lost to undefeated teams last week … last time the Falcons lost their first four games to start a season was 2003, when they lost the first seven games … last time Northwood won in the series was 2018 … both teams like airing it out. Huntington QB Lorenzo White has passed for 677 yards and eight touchdowns, Northwood’s Hutson Hearron has 440 passing yards … Kaleb Tucker leads Huntington receivers with 13 catches for 301 yards and five touchdowns; Tucker McCabe tops Northwood with 12 receptions for 181 yards.  

BOSSIER (1-2) at EVANGEL (1-2), Rodney Duron Stadium  

Series: Evangel 7-0  

Last year: Evangel 39-14  

Last week: Evangel lost to Westgate 34-12; Bossier lost to Parkway 51-0  

 Rankings: Evangel is No. 5 in SBJ poll  

Power rankings: Bossier No. 17 in Non-Select Div. II; Evangel No. 14 in Select Div. II  

Radio: none  

Notable: Bossier has not scored an offensive touchdown in two games ….Evangel QB Peyton Fulghum is third in the area with 815 yards passing and twin brother Parker Fulghum has 24 catches, good for second in the area, and leads in the area with 389 yards … The Eagles played on the road against ranked teams in two of their first three games. 

WOODLAWN (2-1) at BTW (2-1), Leonard C. Barnes Stadium  

Series: Woodlawn 30-17  

Last year: Woodlawn 38-8   

Last week: BTW beat Green Oaks 12-6; Woodlawn beat Red River 38-28  

Rankings: Woodlawn tied 8th in SBJ poll; BTW No. 10 in SBJ poll  

Power rankings: Woodlawn No. 26 in Select Div. II; BTW No. 15 in Select Div. II   

Radio: none  

Notable: Both schools have won their last two … the Knights average just shot of 33 points a game, BTW 21.3 per game … BTW senior linebacker Andrew Houston has defensive TDs in each of the last two games … Woodlawn last won three straight in 2021, its only wins that season. 

NORTH CADDO (1-2) at NEVILLE (3-0), Bill Ruple Stadium  

Series: Neville 3-0  

Last year: Neville 50-24  

Last week: North Caddo beat Bolton 62-0; Neville beat Huntington 50-20  

Rankings: Neville No. 3 in LSWA 4A poll  

Power rankings: Neville No. 3 in Non-Select Div. I; North Caddo NO. 31 in Select Div. III  

Radio: North Caddo (KNCB 1320 AM, K104FM)  

Notable: North Caddo dismantled Bolton for its first win of the season last week in the Titans’ home debut … The 62 points marked the third straight year the Titans have scored 60 or more in a game … It was head coach Chase Thompson’s first win as a head coach … Quarterback Mason Jackson has 322 passing yards and 230 rushing yards.

Ready or not, District 1-5A opens tonight

ACTION JACKSON: Airline running back Tre Jackson leads the Vikings into the district opener. (Journal photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL)


Airline coach Justin Scogin has a theory about the flow of the prep football season.

“When you start the season, you know you aren’t going to play your best football in Weeks 1 and 2,” Scogin said. “You just try to maintain until you can hit on both sides. Last week we finally played a full game on both sides of the ball.”

His team will be among the four playing tonight and his theory has seemed to apply to each.

The Vikings will take on Benton (1-2) at 7 o’clock at M.D. Ray Stadium and Tigers coach Reynolds Moore said before and after last week’s game against Newman that he is still looking for his team to put it all together.

At Independence Stadium, Captain Shreve (2-1) will take on Byrd and the Gators have been another perfect example – sluggish in the opening game, overwhelmed in the second game and then seemed to put it all together last week in a 34-20 win over Union Parish.

“At some point you’re going to have some adversity, and you have to handle it, you have to conquer it,” Shreve coach Adam Kirby said. “That’s a life lesson our kids are taking to heart and that makes me very proud of them.”

Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets (0-3) have been all over the place, with a slow start at Pleasant Grove in the opener, scoring 43 in the second game and still losing to Huntington before falling behind by two touchdowns before the offense even had the ball last week against Calvary.

The Vikings have been able to survive the early season ups-and-downs to maintain a perfect record through three games.

“We were able to play well in spurts on both sides of the ball in the first two games,” Scogin said. “But we weren’t really able to play a full game. Now, part of that was who we played. (North DeSoto and Union Parish) are two of the best teams in their class in the state.”

The Vikings have put 149 points on the board so far in three games, but they’ll be up against a Benton team that seemed to start figuring things out last week in a 37-27 loss to Newman. One of the things the Tigers have known for a long time is to get the ball in the hands of running back Greg Manning, who had 224 yards rushing and three touchdowns last week.

“I’m always scared when Number 1 (Manning) has the ball in his hands,” Scogin said. “And the quarterback (Jeff King) is good too, so they have some pieces. When they get it going, they are going to be tough to stop.”

As the District 1-5A season opens, the Vikings find themselves in a different position from a year ago, when they surprised everyone on the way to a perfect district record after a 0-3 start.

Scogin is aware that they won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year. “I think we learned to play like we were the hunted last year,” he said. “We talked about all off-season about how it’s going to be different and that teams would be coming after us. I think the kids have responded well and they are ready for everyone’s best shot.”

Shreve and Byrd are well accustomed to take each other’s best shot in this intense rivalry. It’s an important, high-profile game, to be sure, but Kirby thinks the matchup is important for different reasons.

“We’ve got to change our way of thinking over here on Kings Highway, that if we beat Byrd, it’s a successful season,” he said. “That’s not an attitude we need, where beating any one team is successful. I don’t mean to be negative. I don’t mean to be ugly. It’s a big ball game because it’s 1-5A.” 

Contact JJ at

CAPTAIN SHREVE (2-1) vs. BYRD (0-3), Independence Stadium 

Series: Byrd 29-16 

Last year: Byrd 25-20 

Last week: Captain Shreve beat Union Parish 34-20; Byrd lost to Calvary 42-21  

Rankings: CS is No. 4 in SBJ Top 10 poll  

Power rankings: CS No. 13 in Select Div. I; Byrd No. 19 in Select Div. I 

Radio: CS (KLKL.FM, 95.7 FM); Byrd (The Tiger, 1130AM, 103.3 FM) 

Notable: Byrd has won 26 of the last 28 games in the series …. Malachi Johnson leads Byrd in rushing with 265 yards, averages eight yards per carry and has scored six touchdowns … The Jackets average 233.7 yards a game on the ground … Last week, Captain Shreve quarterback Brodie Savage made his first start in 2023 and his second in his two years at Shreve and tied his career high of 247 yards he passed for last year against Southwood …  both schools fell in previous weeks to Class 2A No. 1 Calvary.

BENTON (1-2) at AIRLINE (3-0), M.D. Ray Field at Airline Stadium 

Series: Airline 3-1 

Last year: Airline 75-59 

Last week: Airline beat Northwood 48-14; Benton lost to Newman 37-27 

Rankings: Airline is tied at No. 1 in SBJ Top 10 poll, received votes in LSWA 5A poll; Benton is No. 8 in SBJ poll 

Power rankings: Benton No. 24 in Non-Select Div. I; Airline No. 8 in Non-Select Div. I 

Radio: none 

Notable: Airline QB Ben Taylor has passed for 995 yards, good enough for second in the state’s stat leaders compiled by … Jarvis Davis leads local receivers with 25 receptions and has 345 yards and two touchdowns … Benton has dropped two straight to ranked teams …. Tigers’ RB Greg Manning is second among local rushers with 433 yards on 78 carries and has scored seven touchdowns … QB Jeff King passed for 210 yards on 17-of-29 passes in last week’s loss to Newman.  

Social media often leapfrogs the boundaries of social acceptability

BATON ROUGE — Wednesday on my 67th birthday with my wife out of town on business, my imagination ran wild.

But not too far and for too long. I get mentally exhausted loading a dishwasher.

What I did before my two dogs left me birthday presents in different parts of the house (“Surprise, it’s a birthday tootsie roll, Daddy!”) was wistfully ponder what life was like without social media.

It made me smile. For a millisecond.

And then I wondered how such a society-transforming communication tool instantly greenlighted unfiltered cruelty and flipped the “on” switch for 24-hour-a-day anger.

It erased the boundaries of simply being mean and advanced to the point of senselessness. School classroom shootings have now become shootings at high school athletic events. Friday Night Lights has become Friday Night Frights.

We’re doomed if a teenager can’t be safe in an innocent social setting like a high school football game. Does the tuba player have to be strapped with a semi-automatic rifle to finish a song? Are you supposed to train one of your cheerleaders to handle a bazooka?

Without social media, we lived in a kinder world where issues and differences were settled with civility and respectful discussions.

It was a more innocent universe that didn’t seem so hurried, so accelerated. Everything wasn’t so sudden because it didn’t have to be. When something happened, good or bad, it wasn’t in front of your face within seconds. There was time to digest, ponder and have a rational thought process.

Now, like last Saturday if you see a Colorado State football player deliver a vicious hit that sends a Colorado player to the hospital, you can quickly go to social media to find published cellphone numbers of the Colorado State player and his mother and the Colorado State player’s campus address and his family’s home address.

It gives you the option of making a death threat online, over the phone, or in person.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

I try hard to ignore the fact we now live in a society in which there has been a complete deterioration of the English language and basic grammar use. Nobody wants to read anything longer than a tweet. How can we expect them to understand the difference between their, there and they’re?

In my little plot of the planet having chronicled college sports for 44 years, the advent of social media in college athletics has proven to be mostly beneficial, but it’s also fraught with challenges.

Schools with the most money and resources employ innovative and imaginative social media departments that are marketing tools stretching beyond reaching just the average fan. The true purpose is extending all the way to recruits.

Ask LSU women’s head basketball coach Kim Mulkey if she could have turned a doormat program into NCAA national champions in just two seasons without steady exposure provided by a tireless social media department.

“We (LSU) have our own social media department and they’re off the charts,” Mulkey told me in mid-May. “They are literally so creative, young, and they’re into what they do.”

What they do is pump out a constant stream of tweets and videos. No doubt recruits have seen Angel Reese dancing in the dressing room or Flau’jae Johnson breaking out in a freestyle rap.

Recruits look at that and think, “That looks like fun. Plus, they’re winning championships and playing for a coach who embraces big personalities. I want to play THERE.”

Mulkey is an old-school soul who understands the value of social media, yet she played for a coach at Louisiana Tech (Leon Barmore) who was all business. He would have nipped at the bud any individual self-promotion by his players.

But having and growing a personal “brand” for a college athlete through social media to attract NIL money is the ultimate recruiting tool.

If you don’t think the rich get richer, there’s no better recruiting exposure than having Reese and LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne featured on the cover of the recent Sports Illustrated “Money Issue.”

The accompanied story pointed out the Tigers have four of the six female athletes ranked in the On3 top 100 in NIL evaluations – Dunne No. 3 at $3.2 million, Reese No. 8 at $1.7 million, Johnson No. 19 at $1.1 million and new basketball signee Hailey Van Lith No. 79 at $550,000.

How will Mulkey this season handle a player (Reese) who now drives a more expensive car (a Mercedes) than she does? Welcome to the new millennium of college coaching.

It’s probable most college coaches approaching or past 60 years old privately abhor social media on several fronts.

Coaches have to motivate players now making bank to play their best.

Coaches often sell their dignity when comes to the “anything goes” approach by using social media in recruiting. Dancing with recruits in videos is simply creepy. Watching LSU head football coach Brian Kelly getting jiggy with recruits is painful. Body parts are falling off.

Coaches assign a staff member to monitor the players’ social media accounts, hoping nothing inappropriate will pop up that will embarrass the player, the program, or the school.

It’s why I can’t imagine past Hall of Fame coaches, from human powder kegs like basketball’s Bobby Knight and football’s Woody Hayes, to basketball’s consummate team fundamentalist John Wooden, could survive in today’s social media tsunami.

If you think Knight could throw a courtside chair far, can you imagine him grabbing one of his player’s cell phones after discovering he made a social media post from the locker room after a game?

That player would be thrilled to tweet using the hashtag #Firstcellphoneorbitingearth.

Contact Ron at