Big Hoops Shootout a win-win for local sports fans

PACKING ‘EM IN: Local sports fans lined up early for the Parkway girls’ game in the Big Hoops Shootout at Centenary’s Gold Dome Friday afternoon. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

Centenary’s Gold Dome was packed Friday afternoon to watch two of the nation’s best high school girls’ basketball players and their teams face off in a matchup between Parkway and Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, Calif.

Lines to get into the Big South Shootout – the first stop in a five-city, national tour put on by the Big Hoops Shootout organization to highlight the top high school teams in the country– began forming early in the afternoon for the 4 o’clock tipoff.

And the game that highlighted the top two recruits in the nation in Parkway’s Mikaylah Williams and Sierra Canyon’s Judea “JuJu” Watkins did not disappoint. The Lady Panthers put up a fight against the preseason USA No.2 ranked Trailblazers – getting within 10 points in the final two minutes – but fell 61-49 in front of an amped-up crowd.

“Playing in front of a crowd like that puts us back into state championship surroundings,” said Parkway coach Gloria Williams. “To be so close in a game like that. That just built my confidence in these young ladies.”

Parkway superstar (and LSU commit) Mikaylah Williams got off to a slow start — scoring just four points in the first half – but came back to finish with 17.

“Mikaylah is all-world,” Sierra Canyon coach Alicia Kamaki said after the game. “I’m a No. 1 JuJu fan, of course, but Mikaylah is as close to that type of player as I’ve seen. They are very similar.”

Very similar, indeed.

Friday’s game matched the reigning Louisiana Gatorade Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year (Williams) against the California Gatorade Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year (Watkins). Both have been named to the 2022-23 Preseason MaxPreps All-America Girls’ Basketball team.

Williams averaged 22.8 points and 8 rebounds and led the Lady Panthers to a runner-up finish in last season’s state championship game. Watkins averaged 24.8 points and 10.3 rebounds to lead the Trailblazers to the California state championship.

Watkins is a two-time gold medalist with USA Basketball and Williams won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup and was named MVP.

“JuJu just had a little more fire power today,” the Parkway coach said of Watkins, who had a game-high 24 points, followed by Mackenly Randolph with 21 and Crystal Wang with 10. Chloe Larry, who had a game-high 34 points in the 2022 state championship game, led the Lady Panthers with 21 points against Sierra Canyon.

“It was fun,” Larry said of playing in front of the large crowd. “We could have done better, but that was a great team out there.”

The Lady Panthers led 15-12 after the first quarter and trailed by just five points at the half but could not keep pace with the Trailblazers in the second half. Behind Watkins’ 10 third-quarter points, Sierra Canyon took an 11-point lead into the final period and pushed it to 15 points with three minutes to play.

Parkway got within 10 points with two minutes left but couldn’t get any closer.

“It was kind of like David and Goliath,” the Parkway coach said of the matchup against the nation’s No. 2-ranked high school team. “There were just a few mismatches.”

Still, Friday’s game was a win-win for the local sports community.

“I loved playing in front of the hometown crowd,” said Williams, the Lady Panthers’ star.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Today’s Big South Shootout features two of the nation’s best high school girls

WILLIAMS DUO: Parkway star Mikaylah Williams (left) and Lady Panthers’ coach Gloria Williams will welcome the Sierra Canyon Lady Trailblazers to Shreveport for today’s Big South Shootout. (Photo by HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports)

Local sports fans have the opportunity to watch two of the best girls’ high school basketball players in the country this afternoon at Centenary’s Gold Dome.

“Talk about an honor for northern Louisiana,” Parkway head coach Gloria Williams says of the Big South Shootout: One Night Only, Vol. One event that pits the Lady Panthers against the Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) Trailblazers, No. 2 in the nation in the SBLive Power preseason rankings.

The 4 o’clock matchup will give area fans a rare opportunity to see two of the top-rated girls in the U.S. go head-to-head when Parkway’s Mikaylah Williams and Sierra Canyon’s Judea “Juju” Watkins take the court for the early-season matchup.

Williams, considered the consensus No. 1 women’s basketball recruit in the Class of 2023, has signed to play for LSU. After leading the Lady Panthers to the 2022 Class 5A state championship game, she was named Miss Basketball by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, Louisiana’s Gatorade Player of the Year and one of five finalists for the Naismith National High School Girls Players of the Year while boasting a 4.0 GPA.

Williams — who averaged 22.8 points, 8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.2 steals as a junior at Parkway last season — won a gold medal with Team USA in the 2022 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup, where she was also named MVP. In addition, Williams was named one of 12 players on the 2022 USA Basketball Women’s U17 National Team, which took home a gold medal after competing in the FIBA U17 World Cup in Hungary over the summer.

Watkins — who recently signed with USC over finalists South Carolina and Stanford — is a two-time gold medalist with USA Basketball and the state’s reigning Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She averaged 24.8 points and 10.3 rebounds to lead the Trailblazers to a 30-2 record and the California state championship.

“She’s a generational talent,” Sierra Canyon coach Alicia Kamaki told ESPN. “I don’t think we’re going to see somebody else like her.”

Both Williams and Watkins have been named to the 2022-23 Preseason MaxPreps All-America Girls’ Basketball team – along with Breya Cunningham of La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day, Milaysia Fulwiley of Keenan (Columbia, SC), and Jadyn Donovan of Sidwell Friends (Washington, DC). Cunningham has signed with Arizona, Fulwiley with South Carolina, and Donavan with Duke.

The Lady Panthers — who bring a 3-2 record into today’s game — are coming off a road trip to Arkansas this week that included a 78-68 loss to Conway (Ark.), ranked No. 11 in the nation by SBLive. The Trailblazers are 2-0.

Today’s game is the first in a five-city stop by the Big Hoops Shootout organization, which matches top high school teams from around the nation. Other games will take place in Fayetteville (N.C.), Tyrone (Ga.), Glean Head (N.Y.), and Cayce (S.C.).

“I received a phone call (from Big Hoops Shootout) after the season ended,” Parkway coach Gloria Williams says when asked how today’s event came about. “We talked back and forth and, once we found a common date, it was finalized in July.”

Going up against top-notch competition early in the season is part of the Parkway coaching staff’s plan to prepare the Lady Panthers for a run at a state title.

“In order to be the best, you’ve got to play the best,” says Williams.

The Lady Panthers return four of their five starters from last season’s state runner-up team but will be without sophomore Savannah Wilson, who has been lost for the season with an ACL tear. In addition to Williams, Parkway will have junior Chloe Larry (who had a game-high 34 points in the 2022 state championship game) and Ty’lissa Henderson, who has recently returned after an injury.

General admission tickets for today’s game are $20 and can be purchased at bighoopsshootout.ticketleap.com. Children 5-and-under will be admitted free. 

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Tennis comes full circle for Lauren Cotter Wilson

She would hit tennis balls for hours against the green wooden backboard that was attached to the back of the tennis court at Shreveport’s Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club.

As her older brother John sat courtside, a young Lauren Cotter would try to hit 50 in a row above the painted white line that symbolized the net.

“It would take me an hour-and-a-half to get 50 in a row,” she recalls all these years later. “Then we’d go for 100.”

When Lauren got to 100, the goal would be 150 – hours and hours of repetition. And always sitting courtside would be John Cotter.

That’s what Lauren thinks about now as she prepares her acceptance speech for her induction into the Louisiana Tennis Association Hall of Fame. On Dec. 2, The Shoptaugh Family, Harold “Rocky” Andry and Lauren Cotter Wilson will be honored as the 2022 LTA Hall of Fame inductees at a dinner at Baton Rouge’s Bocage Racquet Club.

It’s an honor Lauren knows would not be possible without the influence of her older brother, who passed away over the summer.

“I’ve been thinking about what I’m going to say,” she says about her induction speech. “I’m overwhelmed by the honor. The timing of it couldn’t be more perfect.”

The prestigious honor comes just months after the passing of her brother and at a time in her life when tennis has come full circle.

“We’re enjoying the fruits of our labor,” Lauren says of she and husband Grady Wilson, the general manager and director of tennis at Pierremont Oaks.

Their son Cotter — a recent graduate of Ole Miss, where he played tennis — is now working alongside his father as the head of racket sports at Pierremont Oaks. I remember watching a young Cotter — later a Men’s City Singles Champion — hitting balls with his uncle John on those same courts where Lauren put in all that time when she was young.

It was time well spent.

In 1973, Lauren was No. 1 in Louisiana in both Girls’ 12 and 14 singles, ranked No. 1 in the state and the South in Girls’ 14 singles, No. 16 in the nation in Girls’ 14 singles; and No. 1 in the U.S. in Girls’ 14 doubles with Toni Moss of Houston.

At the age of 14, she won the Louisiana State Closed Girls’ 16 and 18 singles titles and the following year was selected to represent the state in the Seventeen Magazine Girls’ Junior Tennis Championships in Washington, D.C., in addition to winning the Girls’ 16 Singles at the Easter Bowl National Championship.

In 1977, Lauren was top-ranked in both the state and South in Girls’ 16 singles and No. 2 in the South in Girls’ 18 singles.

One of her proudest accomplishments, according to the Centenary College and Northwest Louisiana Hall of Fame member, is leading Captain Shreve to the team title at the National High School Tennis Championships in San Antonio, Texas, in 1979. Along with Stephanie Fess and Carol Boston, I was honored to be part of that team.

After playing for SMU from 1979-1981, Lauren returned to Shreveport to close out her college tennis career at Centenary and was the 1983 NAIA Collegiate Singles Champion.

“It’s pretty cool, the timing of all of this,” she says. “Pierremont Oaks, where we all grew up playing tennis, is now at an all-time high with memberships. Tennis is just booming.”

Funny thing, tennis wasn’t Lauren’s first choice. That was her mother’s idea.

“I was a swimmer,” she says. “I swam butterfly and back stroke because no one else wanted to swim those. But my mother thought swimming was making my shoulders too broad. So I started playing tennis.”

That decision turned out to be life-defining for the tennis champion.

“Tennis made us who we are,” Lauren says of all the people who were – and are – still part of her life. “We learned so much from the sport. We just had so much fun. We were all fortunate that our parents were able to provide us with such a great life.”

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

HOLDING COURT: Lauren Cotter Wilson, shown in 1975, will be honored Dec. 2 as a 2022 Louisiana Tennis Association Hall of Fame member.
 


Calvary ready for another deep run in the playoffs

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports 

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the SBJ spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

Even though school was out for the week for Thanksgiving break, Rodney Guin was busy working Monday morning.

And he was very glad to be doing so.

“Yeah, that’s always the mark of success,” the Calvary Baptist head coach said about high school football coaches working during the break.

It’s a mark to which the Cavaliers have become accustomed. Going into this year’s playoffs, Calvary had made 17 playoff appearances with an overall record of 33 wins and 14 losses – including three state championships (Division III titles in 2013 and 2014 and Division IV title in 2020).

Last season, the Cavaliers made it to the semifinals of the Division IV playoffs before falling 40-37 to eventual state runner-up Ouachita Christian.

This week, No. 5-seeded Calvary is preparing for its quarterfinal matchup against No. 4 seed Dunham in the Select Division III playoffs. The Cavs (9-2) will meet the Tigers (10-1) at Dunham Stadium in Baton Rouge Friday night at 7.

After a first-round bye, Calvary faced No. 12-seeded Northlake Christian in last week’s second round. For a team that had outscored its opponents 443-134 prior to last Friday’s game, the Cavs got off to an uncharacteristic slow start.

At the end of the first quarter, the Cavs and Wolverines were tied 0-0. Not the typical start for a Calvary team that had scored 40 or more points in nine of 11 games and 50+ in seven of those matchups.

“We were moving the ball, but turnovers made it a slow start,” Guin said of last week’s game. “We fumbled twice in the red zone and had a guy wide open in the end zone but he dropped it.”

In most cases, turnovers and dropped balls could be a concern for a playoff team. But not this Cavs’ team.

“We haven’t turned the ball over all year long,” said Guin. “I think we may have had one fumble. And dropped balls is not a problem we have. We catch hundreds of balls.”

Guin was right not to worry. Running back James Simon caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Abram Wardell and ran for a 3-yard score. With Wardell’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Aubrey Hermes, Calvary had a 22-0 lead by halftime.

The Cavs added four more touchdowns and a safety in the second half, and the defense held the Wolverines scoreless as Calvary defeated Northlake Christian 52-0.

Simon, who finished the night with two rushing TDs and two receiving TDs, is close to 1,000 rushing this season with 20 TDs and no fumbles. On the season, Wardell has completed 128 of 160 passes for 2,181 yards and 31 TDs. Against Northlake Christian, the sophomore quarterback threw to seven different receivers and four different ones for TDs. Hermes has 9 TD receptions so far with 741 yards on 44 catches.

While Calvary is taking a prolific offense down to Baton Rouge, the Cavs will face a big challenge with an exceptional Tigers’ defense.

“They’re very good,” Guin said of the Wolverines. “They have the best defensive line we’ve faced since Week 2 against Captain Shreve (a 27-14 loss). That’ll be a challenge. The key is for us is being able to block up front. We’ve got to have good line blocking.”

Another challenge for Calvary will be a Dunham offense that has put up 50+ points in each of its last two games (including last week’s 56-21 victory over King Charter in the second round).

“You don’t win deep in the playoffs if you can’t play good defense,” said Guin. “Everybody can score. We’ve got to be able to stop their offense.”

With a defense that has shut out its last three opponents, Calvary is primed for another deep run in the playoffs.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com 


Comeback comes up short, Bucs stopped by East St. John

WILDCAT PROWLING: Haughton quarterback Colin Rains (15) looks for a receiver as he is pursued by East St. John’s Ky’Van Fobb (24) Friday night. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

It looked like the Haughton Buccaneers would take the lead into halftime against East St. John in the second round of the Non-Select Division I playoffs at Harold E. Harlan Stadium.

After falling behind 14-0 after the first quarter and fighting back to tie it at 14-14 in the second quarter, Haughton quarterback Colin Rains’ 35-yard Hail Mary with no time left on the clock was signaled a touchdown. That would give the Bucs the lead going into the locker room.

That’s what it looked like when one referee signaled “touchdown.” After a discussion between the officials, however, the pass was ruled incomplete.

The Bucs put up a fight in the second half, but came up short and ended their season with a 35-21 loss to the Wildcats.

“I thought we were up at the half,” said Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton. “It was kind of deflating. But our guys fought to the very end.”

The beginning was a little deflating, too. On the first play from scrimmage, Haughton senior running back Tyler Rhodes went up the middle for a 25-yard gain but fumbled and the Wildcats recovered on their own 35. On ESJ’s first play, Yashua Mitchell found Cortez Fisher for a 62-yard completion to the Haughton 3-yard line and the senior quarterback ran it in on the next play.

Mitchell’s 15-yard touchdown run – and Joe Henderson’s second PAT — with two minutes left in the first quarter gave the Wildcats the 14-0 lead.

The Bucs got on the board on their first play of the second quarter with an 11-yard touchdown run from Rhodes and PAT by Carter Ebarb and tied it at 14-14 with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Rains to Rashard Douglas and Ebarb PAT.

It looked like the Wildcats would take the lead at the half when they drove to the Bucs’ 13-yard line with 58 seconds to go in the second quarter but Haughton senior Jakob Handy came up with an interception to stall the drive. The Bucs got to the Wildcats’ 35 and, with a free play after the clock sounded due to a defensive penalty, the Hail Mary That Wasn’t occurred.

Two touchdown passes from Mitchell (33 yards to Koyal Gray Jr. and 6 yards to Dkhai Joseph) gave ESJ a 27-14 lead at the end of the third quarter. Rhodes’ 1-yard run and Ebarb PAT got the Bucs within six points (27-21) with just under nine minutes to go in the game.

After recovering an ESJ fumble with 5:38 to go, Haughton went three-and-out on their next possession and the Wildcats sealed the victory on their next possession with a 41-yard scoring run by George Martin III.

“They played hard and they played well,” Brotherton said of the Wildcats. “Their guys were big up front. I’m proud of the way our kids played. They (the Wildcats) made some big catches. There were times I thought we had good coverage and they still caught them.”

Mitchell completed 13-of-24 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns to go with his two rushing TDs.

“He’s good,” Brotherton said of Mitchell. “He’s a four-year starter and he’s really talented.”

Rhodes and Rains accounted for all of Haughton’s rushing yards. Rhodes finished with 115 yards on 17 carries and Rains added 69 yards on 21 carries. Rains was 12-of-28 passing for 160 yards.

Jalen Lewis had four catches for 63 yards for Haughton, followed by Jamarion Montgomery with two receptions for 51 yards.

“To be playing a second-round playoff game at home is a big deal for us,” Brotherton said of the 27th-seeded Bucs, who finished the season 6-6. 

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

East St. John 35, Haughton 21 

Score by quarters

ESJ | 14 | 0 | 13 | 8 | – 35

Haughton | 0 | 14 | 0 | 7 | – 21

Scoring summary

ESJ – Yashua Mitchell 3 run (Joe Henderson kick)

ESJ – Mitchell 15 run (Henderson kick)

H – Tyler Rhodes 11 run (Carter Ebarb kick)

H – Rashard Douglas 35 pass from Colin Rains (Ebarb kick)

ESJ – Koyal Gray Jr. 33 pass from Mitchell (kick failed)

ESJ – Dkhai Joseph 6 pass from Mitchell (Henderson kick)

H – Rhodes 1 run (Ebarb kick)

ESJ – George Martin III 41 run (Joseph pass from Mitchell) 

Individual leaders 

Rushing  

ESJ (34-215) – Martin 20-142 1 TD, Mitchell 9-48 2 TDs, Cortez Fisher 5-25. 

Haughton (39-184) – Rhodes 17-115 2 TDs, Rains 21-69, Douglas 1-0. 

Passing 

ESJ (13-24-2-247) – Mitchell 13-24-2-247 2 TDs. 

Haughton (12-28-0-160) – Rains 12-26-0-160 1TD, Jalen Lewis 0-2-0. 

Receiving 

ESJ – Fisher 5-106, Gray Jr. 4-71 1 TD, Joseph 4-68 1 TD, Ashton Williams 1-2. 

Haughton – Lewis 4-63, Jamarion Montgomery 2-51, John Ecot 2-8, Douglas 1-35 1 TD, Trent McGowen 1-3.


Kristi Gustavson answers the call to service at CFNLA

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD

Until I met Kristi Gustavson at a recent press conference, we had only communicated by email after I contacted her about meeting for lunch. I knew she was the executive director of the Community Foundation of North Louisiana but, other than that, I knew very little about the 1996 Byrd graduate. Sitting outside at Ki Mexico and enjoying some incredible tacos, I heard a fascinating story about how she ended up at  CFLA.

It’s funny how phone calls work.

In 2017, Kristi Gustavson was on the verge of calling Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway – the law firm where she had served as a senior associate – and telling them she wanted to return.

There was something about being in a courtroom and arguing a case in front of a judge that attracted Gustavson – and she missed it. It’s why she got her law degree at Tulane University (graduating cum laude) after getting her bachelor of arts in political science from Rhodes College.

After practicing law in New Orleans, Gustavson and her husband moved back to Shreveport in 2007 and she joined Cook, Yancey, King & Galloway – where she practiced commercial litigation, contract issues and bankruptcy. She chalked up trial experience in state district court, United States District Court, United States Bankruptcy Court, Louisiana State appellate courts, and city courts.

Then, in 2013, she got a call from Regions Bank – one of the law firm’s clients – about managing the trust department. At the time, Gustavson’s daughter Malin was two years old, and her husband was travelling a couple of weeks out of every month with his job at Red Ball Oxygen.

The change sounded good, so Gustavson left the law firm and joined Regions, where she served as a vice president and trust advisor. After four years in that capacity, however, she decided she wanted to return to the courtroom.

She was about to pick up the phone when something happened before she called Cook, Yancey to tell the firm she wanted to come back, however. Her phone rang.

On the other end of the phone was Paula Hickman, the executive director of the Community Foundation of North Louisiana.

“Paula called and wanted to take me to lunch,” explains Gustavson. “We (Regions) worked with the Community Foundation so I thought there might be something wrong with the account.”

On the contrary. As it turned out, Hickman was planning to retire after nearly 15 years leading the Community Foundation of North Louisiana and she had decided who she wanted to replace her.

“I had seen the advertisement for the position,” says Gustavson, “but I wouldn’t have applied for it.”

While Gustavson had always been involved in nonprofit work — the former ballet dancer served as president of the board of the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet while at Regions — she had never considered doing it full time. The more she talked to Hickman, the more Gustavson realized that is where she belonged.

“I went home and told my husband, ‘I think this is my dream job,’” she says. “And he said, ‘What is the Community Foundation?’”

Established in 1961, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana oversees more than $183 million in assets for the benefit of North Louisiana. Its mission is to promote philanthropy and improve the quality of life in the community by serving as a permanent and growing resource of expertise and funds. The funds managed by the Foundation are invested for the community’s benefit and then are returned to the community in the form of grants to a wide variety of charitable endeavors. Since its inception, the Community Foundation has granted over $100 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.

After going through the extensive interview process, she was chosen for the job and started shadowing Hickman in the fall of 2017. In January 2018, Gustavson assumed her new role as executive director.

When asked what the biggest challenge of the new role has been, Gustavson pauses and says, “I don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I keep pushing. I had never managed an office of human beings. I had to find my way in my job and manage them. As a lawyer, I was a solo practitioner. As an only child, collaboration was a little outside of my nature. I never liked group projects in high school.”

And the most rewarding part of her job? “When the collaboration works,” she answers quickly.

With Gustavson at the helm, the collaboration has worked. In 2021, CFNLA granted over $8.5 million in grants and scholarships to 339 nonprofit organizations and 46 students.

“My job is to put groups together,” says Gustavson. “Those groups do research and data. I take what we have all collectively decided on and go to our board.”

The big question is, “How do we match the funds that we have monetarily with the needs of the community,” she says. “Sometimes, the hard part is not raising the money but spending it in a timely manner.”

In 2018, CFNLA set a lofty but attainable goal: “To change the course or interrupt the cycle of poverty for children through education so they may grow up and attain a living wage job by the age of 25.”

One of the major initiatives established by the Foundation to meet that goal is the Early Childhood Education Fund – to expand access and enrollment in quality early childcare by providing scholarships for children ages 0-3 in Caddo Parish. Thanks to generous donor support and a 1:1 match from the State of Louisiana, over $2 million was secured for the first year of the multi-year initiative.

The Foundation stumped for money from the City (of Shreveport) and the City Council early, according to Gustavson, and it paid off. “They stepped up,” she says. “They turned our $2 million into $6 million – unanimously. They said, ‘We see the value in this.’”

You can see by the way Gustavson lights up when she talks about this particular initiative that the Shreveport native loves what she is doing.

“I feel super privileged,” she says. “I get a lot of personal fulfillment from it. I get excited about what I do and am proud to tell my daughter about it so maybe she’ll want to come back here.”

Just like her mom.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Haughton seniors won’t let Bucs give up against Airline in playoff victory

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports 

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the SBJ spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

Walking off the football field two weeks ago, Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton had a feeling he had never experienced in all of his years coaching.

And it wasn’t good.

“For the first time, I felt like our kids shut it down and quit,” said Brotherton. “That’s a bad feeling as a coach when your team stops competing.”

That was Week 10’s final regular-season game when Captain Shreve pummeled Haughton 42-7 – marking the Bucs’ third loss in their last four games and threatening their streak of making the playoffs for 25 years.

“I didn’t know what we were gonna get (last) Friday,” Brotherton said of last week’s first-round playoff game against the heavily-favored Airline Vikings. “I was a little worried about that.”

There were a few reasons to worry. First, the Bucs’ lackluster performance against the Gators was a cause for concern. Then there was the fact that Haughton had squeaked into the Non-Select Division I playoffs as the 27th seed out of 28 teams. Next, Haughton’s first-round opponent was the No. 6-seeded Airline team that had sailed through the District 1-5A season undefeated.

And finally, that Vikings’ team had defeated the Bucs 55-42 in their Week 7 district matchup.

“Before (last week’s) Airline game, I told the kids that I thought something good would have to happen early in the game for us to have a chance,” said Brotherton. “Then the opposite happened.”

Airline came out in its first possession and took the early lead with a 60-yard touchdown pass from Ben Taylor to Daxton Chavez.

Not the start Brotherton had hoped for.

Then something good happened.

“We had a couple of seniors who weren’t going to let everyone else shut it down,” he said. “The flow of the game fell to us. The weather was a huge factor. It didn’t affect us as much as it affected them (the Vikings).”

Two of those seniors who made sure the Bucs didn’t give up were quarterback Colin Rains and running back Tyler Rhodes. In a pouring rain and howling winds, the Haughton duo racked up 387 of the Bucs’ 390 yards rushing and pounded their way to a 36-26 upset over the Vikings.

Rains, who had 178 yards rushing just in the first half, finished the game with 218 yards on 26 carries while running for one touchdown, passing for two touchdowns and catching a touchdown pass.

Rhodes, who finished with 169 on 21 carries, had a 7-yard touchdown scamper that started a 29-0 scoring run that gave the Bucs a 36-13 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Standing in the pouring rain in the middle of Airline’s M.D. Ray Field, Brotherton tried to find the words to describe Rains’ performance.

“Colin . . . ,” he started. “He’s been hurt for about a month. He’s just a competitor. He’s one of my favorite kids . . . ”

The Bucs also got a gutsy performance from junior kicker Carter Ebarb, who had an undeniable effect on the game’s outcome. While Ebarb was 4-for-5 on PATs in the driving rain, it was his punting — keeping the Vikings deep in their own territory — that helped Haughton deny an Airline rally.

Ebarb’s 57-yard punt pinned the Vikings on their own 1-yard line and led to a safety that put the Bucs up 36-13 near the end of the third quarter. On the Bucs’ next possession, Ebarb had a 48-yard punt that forced Airline to start a drive on its own 2-yard line.

This is when the game got really interesting. Starting that drive on their 2, the Vikings went on a 17-play, 98-yard scoring drive that began at the end of the third quarter and finished with a 7-yard scoring pass from Ben Taylor to Bryson Broom that closed the gap to 36-19 two minutes into the fourth quarter.

Haughton fumbled on its next possession, giving Airline the ball on its own 35. Four plays later, Taylor hit Bob Patterson with a 40-yard touchdown pass – and the Vikings were suddenly within 10 points of the Bucs with six minutes left.

At that point, Rains took over and made sure the Bucs would hold on to their 36-26 lead. An 8-play, 54-yard drive that ate up time on the clock deprived Airline of a chance to rally. In the middle of the drive, Rains had a 31-yard run on third-and-14 that kept the ball in possession of the Bucs – who held on for the victory.

The first thing Brotherton planned to say to his team as the Bucs prepared for this Friday’s second-round home game against East St. John was this:

“For the rest of your life, when someone says, ‘You can’t do something,’ you remember Friday night 36-26. Nobody thought we could win that (Airline) game. Nobody gave us a chance outside of our own locker room.”

That’s quite a different feeling than the one Brotherton had a couple of weeks ago.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Rains pours it on to lead Haughton’s shocker over Airline

POURING IT ON: Haughton quarterback Colin Rains, who had 218 yards rushing Friday night, waits for the snap Friday night. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

When it rains, it pours. And it rained down hard at Airline’s M.D. Ray Field Friday night.

Behind a brilliant performance from Haughton quarterback Colin Rains – who ran for 218 yards and a touchdown, passed for two touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass – the Bucs upset Airline 36-26 in the first round of the Non-Select Division I playoffs.

The victory avenged the Bucs’ District 1-5A loss to the Vikings — 55-42 on Oct. 13 — and put them in the second round against No. 11 seed East St. John, which defeated Walker 29-28 in the first round.

The more it rained and the harder the wind blew Friday night, the more Haughton pounded the ball on the ground. And controlled the line of scrimmage. And the clock.

That was the game plan for Haughton (6-5), which squeaked into playoffs as the No. 27 seed (out of 28 teams). Airline, which finished its season 7-4, went in as the No. 6 seed after an unbeaten run through district play.

The Bucs’ plan worked.

“For three-and-a-half quarters, we were able to line up, run the ball, and control the clock,” said Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton. “Then they pushed the tempo.”

By the time the Vikings were able to control the tempo – and get two quick touchdowns — they were already down 36-13 halfway through the fourth quarter. Airline quarterback Ben Taylor threw two touchdown passes (7 yards to Bryson Broom and 40 yards to Bob Patterson) to bring the Vikings within 10 points (36-26) but Haughton wouldn’t let them get any closer.

Taylor’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Daxton Chavez on the Vikings’ first possession of the game gave them an early 6-0 lead (the PAT was blocked). The Bucs returned the favor on their first possession and took a 7-6 lead when Rains caught a 5-yard pass from Jalen Lewis and Carter Ebarb kicked the PAT.

Haughton controlled the second quarter, putting up 20 points on touchdown runs by Tyler Rhodes (7 yards) and Rains (2 yards) and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rains to John Ecot (Ebarb connected on 2-of-the 3 PATs). Airline, which got a 1-yard touchdown run by Tre Jackson (and Ben Jump PAT) to open the second quarter, trailed 27-13 at the half.

Two plays in the third quarter – when Haughton kept Airline scoreless – were defining moments in the game. With the Bucs up 34-13 and facing fourth-and-16 from their own 42, Ebarb pinned the Vikings on their own 1-yard line with a 57-yard punt. Two plays later, Haughton’s Harley Ingram sacked Taylor in the end zone for a safety.

On the Bucs’ next possession, Ebarb’s 48-yard punt landed on the Vikings’ 2-yard line.

“I actually thought about a fake punt at that point,” Brotherton said of first punt. “With the wind and rain, I was worried about the exchange and getting the punt off. Sometimes, the best calls are the ones you don’t make.”

The Bucs’ only other second-half score came on Rains’ 30-yard touchdown pass to Lewis that put Haughton up 34-13.

“We came out and battled the weather,” said Rains, who had 178 rushing in the first half. “We were just the tougher team tonight. We wanted it.”

Taylor completed 27-of-51 for 380 yards and 3 touchdowns but the Vikings were able to get only 85 yards rushing. While Rains was 7-of-12 for 79 yards and 3 touchdowns, it was the ground game that was the difference for Haughton. In addition to Rains’ 218 yards rushing, Rhodes added 169 yards on 21 carries.

“He’s just a competitor,” Brotherton said of Rains. “And our defense was great tonight. That’s the best they’ve played all year. This win defines our season.”

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

 Haughton 36, Airline 26

Score by quarters

Haughton | 7 | 20 | 9 | 0 | – 36

Airline | 6 | 7 | 0 | 13 | – 26

Scoring summary

A – Daxton Chavez 60 pass from Ben Taylor (kick failed)

H – Colin Rains 5 pass from Jalen Lewis (Carter Ebarb kick)

A – Tre Jackson 1 run (Ben Jump kick)

H – Tyler Rhodes 7 run (Ebarb kick)

H – John Ecot 5 pass from Rains (kick failed)

H – Rains 2 run (Ebarb kick)

H – Lewis 30 pass from Rains (Ebarb kick)

H – Safety

A – Bryson Broom 7 pass from Taylor (pass failed)

A – Bob Patterson 40 pass from Taylor (Jump kick)

Individual leaders

Rushing 

Haughton (53-390), Rains 26-218 1 TD, Rhodes 21-169 1 TD, Jamarion Montgomery 2-10, Ecot 1-2, Davontay Moss 3-(-9).

Airline (25-85), Tre Jackson 15-66 1 TD, Cameron Jefferson 5-22, Kylin Jackson 2-4, Taylor 3-(-7).

Passing 

Haughton (8-14-1-84), Rains 7-12-1-79 2 TDs, Lewis 1-1-0-5 1 TD, Rhodes 0-1-0-0.

Airline (27-52-2-380), Taylor 27-51-1-380 3 TDs, Tre Jackson 0-1-1-0.

Receiving 

Haughton, Lewis 2-42 1 TD, Trent McGowen 2-20, Montgomery 2-12, Rains 1-5 1 TD, Ecot 1-5 1 TD.

Airline, Jefferson 8-55, Tre Jackson 7-77, Chavez 5-102 1 TD, Patterson 4-112 1 TD, Broom 3-34 1 TD.


Falcons follow game plan to grab share of district title with Griffins

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports 

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the Shreveport-Bossier Journal spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

All week leading up to last Friday night’s game against North DeSoto, the Northwood coaches told their players how the game would have to go if the Falcons were to come out victorious in the District 1-4A battle in Stonewall.

They knew it would have to be a low-scoring game and the Falcons would have to withstand a blitzkrieg from the Griffins’ offense. Northwood would probably get down and have to battle back and put up a fight for four full quarters. Don’t. Give. Up.

And, as is the case in games of this magnitude, special teams play would very likely be a factor.

When Austin Brown stood in front of his players at halftime Friday night, he told the Falcons that things were going according to the plan.

The blitzkrieg: the powerful Griffins’ offense had come out and grabbed a 13-0 lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Brian Banks and a 9-yard scoring pass from Luke Delafield to Sam Odom.

The Falcons would fall behind: Northwood did get on the board with a 5-yard touchdown run by Quintavion White but went into the half down 13-6.

So far, things had gone according to plan. It would take two more quarters to see if the Northwood coaches’ prophecy would prove to be correct.

It was. And it went just the way they said it would.

Take a guess as to how the Falcons’ third-quarter comeback started. Yep, special teams.

“The turning point came in the second half when Hutson Hearron punted the ball down to the North DeSoto 1-yard line,” said Northwood coach Austin Brown. “He has been a key for us. He’s had 11 punts downed inside the 10.”

On the next play, Taderius Collins tackled North DeSoto’s John Lewis in the end zone for a safety and Northwood had closed the gap to 13-8.

From there, White – “just a workhorse in big games,” according to Brown – scored on runs of 10 and 7 yards to put the Falcons up 20-13. The Northwood defense allowed just one more score by the Griffins (a 12-yard TD run by Lewis) and, when the horn sounded at the end of the game, Northwood had upset previously undefeated North DeSoto 20-19 and grabbed a share of the District 1-4A championship with the Griffins. Both teams finished 6-1 in district.

“It was what everybody hopes a high school game is like,” Brown said of the incredible atmosphere at Griffin Stadium. “It’s bigger than two schools – it’s two total communities on the outskirts of the big city coming together. These are kids who grow up their whole lives playing together. You could feel the excitement leading up (to the game).”

And it went just how the Northwood coaches thought it would.

Special teams played a big part: in addition to Hearron’s clutch punt and the game-changing safety, both Northwood and North DeSoto missed extra points.

Defense was key: Collins and Mar’Jayvious Moss came through, as usual. “We’ve got the two best defensive players in Northwest Louisiana,” Brown said of the duo. Moss, the junior defensive back, had 7 tackles in the game.

And then there was White. The junior running back, who needed 142 yards rushing Saturday night to reach the 1,000-yard mark on the season, finished the game with 196 on 27 carries with 3 touchdowns.

“He is extremely passionate,” Brown said of White. “He’s an old-school football player. Every day at practice is like Friday night to him.”

Northwood (8-2 overall) has a bye this week and will play host to the winner of the St. Paul’s-Holy Cross contest next week in the second round of the Select Division I playoffs.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


After nearly half a century, Steve Prator is still passionate about his job


By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD

The best place to meet Steve Prator for lunch, I was told, was in his office in Government Plaza. The only question was: What in the world do I pick up for lunch with the Caddo Parish Sheriff? I was told he likes fried chicken (particularly gizzards), turkey club sandwich and if it was a salad —  ham or turkey.

I had heard great things about Doc’s Sandwich Shop, so I thought I’d give it a try. I went with the Mattie Club BLT, which turned out to be a big hit. “Best sandwich I ever had,” he said.

When the end of January rolls around, Steve Prator will have served in law enforcement for 50 years. Most people, after 50 years in a career, would start thinking about retirement.

Technically, Prator did retire — after 27 years of service in the Shreveport Police Department. But he wasn’t done with public service. His first term as Caddo Parish Sheriff began in 2000 and, in June 2020, he was sworn into office for his sixth term.

So now, after nearly 50 years in public service, is the 70-year-old thinking about retirement?

Prator might consider it, but there’s just one problem: He can’t find anything he is as passionate about as what he’s been doing for practically half a century. The only thing that comes close is fishing, which he does as often as possible with trips to his place in Orange Beach, Ala.

Hunting? “I like to shoot sporting clays,” he says, “but I don’t like killing things.”

Prator can’t imagine doing anything else – except, maybe, one thing.

“If I hadn’t gone into police work,” he says, “I would have been a school teacher.”

Actually, Prator has done both.

Back when he was a narcotics officer, Prator took an extra job as a substitute teacher at North Highlands Elementary School – the same school he attended when he moved to Shreveport from Clarksville, Tenn., in the second grade.

In those days, Prator wasn’t dreaming of being a police officer. He grew up raising cows and farming, so it looked like that’s how he would spend his life.

“Some people look all their lives and never find what they’re passionate about,” says Prator. “If you find that in life, you are fortunate. I’m lucky to have found my passion.”

Prator found it when he joined the Shreveport Police Department on Jan. 29, 1973. After 19 years, he served in a variety of departments — robbery, homicide, narcotics — and rose to the rank of sergeant.

“I was so fortunate to have been part of it (law enforcement) back when reform was needed,” says Prator, who was called “college boy” by other officers. “I was frowned upon a number of times for not taking part in what was standard operating procedure at the time.”

So, when he was chosen as chief of police – the position he held for eight-and-a-half years – Prator earned a new nickname: “Terminator Prator.”

“When I got to be chief of police,” he says, “I fired people for what used to be the standard when I first got hired. I fired a lot of people.”

As Caddo Sheriff, Prator oversees a department of 681 full-time deputies, 99 part-time deputies, 54 reserves, and 150 auxiliaries (according to 2020 numbers). His office’s main job, however, is maintaining the felony jail.

Once Shreveport Police have booked someone into Caddo Correctional Center, Prator’s office takes over.

“Then we do everything,” he says. “We take them to court, feed and clothe them, house them and watch them. We deliver the subpoenas for court cases and take them to and from court. When they’re convicted, we take them to Angola.”

Talking about maintaining the jail is when Prator’s voice takes a different tone. There is excitement in his voice.

“That building over there . . .” Prator says as he looks out the window toward the Caddo Courthouse, “in many cases, there’s a lack of urgency. There has to be a sense of urgency getting people to trial quicker. Until we get that, things won’t change.”

What needs to change, according to Prator, is the number of inmates at CCC.

“The jail was designed to hold 1,070 beds,” he says. “Right now, there are 1,400 in the building and 1,100 inmates are awaiting trial. The number of bookings at CCC is less than it’s ever been but the number awaiting trial is higher than ever.

“It costs $75 a day to hold one inmate. If that inmate waits four years to go to trial, that’s 75 times 365 times four. Do the math. Something’s wrong. Something’s got to be done.”

Prator pauses, looks over at me, and smiles.

“That’s it,” he says. “That’s what I’m passionate about.”

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com 


Yellow Jackets stay focused on the task at hand

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports 

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the SBJ spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

Sandwiched between a District 1-5A loss to Airline and the final regular-season game at Natchitoches Central was last week’s matchup against Southwood.

For the Byrd Yellow Jackets, it would have been easy to look a little past the Week 9 district game against the Cowboys last Friday night at Independence Stadium –the Cowboys were winless (0-8 overall and 0-5 in district) and the Yellow Jackets (5-3, 2-3) were already assured a spot in the playoffs.

And waiting for them in Week 10 was the team that caused the only blemish on the Yellow Jackets’ 2021 regular-season record. Even worse, the 23-10 loss to the Chiefs spoiled Byrd’s homecoming.

So a little loss of focus against Southwood would be understandable. But that’s not how the Yellow Jackets are built.

“Our kids stay on a pretty even keel,” says Byrd head coach Stacy Ballew. “Win or lose, they’ve come out to practice every week the same. None of us took Southwood lightly. They (the Cowboys) played a really good game against (Captain) Shreve.”

Focused on the task at hand, the Yellow Jackets opened up a 37-0 lead at the half and were able to sit most of their starters in the final two quarters.

Desmond Simmons ended the night with a game-high 106 yards on eight carries – and half of those were for touchdowns. The sophomore running back had a first-half touchdown run of 3 yards and added three more scores in the second half (1 yard, 7 yards, and 64 yards).

The Yellow Jackets’ 58-0 victory over Southwood was a total team effort – between seven offensive scores was a safety and a 61-yard kickoff return by Christian Jones. Starting quarterback Lake Lambert had touchdown runs of 60 and 14 yards, Dixon Poirier had an 8-yard touchdown run, Hunter Thrash had two interceptions and a forced fumble, and Abram Murray was 8-for-8 on PATs.

Once the game was over, then the Yellow Jackets could turn their thoughts toward the Chiefs.

“We’re right where we want to be,” Ballew told his team right after the victory over Southwood. “We are 6-3 with a chance to be 7-3. We play Natchitoches Central next week, and I don’t need to remind you about what happened last year.”

He’s right – he didn’t need to remind them.

“Motivation is not going to be a problem this week,” said Lambert, the senior who has lost just three District 1-5A games since taking over as Byrd’s starting quarterback at the beginning of his sophomore season.

Two of those losses came this year – 63-28 to Benton in Week 5 and 48-28 in Week 8 to district unbeaten Airline   – while the third came against . . . you-know-who.

“Playing Natchitoches is a little different than our other district games,” said the second-year head coach. “Our kids don’t run into their kids around town. Because of the distance, it’s different than our games against the other 1-5A teams.”

When GeauxPreps came out with its playoff predictions following last week’s games, Byrd was listed as the possible No. 5 seed in Select Division I with a first-round bye and possible home game in Round 2.

While it’s still a little early to start making plans for the playoffs, Ballew knows the Yellow Jackets are in good shape – no matter who or where they play.

“We’re just taking it one week at a time,” he said. “If we win, the projections probably don’t change much. I’m not necessarily a fan of the first-round bye, but sometimes a bye week can be good because your players will be well-rested.

“We’re just going to concentrate on what we need to do. We want to come out, control the clock offensively, and make sure we’re running to the ball.”

Byrd (6-3, 3-3) and Natchitoches Central (3-6, 2-4) meet Friday night at Turpin Stadium. 

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com 


Second-half comeback gives Evangel bittersweet victory over Huntington

FIELD OF DREAMS: Evangel quarterback Peyton Fulghum (12) surveys the beautiful new artificial turf at Rodney Duron Field as the Eagles hosted the Huntington Raiders in a District 1-4A matchup Friday night. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

It would take more than a light rainfall to dampen the spirits of Evangel fans at Rodney Duron Field Friday night.

After the Eagles had played on the road for seven straight weeks, they were taking on the Huntington Raiders in their Homecoming game on the beautiful new artificial turf field.

Spirits were dampened somewhat, however, as the teams gathered near midfield following Evangel’s 21-14 victory over Huntington in the District 1-4A matchup.

As the Eagles (5-4, 4-2) were celebrating the hard-fought victory over the Raiders (5-4, 4-2), Evangel junior Garrett Burns lay at midfield as medical personnel tended to the injured wide receiver and trainers waited for an ambulance to arrive.

“He’s unbelievable,” Evangel head coach Denny Duron said of Burns, who was on the ground for about five minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter following a 19-yard run that put the Eagles at the Huntington 3-yard line. “He’s just amazing. He was himself tonight. That’s what he does.”

“He’s a tough kid,” Evangel quarterback Peyton Fulghum said of Burns, who gains more yards after contact than most players gain before.

Burns, who had 125 yards rushing on 16 carries before leaving with the injury, was sandwiched between Huntington defenders at the end of the 19-yard run. Two plays later, Peyton Fulghum found his brother Parker for a 5-yard touchdown pass that put the Eagles up 21-8 with 6:51 left in the game.

“We overcame a lot of stuff tonight,” said Duron, whose Eagles trailed 8-7 at the half.

Evangel got on the board first when Jamal Jordan intercepted a Jamarion Washington pass and ran it back 44 yards for a touchdown. With Kaegan Kent’s PAT, the Eagles took an early 7-0 lead.

Washington got the start at quarterback as Kam Evans’ shoulder injury kept the Huntington star, the state’s second-leading passer, on the sidelines. Evans is “day-to-day” and hopes to be back in the lineup for the Raiders’ final regular-season game against Bossier next Thursday.

Huntington took the lead midway through the second quarter as John Solomon followed a 64-yard run with a 1-yard TD and then ran in the 2-point conversion to put the Raiders up 8-7.

Solomon had 123 yards rushing in the first half and finished the game with 131 yards on 13 carries.

Evangel recaptured the lead (14-8) three minutes into the third quarter when Damari Drake scored on a 9-yard run and Kent converted the PAT. Kent was 3-for-3 on the night. The Eagles’ defense, which held Huntington to just 48 yards rushing in the second half, caused a fumble and recovered it deep in Raiders’ territory to set the offense up on the go-ahead drive.

After Evangel padded the spread to 21-8 on the Fulghum family hookup, Huntington got within 7 points (21-14) with 4:58 remaining in the game when Washington connected with Kenton Brossett for a 30-yard touchdown.

“Defense played their tails off tonight,” Huntington head coach Stephen Dennis told his team following the loss.

The Raiders’ defense held the powerful Evangel passing attack in check and held Peyton Fulghum to just 65 yards on 12-of-19 passing with 1 TD.

“The effort was there tonight,” said Dennis. “We just didn’t make enough plays. So what do we do now? We go home, watch the film, proceed to get better, and get ready for Senior Night (against Bossier).”

Evangel closes out the regular season next Friday at Booker T. Washington.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

Evangel 21, Huntington 14

Score by quarters

Huntington | 0 | 8 | 0 | 6 | – 14

Evangel | 7 | 0 | 7 | 7 | – 21

Scoring summary

E – Jamal Jordan 29 interception return (Kaegan Kent kick)

H – John Solomon 1 run (Solomon run)

E – Damari Drake 9 run (Kent kick)

E – Parker Fulghum 5 pass from Peyton Fulghum (Kent kick)

H – Kenton Brossett 30 pass from Jamarion Washington (run failed)

Individual leaders

Rushing 

Huntington (34-166), John Solomon 13-131 1TD, Jamarion Washington 12-37, Jamarion Mims 5-2, Kaleb Tucker 1-2, Tre Carter 3-(-6).

Evangel (33-195), Garrett Burns 16-125, Dashawn Johnson 9-36, Damari Drake 5-32 1TD, Peyton Fulghum 3-2.

Passing 

Huntington (6-8-1-73), Jamarion Washington 6-8-1-73 1TD.

Evangel (12-19-0-65), Peyton Fulghum 12-19-0-65 1TD.

Receiving 

Huntington, Kenton Brossett 2-39 1TD, Jarvis Davis 1-18, John Solomon 1-11, Jimmy Anderson 1-9, Carter 1-(-4).

Evangel, Judah Whorton 4-24, Parker Fulghum 3-17 1TD, Brayden Curry 3-13, Jackson Graham 1-11.


Cavs roll over Warriors, remain undefeated in District 1-2A

FAST AND FURIOUS: Calvary got on the board early and often in the Cavaliers’ 63-0 victory over Lakeside in District 1-2A action at Jerry Barker Stadium Thursday night. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

Calvary’s James Simon took just five handoffs Thursday night at Jerry Barker Stadium, and one of those was from his mother.

It was just before kickoff and the sophomore running back had left his No. 31 jersey at home, which – fortunately – is just minutes from the Calvary Baptist campus. Almost as soon as he took the handoff from his mother and got the jersey pulled over his pads, Simon was in the end zone for the first of his three touchdowns in the Cavaliers’ 63-0 rout over Lakeside (4-5, 0-4 in District 1-2A).

“My brother was rushing me,” Simon said with a laugh as he tried to explain why he had made it to the stadium without his jersey.

Turns out Simon wouldn’t need his jersey for long. When the first quarter ended, Simon had carried the ball four times, scored three touchdowns (on runs of 25 yards, 37 yards, and 1 yard) and the Cavaliers were up 28-0.

And the brother who caused him to leave his jersey at home? That would be Jay Simon, the junior who was on the receiving end of both of Abram Wardell’s touchdown passes in the second quarter.

Wardell finished 10-of-11 for 168 yards and three touchdowns in just over two quarters of play. James Simon had 72 yards on just four carries with three touchdowns while Jay Simon had two touchdowns on his two receptions (11 and 20 yards).

In the District 1-2A romp over the Warriors, the Cavs: ran just 25 plays the entire game (just two more than Lakeside ran in the first quarter alone), scored nine touchdowns with only eight possessions, and had two pick sixes (by Landon Sylvie and Chaz Whitaker).

“One of the plays was designed for me,” Jay Simon said of his two touchdowns. “On the other one, I just went up the field and I saw Abram scrambling so I cut it toward the end zone.”

Wardell connected with Aubrey Hermes for a 31-yard touchdown at the start of the second half to put Calvary up 49-0 and then handed the quarterback duties to freshman Owen Smith, whose 14-yard touchdown run on the Cavs’ next possession put them up 56-0.

Calvary’s final score came in the fourth quarter when Whitaker intercepted a Cooper Chase pass and ran it back for a 44-yard score.

The Cavs’ defense held the Warriors to minus-24 yards rushing and just 58 yards passing as the Lakeside quarterback was able to complete just 9-of-18 passes with three interceptions.

Tyson Driskell had 20 yards rushing for Calvary, followed by Smith with 16 yards. Kolby Thomas had four catches for 68 yards while Hermes finished with 43 yards on two catches. Garrett Little was 6-for-6 on PATs while Ty Knight was 3-for-3.

The Cavs (7-2, 4-0 in District 1-2A) close out the regular season next week against Loyola at Messmer Stadium.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

 Calvary 63, Lakeside 0

Score by quarters

Lakeside | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | – 0

Calvary | 28 | 14 | 14 | 7 | – 63

Scoring summary

C – James Simon 25 run (Garrett Little kick)

C – Landon Sylvie 55 interception return (Little kick)

C – James Simon 37 run (Little kick)

C – James Simon 1 run (Little kick)

C – Jay Simon 11 pass from Abram Wardell (Little kick)

C – Jay Simon 20 pass from Wardell (Little kick)

C – Aubrey Hermes 31 pass from Wardell (Ty Knight kick)

C – Owen Smith 14 run (Knight kick)

C – Chaz Whitaker 44 interception return (Knight kick)

Individual leaders

Rushing – Calvary (12-120), James Simon 4-72 3 TDs, Tyson Driskell 3-20, Owen Smith 2-16 1 TD, Chaz Whitaker 2-8, Abram Wardell 1-4. Lakeside (19-minus 24), Jordan Case 7-3, Cooper Chase 10-(-20), Rokedrick Smith 2-(-7).

Passing – Calvary (11-12-0-173), Abram Wardell 10-11-0-168 3TDs, Owen Smith 1-1-0-5. Lakeside (9-18-3-58), Cooper Chase 9-18-3-58.

Receiving – Calvary, Kolby Thomas 4-68, Aubrey Hermes 2-43 1TD, Jay Simon 2-31 2 TDs, Chris Jackson 1-20, James Simon 1-6, Luke Toups 1-5. Lakeside, Joshua Sebald 4-46, James Maxie 2-5, Omero Urbina 1-4, Rodney Smith 1-2, Jordan Case 1-1.


Benton golfer Noah McWilliams repeats as Louisiana Player of the Year

REPEAT WINNER: Benton’s Noah McWilliams is the first golfer to win back-to-back Louisiana Player of the Year honors – in the junior division. (Photo by HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

When Benton golfer Noah McWilliams was recently named the 2022 Louisiana Boys’ Player of the Year, he became the first back-to-back winner in the junior division.

“I’m very honored because there are a lot of good junior players who have come through Louisiana,” said McWilliams, the Benton High School senior who will be playing golf for LSU next year.

Also taking home Player of the Year in the Boys’ 11-13 division is Hudson Greene of Bossier City.

Winning the Louisiana Golf Association’s Player of the Year just runs in the McWilliams family. In fact, winning back-to-back honors has now become commonplace in the Benton household.

Robby McWilliams, Noah’s father, has won the Louisiana Golf Association Senior Player of the Year for three straight years.

Noah McWilliams was a runaway winner in the boys’ division, finishing over 300 points higher than the second-place winner. And he defended his title in dominating fashion, winning three out of the five Louisiana Junior Golf Tour events in which he participated.

In addition to his three wins on the Tour, McWilliams finished tied for 6th in the LJGT at Squire Creek and 7th in the Sam Burns Junior Four-Ball with his partner, Brown Snyder of Benton. He was also runner-up in the 65th Louisiana Junior Amateur Championship.

The LGA Player of the Year award earns McWilliams an exemption into the 51 Southern Junior Amateur that will take place June 14-16, 2023, at the Baton Rouge Country Club.

“This gives me confidence going into my senior season,” said McWilliams, who will go down in history as one of the most decorated LJGT players of all time.

Shreveport’s Sydney Moss, who plays for the University of Memphis, finished tied for second for Player of the Year in the girls’ division. Abigail McWilliams, Noah’s younger sister, finished fourth.

Moss and Mattie Purgahn of Lake Charles finished just 15 points behind Girls’ Player of the Year Samantha Schultz of Mandeville.

For the second year in a row, the Boys’ 11-13 Player of the Year race came down to the LJGT Tour Championship. Greene won the season race by 20 points over Noah Chauvin of Broussard and Slayte Guidry of Logansport.

Greene competed in six LJGT events – finishing top three in all – and won the LJGT at Querbes Park. He also finished as the runner-up in the 11-13 division of the 65th Louisiana Junior Amateur.

In the boys’ division, Shreveport’s Ryder Briggs finished seventh in the Player of the Year standings.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


With 4 straight Ws, Snoopy is flying high

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports 

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the Shreveport-Bossier Journal spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”) 

Loyola head coach Mike Greene knows his football players could have hung their heads after starting this season 0-3. 

The Flyers lost the season-opener 38-7 to Captain Shreve and followed that with losses to Logansport (42-40) and North DeSoto (49-7). 

“I told our guys, ‘A lot of teams would really get down being 0-3,’” says Greene. 

Not the Flyers. In fact, they did just the opposite – they started a new streak. 

Last week’s 41-14 win over Lakeside in Sibley was Loyola’s fourth victory in a row, raising their overall record to 4-3 and District 1-2A record to 3-0. Their other district wins came against Green Oaks and D’Arbonne Woods. 

When Greene was coming up with the 2022 schedule, he intentionally put the Flyers up against some strong competition at the beginning of the season. 

“I told the kids that when the schedule came out, we were going to start off with three tough games,” says Greene. “I don’t want to get to district and the playoffs and be surprised by anybody.” 

For a while last Friday night, it looked like the Flyers might have trouble getting that fourth win in a row.

“I was worried about it at halftime because it seemed like we were sleep walking,” Greene said after the game. 

If the Flyers were sleep walking in the first half against Lakeside, then they woke up as soon as they hit the field for the second half – scoring on their first three possessions. 

The third quarter was highlighted by touchdown runs from senior quarterback Cooper DeFatta (7 and 8 yards) and senior running back Trace Wall. 

DeFatta, who was an all-district linebacker last season, is becoming more and more comfortable in his new role. 

“He’s come a long way at quarterback,” Greene says of DeFatta, who also had a touchdown pass to Robert Pavlick in the first quarter against Lakeside. “He’s taking what they give him, and he has started running the ball when he needs to. He’s managing the offense so much better.” 

While the Flyers had to battle injuries through the first part of the season, they started getting healthy by the time district play began. 

“We lost two guys in the Shreve game,” says Greene. “We had a lot of people hurt. But I knew when district started, our mainstay guys would be there.” 

Greene has gotten strong play from his defense, led by senior linebackers Gray Deason and Pavlick and defensive backs Reagan Coyle (junior), Colin Lirette (senior), Grayson Hutchins (senior) and junior Rowan Guthikonda, who has also played outside linebacker. 

“We played good defensively all night, but that kid (senior quarterback Cooper Chase) threw the ball so well,” Greene said of last week’s game, where Hutchins had an interception for the Flyers. “Colin Lirette played man-to-man almost all night and had a really good game.” 

The Flyers will need strong performances from both sides of the ball if they want their winning streak to continue. They’ll be home at Messmer Stadium for the final two regular-season games – district matchups against North Caddo (6-2, 2-1) this Friday and Calvary (6-2, 3-0) on Nov. 4. 

“We’re where we need to be,” says Greene. And that’s pretty far from where they started. 

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat on back-to-back nights

There is nothing quite like a high school football game on a cool (but not cold, please) fall evening.

Driving up to the stadium as the sun begins to set, you notice the stadium lights that lead you to the field where so many dreams go to live – and die. Approaching from the parking lot, you can hear the band making its way from the school and see the boys on the field going through their pre-game warmups.I feel lucky to be covering high school football games – getting back to what I used to do over 30 years ago and feeling so fortunate to be able to do it again after all this time.

I spent last Thursday and Friday nights where I have been spending them for the past eight weeks – watching high school football.

Last week’s games were unique, however. On both nights, I covered four teams who were all looking for their first victory of the season. The Booker T. Washington Lions traveled to Bossier Memorial Stadium on Thursday to take on the Bearkats while Plain Dealing made the trip to Magnolia School of Excellence on Friday.

There are not a lot of guarantees in life, but there were two certainties on each of these nights – when the game clock wound down to 00:00, a joyous celebration would break out on the field by one team while the other would have to wait at least another week to enjoy the taste of that long-anticipated first victory.

BTW head coach Tony Reliford was subjected to an ice-cold bath from his players following the Lions’ 34-32 victory over Bossier in their District 1-4A battle and emerged from the celebration with a relieved – and happy – look on his face. And it was not an easy win as the back-and-forth battle came down to the final possession of the game.

“Playoffs, coach,” BTW freshman wide receiver La’Darrius Frierson said as he passed Reliford.

“One step at a time,” responded the Lions’ coach.

There was no cold bath for Magnolia coach Toriano Williams following the Mariners’ 34-12 District 1-1A victory over Plain Dealing, but there was celebrating.

After the players and coaches congratulated each other and sang the Alma Mater, I sat down with DeAndre and brother DeVondre Johnson to get their reaction to the victory.

“This is just the beginning,” said DeAndre Johnson, who caught 70- and 29-yard touchdown passes from Mark McCray in the rout of Plain Dealing. “This makes us believe we can beat whoever we face. This will build us up and make us tougher.”

It was younger brother DeVondre’s 62-yard touchdown catch on Magnolia’s first play from scrimmage that got the scoring going for the Mariners, who led 28-0 at the half.

“It feels good,” said DeVondre Johnson. “This is just going to make us work harder and stay focused.”

For D’Aumante Johnson and Clint Walker, it was a different story. Their players were hoping they would be the ones doing the celebrating.

“It hurt,” said Johnson, the Bossier coach whose team hasn’t tasted victory since the final game of the 2021 regular season. “Our offense didn’t play well. We’re going to have to make some changes offensively.”

There wasn’t much more to say.

“We’re our own worst enemy,” said Walker, the Plain Dealing coach who is fielding a team of only 15 players. “Any normal team would not have to play their players in all three phases (offense, defense, and special teams).”

These four teams went into Week 7 looking for their first victory of the season, but only two could come out victorious.

Just doesn’t seem fair.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


First victory brings a sense of relief, and pride, to Lions

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the SBJ spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

For seven weeks, the Booker T. Washington Lions had been fighting to get their first win of the 2022 season.

In Week 7, last Thursday night at Bossier Memorial Stadium, the Lions broke through and got that first one with a hard-fought, back-and-forth, 34-32 victory over the Bearkats – who were also fighting for their first notch in the win column.

BTW head coach Tony Reliford can see the difference that first victory can make.

“I can tell by watching them in the hallways at school,” says Reliford. “They’re a little more light-hearted. It’s definitely a difference maker.”

More than that, however, it is a relief.

“Yeah, it was back-and-forth and exciting – from a viewer’s standpoint,” says Reliford, whose Lions are now 1-6 overall and 1-3 in District 1-4A. “From a coach’s standpoint, it was really intense.

“We go up at halftime (14-12) and then come out and turn the ball over. Then we’re down by 12 points. But our guys didn’t panic. Our kids didn’t give up.”

Bossier recaptured the lead in the third quarter with a pick-six by Ja’karvis Guice and a 35-yard touchdown pass from Quintarion Scott to Jayden Goosby. When BTW got a 16-yard touchdown pass from Damion O’Neal to La’Darrius Frierson with three minutes left in the third, the Lions had gotten to within 26-20.

Two touchdown runs by Kendrick Pratt (32 and 77 yards) gave the Lions a 34-26 lead with five-and-a-half minutes left in the game.

A 19-yard touchdown run by LaBrandon Davis brought the Bearkats within two (34-32) with 3:37 remaining. The Lions held on for victory by stopping Bossier’s 2-point conversion and then running out the clock – thanks to a seven-play drive that included three first-down runs by Pratt.

Pratt finished the game with 233 yards on 32 carries with four TDs (5, 5, 32, and 77 yards) and the two difference-making 2-point conversions.

While Pratt carried the load on offense, it was a “mixture of guys” who led the Lions’ defense.

“Cedric Dennis, at linebacker, was solid,” says Reliford. “And he’s been solid for us all year. (Defensive back) Taboyous Anderson really stepped up, too. And (defensive lineman) Cardell Marston.”

The Lions have relied on a young team this season – either young in years or new to football. Pratt (a senior) is new to the running back position, Marston is a junior, Dennis and Anderson are sophomores, and O’Neal and Frierson are both freshmen.

The 2022 BTW roster includes 11 seniors, 10 juniors, 16 sophomores, and 14 freshmen.

“We’ve got one offensive lineman with experience from last year,” says Reliford. “Defensive line through linebacker, we have two guys with experience. We’ve got new guys even in our skill positions on offense.

“So there have been growing pains,” says Reliford. “It’s a process getting through it, absolutely.”

As the Lions were making their way from the field to the school buses following Thursday night’s victory, linebackers coach Floyd Davis talked about the impact Reliford has had on this team.

“He knows he has young guys,” Davis said of Reliford. “He pushes the guys hard. He motivates and loves those guys.”

And while winning games is important to a team – especially the victory that breaks a losing streak – that’s not the No. 1 priority for Reliford.

“My first goal is to make sure all these seniors graduate,” the fifth-year coach said at the pre-season gathering of Caddo Parish coaches at Independence Stadium. “Those guys have been there for four years and I feel like we owe that to them. I can’t say it’s all about wins and losses because we have struggled for the last few years.”

Still, the win over Bossier is important.

“They don’t have that hanging over their head now,” says Reliford.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com 


Magnolia gets first taste of victory, decisively, over Plain Dealing

HOMECOMING WIN: Magnolia quarterback Mark McCray eludes Plain Dealing’s Tyrese Kimble during the Mariners’ 34-12 victory over the Lions Friday night. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports) 

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports   

Magnolia’s 34-12 District 1-1A victory over Plain Dealing accomplished more than just giving the Mariners their first victory of the season.   

It showed that perhaps head coach Toriano Williams wasn’t all that crazy when he came up with the 2022 schedule.   

“This is amazing,” Williams said of the Mariners’ Friday night Homecoming victory over the Lions at Magnolia Stadium. “This just validates our schedule.   

“We went through the blender,” he said of the schedule that included Lake Charles Prep, General Trass, Homer, East Iberville, Westgate, and Glenbrook in the first six games. “That’s a tough schedule against tough teams. We used that experience to get better.”   

Plain Dealing would not pose such a challenge as the Lions – like Magnolia – went into Friday night’s game with a 0-6 overall and 0-3 district record. But that didn’t make the victory any less sweet.   

“This shows us that we can win,” said Magnolia quarterback Mark McCray, who was 13-of-19 for 224 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. “It was a little unexpected that we scored so fast, but that’s what we practice – the QB getting the ball off fast.” 

The Mariners’ scored really fast. On their first play from scrimmage, McCray connected with DeVondre Johnson for a 62-yard TD which – with Jaylin McClintock’s 2-point conversion run — gave the home team a quick 8-0 lead. 

After forcing a three-and-out, McCray found DeAndre Johnson wide open down the middle for a 70-yard touchdown on the second play of the Mariners’ next drive. Following a Clyde Young interception of Lions’ quarterback Joshua Miller, McCray took Magnolia on a five-play, 44-yard drive capped off by a 14-yard TD pass to Travis Sanders, Jr. 

Eight plays. Three touchdowns. One 2-point conversion. And a 20-0 lead at the end of the first quarter for Magnolia. Fast and efficient.   

McCray’s fourth TD pass was a 29-yarder to DeAndre Johnson with 18 seconds left in the second quarter. With McClintock’s 2-point conversion run, Magnolia had a 28-0 lead at halftime.   

The first half was a different story for the Lions – six possessions, two lost fumbles, three interceptions, one punt, one turnover on downs, and lots of penalties.   

“In the first half, we were our own worst enemy – turnovers and penalties,” said Plain Dealing head coach Clint Walker.   

The Lions were able to get on the board at the beginning of the second half when Tyrese Kimble intercepted a McCray pass and ran it back 61 yards for the score. They added another touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter on a 12-yard pass from Miller to Elijawon James (the Lions were unsuccessful on both 2-point conversions).   

Magnolia’s second-half score came on a three-play drive that started at the Plain Dealing 14 –thanks to a DeVondre Johnson interception – and ended with a 5-yard TD run by Sanders. 

For Magnolia, the game went according to plan – go through the air early to open up the run game in the second half. 

Sanders ran four times in the first half for 17 yards but carried the load on the ground in the second half – with 19 carries for 127 yards. He led all rushers with 144 yards on 23 carries. 

“I was just going through the line, maneuvering, and then picking up speed,” Sanders said of his second-half performance. “I was just following the blocks.” 

Plain Dealing was able to get just 64 yards on the ground and 17 through the air. Kimble led the Lions with 30 yards on five carries while Miller was just 4-for-17 for 49 yards and four interceptions. 

Magnolia (1-6, 1-3) will host Haynesville next Friday night while Plain Dealing (0-7, 0-4) will be at home against Glenbrook. 

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com 

Magnolia 34, Plain Dealing 12

Score by quarters

Plain Dealing | 0 | 0 | 6 | 6 | – 12

Magnolia | 20 | 8 | 6 | 0 | – 34

Scoring summary

M – DeVondre Johnson 62 pass from Mark McCray (Jaylin McClintock run)

M – DeAndre Johnson 70 pass from McCray (run failed)

M – Travis Sanders, Jr. 14 pass from McCray (run failed)

M – DeAndre Johnson 29 pass from McCray (McClintock run)

PD – Tyrese Kimble 61 interception return (pass failed)

M – Sanders 5 run (run failed)

PD – Elijawon James 12 pass from Joshua Miller (pass failed)

Individual leaders

Rushing

Plain Dealing (30-64), Kimble 5-30, Aaron Reddix 11-22, Dayden Ray 7-15, Logan Hastings 2-1, Anthony Taylor 1-0, Miller 4-(-4).

Magnolia (38-245), Sanders 23-144 1 TD, McClintock 7-79, McCray 8-22.

Passing

Plain Dealing (4-17-5-49), Miller 4-15-4-49 1 TD, Kimble 0-2-1-0.

Magnolia (13-19-1-224), McCray 13-19-1-224 4 TDs.

Receiving 

Plain Dealing, Kimble 3-37, James 1-12 1 TD.

Magnolia, DeAndre Johnson 2-99 2 TDs, DeVondre Johnson 1-62 1 TD, Mitchell Adams 3-27, Sanders 3-18 1 TD, McClintock 1-14, Peter Santiago 2-4.


Bucs find themselves in good position at this point of the season

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports 

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the Shreveport-Bossier Journal spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

If you had told Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton a few weeks ago where his team would be at this point of the season, he might not have believed you.

The 2-0 Buccaneers went into Week 3 at Many and were soundly defeated 35-3 right before the start of District 1-5A play. The following week, they opened district play against Parkway and put up a fight before losing 17-14 on Aeron Burrell’s 50-yard field goal with three seconds left in the game.

It took the Bucs a little while to get going in their district game against Southwood in Week 5’s Homecoming game, but they used a strong second half to grab a 37-24 victory against the Cowboys.

And then came last week, when the Bucs went into Lee Hedges Stadium to meet Byrd – considered by Brotherton to be “the standard” in District 1-5A — for the Yellow Jackets’ Homecoming game. Byrd held a 10-5 overall record against Haughton, won last season’s matchup 38-7, and went into the game No. 2 in Division I Select in the LHSAA power ratings and No. 2 in the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10.

The Yellow Jackets got on the board first, but the Bucs fought back to take a 17-14 lead at the half and then dominated the second half – highlighted by four consecutive Byrd turnovers and an incredible performance by Haughton running back Tyler Rhodes. Rhodes had 92 yards rushing and one of his two touchdowns in the final two quarters as the Bucs held on for the 23-14 victory.

With the victory, Haughton has been named the Journal’s “Team of the Week.”

“I’m really excited about where we are,” says Brotherton. “Our outlook has changed a lot in the last few weeks.”

The outlook began to change after the heartbreaker against Parkway. “I think that opened our kids’ eyes that if we play a certain way, we play well, we play clean, we can beat people that are good,” said Brotherton. “It’s hard to say a loss springboards your season, but I really feel like it did.”

The way the Bucs played against the Yellow Jackets was everything the Haughton coach mentioned – complimentary football with all three phases of the game clicking in a well-played, clean game.

“We ran the ball two-thirds of the time, and that’s our best weapon,” said Brotherton. “Early in the game we were pretty balanced. (Quarterback) Colin (Rains) was very efficient passing, and that allows you to run the ball.”

Rains was 11-for-15 for 163 yards and one TD while Rhodes finished with 150 yards on 21 carries and two TDs.

“Offense usually gets the credit,” said Brotherton, “but our defense played great. They forced four turnovers in the second half. Hats off to them.”

Now, the focus is on the second half of the regular season — which includes games against Airline, Benton, Natchitoches Central, and Captain Shreve in what Brotherton calls “a loaded district” – and getting to the playoffs.

“We know we’ve gotta get to ‘this many’ wins to get to the playoffs,” said Brotherton. “From that standpoint, it (the victory over Byrd) was huge. We feel like we’ve gotta win one more.”

Brotherton is not only excited about where his team is at this point, he’s excited about what’s ahead.

“We always say we want to play in big games,” he said. “We’re going to have a huge game next week at Airline. I’m excited.”

Haughton takes a 4-2 overall and 2-1 district record to Airline (3-3, 3-0) on Thursday night.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Calvary runs (and passes) away with victory over North Caddo

LEADING THE WAY: James Simon (31) ran for two of Calvary’s touchdowns while Abram Wardell passed for four scores in the Cavaliers’ 56-26 victory over North Caddo Friday night in Vivian. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

North Caddo needed just 13 seconds to take the lead against Calvary in the District 1-2A clash in Vivian Friday night.

The Titans scored on the second play from scrimmage when Omarion Miller caught a screen pass from Aiden Brock and ran 60 yards for the opening touchdown. Although the 2-point conversion failed, North Caddo had a quick 6-0 lead.

That was the only lead the Titans would have – and it lasted less than two minutes.

Calvary scored on its first possession — and on seven of its next eight possessions – en route to a 56-26 victory over North Caddo in the district opener.

“They’re a good team and they’re gonna make some plays,” said Calvary head coach Rodney Guin. “We just had to make more plays.”

And the Cavs made lots more plays.

A four-play, 64-yard drive – capped off by a 47-yard touchdown pass from Abram Wardell to Chris Jackson and a Garrett Little PAT – gave Calvary a quick 7-6 lead. After forcing a 3-and-out, the Cavs went on a 9-play, 60-yard drive that included four Wardell completions and two runs by James Simon – the last being a 3-yard touchdown scamper to put Calvary up 14-6 (Little converted all eight of his PATs).

Miller came back with a 1-yard touchdown run to get the Titans within two points (14-12), but that’s as close as they got all night. James Simon’s second touchdown (a 7-yard run) gave Calvary a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Cavs added two more touchdowns in the second quarter (a 15-yard run by Wardell and an 11-yard pass from Wardell to Jackson) to take a commanding 35-12 advantage at the half.

When Calvary came out in the third quarter and put two more touchdowns on the board – a 41-yard pass from Wardell to Aubrey Hermes and another scoring run by Jackson (8 yards) – the Cavs had a 48-12 lead and the game went to a running clock.

Mason Jackson took over at quarterback for the Titans in the second half and scored North Caddo’s final two touchdowns on runs of 2 and 6 yards. He was also 3-of-3 passing for 124 yards.

Calvary’s final score came on a 30-yard completion from Wardell to Jay Simon.

“This was a big statement game for us,” said Wardell, the Calvary sophomore quarterback who finished 21-for-24 for 291 yards and four touchdowns (in addition to his rushing TD). “We had two rough losses earlier. Tonight, we just stayed with our game plan.”

The plan, according to James Simon, was to let him get the drives going on the ground and then open it up in the air.

It worked.

Simon led the Cavs with 87 yards on 13 carries with 2 TDs, followed by Wardell with six carries for 35 yards and a TD. Wardell had completions to seven different receivers  — led by Kolby Thomas with 44 yards on five catches and Jackson with four catches for 76 yards and 2 TDs.

“There weren’t any surprises,” said North Caddo head coach Johnny Kavanaugh. “They’re a very talented team – we knew that coming in. That’s just good football. They jumped on us.”

KJ Black led the Titans with 44 yards on 9 carries while Miller finished with three catches for 102 yards.

Calvary (4-2, 1-0 in 1-2A) plays host to Green Oaks on Friday while North Caddo (4-2, 0-1) takes on Lakeside.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

 Calvary 56, North Caddo 26

Score by quarters

Calvary | 21 | 14 | 14 | 7 | – 56

North Caddo | 12 | 0 | 6 | 8 | – 26

Scoring summary

NC – Omarion Miller 60 pass from Aiden Brock (run failed)

C – Chris Jackson 47 pass from Abram Wardell (Garrett Little kick)

C – James Simon 3 run (Little kick)

NC – Miller 1 run (run failed)

C – Simon 7 run (Little kick)

C – Wardell 15 run (Little kick)

C – Jackson 11 pass from Wardell (Little kick)

C – Aubrey Hermes 41 pass from Wardell (Little kick)

C – Jackson 8 run (Little kick)

NC – Mason Jackson 2 run (run failed)

C – Jay Simon 30 pass from Wardell (Little kick)

NC – Jackson 6 run (Gianni Black pass from Jackson)

Individual leaders

Rushing – Calvary (25-125), James Simon 13-87 2 TDs, Wardell 6-35 1 TD, Jackson 1-8 1 TD, Julius Moss 1-2, Chaz Whitaker 2-2, Own Smith 2-(-9). North Caddo (30-92), KJ Black 9-44, Brock 8-22, Miller 4-17 1TD, Jackson 6-15 2TDs, Marcellus Armstrong 2-(-3), Tray Morris 1-(-3).

Passing – Calvary (21-24-0-291), Wardell 21-24-0 291 4TDs. North Caddo (8-11-0-198), Jackson 3-3-0-124, Brock 4-6-0-74 1TD, Armstrong 1-1-0-0, Miller 0-1-0-0.

Receiving – Calvary, Kolby Thomas 5-44, Jackson 4-76 2 TDs, Hermes 4-81 1 TD, Jay Simon 3-58 1 TD, James Simon 3-28, Xavier Mcglothan 1-3, Moss 1-1. North Caddo, Miller 3-102 1 TD, Jquay Vinson 3-48, Tray Morris 1-40, Antonio Nelson 1-8.


Northwood expects a ‘different’ Evangel team in tonight’s district matchup

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

When Evangel and Northwood clash in a District 1-4A matchup tonight at Jerry Burton Memorial Stadium, there will be a big difference from last year’s game.

Maybe in the outcome, when the Falcons defeated the Eagles 26-0? We’ll have to see.

According to Northwood head coach Austin Brown, it will look different.

“They’re gonna walk off the bus and their 22 starters are gonna look better than our 22 starters,” says Brown. “They’ve definitely gotten older. Their experience of taking some beatings the last couple of years has paid off. They’ve taken their beating playing as freshmen and sophomores and now most of the team is juniors.”

Brown says the Eagles (3-2, 2-0 in 1-4A) are getting “back to their old Evangel ways” after going 0-8 in 2020 and 3-8 last season.

“We won 26-0 last year, but it was a very close game,” says Brown, whose Falcons come into tonight’s Homecoming game 3-2 overall and 1-1 in 1-4A. “We held them to 110 total yards on offense and they held us to 250. The game was about capitalizing on mistakes, and they had more mistakes than we did.”

If the season so far has been any indication, there are some things you can expect in tonight’s game – a strong performance by Evangel’s defense (their most consistent unit this season) and some fireworks from their offense.

“They’ve got a very good quarterback and wide receiver,” says Brown. “They’ve got some twin action there.”

Quarterback Peyton Fulghum is 41-of-78 for 639 yards and 6 TDs and twin brother Parker Fulghum has caught 25 passes for 418 yards and 5 TDs.

“They didn’t have very much success running against us last year,” says Brown, “but they’ve lit it up through the air this year.”

Northwood quarterback Mason Welch has also thrown well this season, connecting on 54 of 96 passes for 927 yards and 3 TDs. Marc Denison leads the Falcons in receiving with 18 catches for 488 yards and 2 TDs.

Quintavion White leads the Northwood rushing attack with 515 yards on 81 carries and 10 TDs, followed by Fabien Sanders with 44 carries for 272 yards and 2 TDs.

Adding another variable to this game will be the fact that tonight’s matchup will be Northwood’s homecoming game.

“No disrespect to Evangel,” says Brown, “but that’s the way the schedule fell. Next week we’re on fall break.”

We’ll see if that makes a difference.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

Evangel (3-2, 2-0 in 1-4A) at Northwood (3-2, 1-1)

Where: Jerry Burton Memorial Stadium

Series: Northwood 2-1

Last year: Northwood 26-0

Last week: Evangel beat Woodlawn 39-12; Northwood beat Bossier 48-12

Rankings: Evangel is receiving votes in SBJ poll; Northwood is No. 9 in Journal  Top 10 poll

LHSAA power ratings: Evangel is No. 18 in Division II Select; Northwood is No. 17 in Division I Select

Radio: Northwood (Miracle 89.1 FM)

Notables: This marks the fourth straight season the Eagles have faced the Falcons. Evangel’s lone victory came in 2019 (50-14). The Falcons took last year’s matchup, 26-0 … the Eagles see the light when it comes to home games. After the field was destroyed when the Eagles played Neville in a driving rain in the season opener, an artificial surface was ordered. The same company that finished Parkway’s new $1.1 million surface in 28 days is on the case. Head coach Denny Duron says the new field will be ready for Evangel’s Oct. 28 homecoming date against Huntington.

Not many teams have a good history playing Evangel, but it was the Falcons who ended the Eagles’ 81-game district winning streak in 2020 … head coach Austin Brown praised the play of senior rover Parker Stroope, who has 21 tackles this year. “He does everything right and is always in the right position,” Brown said. “He’s worked his butt off to get where he is now” … in the win over Bossier, the Falcons got a chance to play a group of freshmen that Brown says “is every bit as good as these seniors were when they were freshmen.”

Huntington (3-2, 2-0 in 1-4A) at BTW (0-5, 0-2)

Where: Leonard C. Barnes Stadium

Series: Huntington 12-11

Last year: did not play

Last week: Huntington beat Minden 60-28; BTW lost to North DeSoto 55-6

Rankings: Huntington is No. 8 in SBJ poll

LHSAA power ratings: Huntington is No. 18 in Division I Select; BTW is No. 34 in Division II Select

Radio: none

Notables: Head coach Stephen Dennis said, “Our level of execution last week was probably the best that it has been in a long time. We had a great offensive outing and defense executed well. We transferred a great week of practice into playing well on both sides of the ball” … Dennis was pleased with the play of offensive tackles Jabaria Scott and Quintavious Bradford, both of whom were playing different positions a year ago … senior defensive tackle Jaylon Buckner continues to be a force with 28 tackles, three sacks and five tackles for loss.  “He’s our rock up front,” Dennis said. “He’s playing out of his mind right now.”

There’s no rest for the weary as the Lions (0-5) will take on district leader Huntington this week at Leonard C. Barnes Stadium … since scoring 36 points in the second week of the season, BTW has only managed three touchdowns in the last three games.

North DeSoto (5-0, 2-0 in 1-4A) vs. Woodlawn (2-3, 1-1)

Where: Independence Stadium

Series: North DeSoto 7-2

Last year: North DeSoto 57-0

Last week: North DeSoto beat BTW 55-6; Woodlawn lost to Evangel 39-12

Rankings: North DeSoto is #8 in 4A LSWA poll

LHSAA power ratings: North DeSoto is No. 6 in Division II Non-Select; Woodlawn is No. 29 in Division II Select

Radio: none 

Notables: Woodlawn head coach Thedrick Harris told Tim Fletcher on the Tim Fletcher Show that he is still looking for a complete game out of his Knights … Woodlawn scored more points in its 38-8 win over BTW in week four than they scored combined in their four losses this season … when Harris watches film of North DeSoto he sees a team that “doesn’t make mistakes.” 


Local artist’s work can be found in private collections all over the world

Whether he is authoring and illustrating books, painting, sculpting or making masks, Stephen Porter’s passion is to create. His artwork can be found in private collections all over the world, including France, Spain, and from California to Connecticut.

Well-known for his murals at ArtBreak and for the community mural on Texas Avenue, Porter is an active local artist and teacher for the Bossier Talented Arts Program.

“Birds, open doors, windows and stairs, animals, clowns and faces, their expressions litter my canvas like a modern-day Guernica,” says Porter, who enjoys the challenge of working on a larger scale – with two of his most notable artworks measuring 25’x5’ and 9’x12.’

“My thoughts, my experiences, each stroke of my brush is influenced by my life and what I have seen or thought I saw, what I heard or though I heard.”

Porter (class of 1973) is one of six individuals – five alumni and one faculty member — who will be inducted into the C.E. Byrd 2022 Hall of Fame. The other inductees include Jericho Brown (class of 1994), a Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry; Merrilee Streun Leatherman (class of 1960), an acclaimed journalist and community leader; William Peatross (class of 1961), a successful attorney and community leader; Cynthia Peterson (class of 1975), a published biochemist and LSU professor; and former faculty member Roy Thomas.

Every two years, the C.E. Byrd Alumni Association honors former students and faculty members who illustrate great success in their careers, communities, and made an impact during their time at C.E. Byrd High School. This year’s Hall of Fame Banquet will be held tonight, with the cocktail hour starting at 6:00 p.m. and the ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. at East Ridge Country Club.

Why was it important to you to stay in Shreveport and promote local and area artists? 

I stayed in Shreveport because of family and work. I continue to create my Art here and encourage others to do so as well. There is an incredible amount of talent in this area, and I feel it is very important to promote that talent.

Why do you enjoy the challenge of creating murals? 

I have created quite a few murals; unfortunately, they are no longer around. The two on Texas Ave. were 88’ and 60’ long and were installed to run 148’; those were a challenge as were the ones I created for children at ArtBreak. I started with a brush and paint and whatever came to mind I would paint. The 88’ and 60’ took many hours. I have since focused on my canvas pieces, which themselves are quite large — for example 8’x9’, 9’x12’ and 25’x5’ — especially the 25’x5’ and 9’x12’ due to their size and basically having to paint only small areas at a time. 

How did Byrd High School help prepare you for your artistic success? 

While I was attending Byrd, I created a piece for downtown. It was a 4’x4’ painting on plywood and was used along with other students’ work to protect people during construction. I think I got 2nd place. Years later, November 1987, I was commissioned by the class of 1987 to do the Yellow Jacket and mascots of the schools Byrd played for the gymnasium. This was quite a challenge and took a while. When completed, The (Shreveport) Times sent a reporter that took photos and wrote a story. Unfortunately, around the same time a tornado hit on the 16th and the story never ran. I also made a huge wreath made out of large vines I collected from the woods for the front of the school and a large custom painted Christmas card. I was quoted as saying “They (the murals) should be there as long as the building stands.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case either.

What are some of your fondest memories from Byrd? 

Riding my motorcycle, hanging out and — I think — the school itself. It’s a beautiful building and, of course, we would go all over from above the ceiling in the auditorium to the catacombs in the basement. These, of course, were not “authorized tours.”

How did you feel when you were told of your induction into the Hall of Fame?

I was surprised and appreciative, but most of all humbled.

What is your all-time favorite movie? Favorite book?

Sergeant York. As far as books, it would be the Bible.

What do you like to do to relax?

Spending time with my family and my grandchildren. If given the opportunity, to fish. I recently sold my Harley — at times that was enjoyable to go for a ride.

For more information, visit byrdhighalumni.org/hall-of-fame or the C.E. Byrd Alumni Association’s Facebook page. Tickets are available to the public and can be purchased via the website or by calling the school directly.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Benton rebounds with ‘almost perfect game’ against Byrd

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

(NOTE – Each Tuesday this season, the SBJ spotlights the staff’s selection as the local “Team of the Week.”)

Right after Benton scored its first touchdown last Friday night, one of the daughters of Tigers’ head coach Reynolds Moore said from the stands: “Wouldn’t it would be crazy if we lose to Airline and then come back and beat Byrd!”

Crazy, indeed.

Just a week earlier, Airline spoiled Homecoming for Benton by defeating the Tigers 75-59 in their District 1-5A opener. And the week before that, Arch Manning and the Newman Greenies welcomed Benton to New Orleans and escaped with a 54-52 win over the Tigers. That’s two straight games where Benton scored 50+ points and lost.

So, when the Yellow Jackets went to Benton for the District 1-5A matchup last Friday night, the Tigers were looking to rebound from the Week 3 and 4 losses and even their district record to 1-1.

How difficult would the task be? Byrd went into the matchup ranked No. 7 in the LSWA Class 5A poll and No. 1 in the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Top 10. And this would be coming a week after the Yellow Jackets had defeated Captain Shreve – another Top 10 team in the state.

“This is who we have to rebound with?” Moore asked himself before taking on the Yellow Jackets.

Yep. And the Tigers rebounded in a big way, with a 63-28 victory over the Yellow Jackets. It was Benton’s first win over Byrd in three tries.

“It’s the biggest regular season win in school history – at least since I’ve been here,” said Moore, who has coached Benton for 10 years.

With the victory, Benton has been named the Journal’s “Team of the Week.”

“We almost played a perfect game,” said Moore. “That’s what it felt like. It’s disappointing in some ways when we realize this is what we’re capable of. We could be 4-1 or 5-0.”

The Tigers led 49-28 after the first half, which included seven touchdown passes by Gray Walters (four to Pearce Russell for 82, 34, 25, and 60 yards; two to Jeffrey King for 72 and 7 yards; and a 12-yarder to Greg Manning). Walters added a 67-yard touchdown pass to Andy Lim in the fourth quarter – eight TDs on 22-of-32 passing for 516 yards with no interceptions.

Russell finished with 12 catches for 267 yards and Manning added 123 yards on the ground on 28 carries.

Add to that the fact that Benton’s defense held Byrd scoreless in the second half – led by Sawyer Simmons, who had six tackles, one tackle for loss, and a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter – and it’s easy to see how Moore was impressed with the Tigers’ effort.

But it took some work.

During the week prior to the Byrd game, Moore had Walters split the first-team snaps with King, who had come into the game — and done a good job — during the Tigers’ Week 2 loss to Texas High following an injury to the starting quarterback.

“He was struggling with his confidence,” Moore said of Walters. “I wanted to push him and light a fire under him. For a day-and-a-half, he stepped up as Jeffrey took reps.”

The strategy worked. “We saw a different version of Gray Walters,” said Moore. 

Now, the Tigers (1-1, 2-3) are preparing for this Friday’s district matchup at Natchitoches Central (1-1, 2-3). And while Moore told his players to enjoy the big victory over the weekend, he wants to instill in them the need to follow it up with effort, focus, and attitude.

So he was planning on sharing a story with them: “When I was coaching in Brandon, Miss., we had a huge, emotional win over a Brandon High School team that we hadn’t beaten since 1985. There was an insane celebration. Then the next week, Vicksburg comes in and beats us by like 30. The Vicksburg players said when they were coming in town, they saw all the signs congratulating us on the big win.”

He doesn’t want that to happen again.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com


Bucs use onside kick to gain momentum in 37-24 victory over Cowboys

KICK-STARTING THE OFFENSE:  Haughton quarterback Colin Rains (15) rushed for three touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 37-24 Homecoming victory over the Southwood Cowboys Friday night. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

It took Haughton a little time to get going against Southwood Friday night as the Buccaneers couldn’t get much going in the first half.

Leading 10-6 at halftime, Haughton came out and converted an onside kick to kick-start its offense and came away with a 37-24 Homecoming victory over Southwood in the District 1-5A matchup at Harold E. Harlan Stadium.

After recovering the onside kick at the Cowboys’ 38-yard line, the Bucs (1-1, 3-2) went on a four-play scoring drive capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run by Tyler Rhodes to take a 16-6 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Haughton scored on its next two possessions on touchdown runs by quarterback Colin Rains (17 and 35 yards), opening up a 30-6 lead with just over seven minutes to play in the game.

“In the first half, there was not much energy out there,” said Rains, who finished with 55 yards on nine carries and 3 TDs.

Neither team could get anything going in a first quarter that was marred by penalties. Southwood (0-2, 0-5) got on the board first at the start of the second quarter on a 17-yard touchdown run (the 2-point conversion failed) by Corinthian Walters, who started at quarterback for the Cowboys.

Rains’ 3-yard scoring run with 1:52 left in the first half gave Haughton a 7-6 lead with Carter Ebarb’s PAT. With 51 seconds to go in the first half, Southwood fumbled and gave Haughton the ball at the Cowboys’ 31. Seven plays later, Ebarb connected on a 27-yard field goal. Ebarb was 4-for5-on PATs.

“The onside kick was huge,” said Haughton head coach Jason Brotherton. “That was a big momentum shift. We work on that all year long for just the right time to use it. The guys say, ‘Why do we keep practicing it.’ That’s why.”

The Bucs relied on the run game in the second half, amassing 215 of their 264 rushing yards in the final two quarters.

“Line up and run the ball,” Brotherton said when asked what he told his team at the half. “Tyler and Colin, they played well. We threw it a lot in the first half, but we were a little off. We had two touchdown catches in the endzone, but the receivers were out of bounds. We were just a little late on those throws.”

Rains was 11-for-20 for 123 yards and 1 interception.

Rhodes finished with 137 yards on 16 carries. Davontay Moss added 55 yards on 4 carries and scored Haughton’s final touchdown on a 35-yard run.

The Cowboys, who had to forfeit their two victories, had two long touchdown passes from Cornelus Martin to Detonion Arkansas (85 and 60 yards) and a 4-yard scoring run by Melvin Coleman in the fourth quarter, but the game was already out of reach.

Walters led the Cowboys with 70 yards on 13 carries and Coleman finished with 48 yards on 13 carries.

“It was too little, too late,” said Southwood head coach Jesse Esters. “Penalties killed our drives. That’s the most penalties we’ve had in a game. We’ve had some distractions. But we’ll clean it up. We’ll fix those things.”

Next up for Southwood is a Thursday night game against Parkway while Haughton will meet Byrd on Friday night.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

Haughton 37, Southwood 24

Score by quarters

Southwood | 0 | 6 | 0 | 18 | – 24

Haughton | 0 | 10 | 13 | 14 | – 37

Scoring summary

SW – Corinthian Walters 17 run (run failed)

HAU – Colin Rains 3 run (Carter Ebarb kick)

HAU – Ebarb 27 field goal

HAU – Tyler Rhodes 5 run (kick failed)

HAU – Rains 17 run (Ebarb kick)

HAU – Rains 35 run (Ebarb kick)

SW – Detonian Arkansas 85 pass from Cornelus Martin (run failed)

HAU – Davontay Mos 34 run (Ebarb kick)

SW – Arkansas 60 pass from Martin (pass failed)

SW – Melvin Coleman 4 run (run failed)

Individual leaders

Rushing – Southwood (28-130), Walters 13-70 1 TD, Coleman 13-48 1 TD, Martin 2-12. Haughton (35-264), Rhodes 16-137 1 TD, Moss 4-55 1 TD, Rains 9-55 3 TDs, Trent McGowen 1-20, Marlon Montgomery 2-(-1), Christian Turner 3-(-2).

Passing – Southwood (5-12-1-187), Martin 4-7-0-178 2 TDs, Walters 1-5-1-9. Haughton (11-20-1-123), Rains 11-20-1-123.

Receiving – Southwood, Arkansas 3-154 2 TDs, Marrio Stevenson 1-25, Detravion Williams 1-8. Haughton, Jalen Lewis 3-28, Jamarion Montgomery 3-20, John Ecot 2-47, Rhodes 2-8, Cayden Hinkie 1-20.