Calvary’s lines, defense to be tested in quarters at Dunham

LOOKING FOR SPACE:  Calvary’s talented skill position players will be relying on the Cavaliers’ offensive line to neutralize Dunham’s impressive defensive front in the state quarterfinals tonight in Baton Rouge. (File photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Calvary head coach Rodney Guin schedules Class 5A schools such as Byrd and Captain Shreve for a reason – to give his Cavaliers an idea of the competition when it’s time for the playoffs.

The Cavaliers have reeled off eight straight victories, but Guin says Friday’s Select Division III quarterfinal playoff matchup will provide the biggest test, especially up front, his team has seen since Week 2.

“They’re a lot like us – they haven’t played a lot of tough games since early in the year. Their defensive line is as good as we’ve played all year –- very comparable to Shreve in terms of the defensive line. The best we’ve played up front other than Shreve. It’s going to be a challenge.”

Calvary has scored at least 50 points in seven of its past eight games (beat Loyola 45-0 in regular-season finale).

On paper, Dunham and Calvary appear to be mirror images. Dunham has won 10 straight games since its season-opening loss to Parkview Baptist and has scored at least 40 points in every game since Week 6. That run began with a 72-14 victory against Northeast.

Dunham’s offense runs through quarterback Jackson House, who has compiled more than 1,000 passing yards and close to 800 rushing yards. The son of LSU defensive coordinator Matt House, he led his team in Kansas to a state title last year.

“We have to control (House),” Guin said. “He’s their key guy. He can throw and he can run. They spread out and try to create space for him to run.”

The Tigers had a bye in the opening round of the playoffs and then defeated M.L. King Charter, 56-21, last week.

If you’re going to clip the Cavaliers, the quarterfinal round is the place. Calvary had five consecutive losses in the quarterfinals from 2015-19. The Cavaliers won the Division IV state crown in 2020 and were bumped by Ouachita Christian in last year’s semifinals.

Contact Roy at roylangIII@yahoo.com

Division III – Select Quarterfinals

5-Calvary (9-2) at 4-Dunham (10-1) 

Where: Dunham School Stadium, Baton Rouge 

Series: Calvary 3-0 

Last week: Calvary beat Northlake Christian 52-0; Dunham beat M.L. King Charter 56-21 

Rankings: Calvary No. 5, Dunham No. 2 in LSWA 2A poll 

All-time playoff record: Calvary 34-14; Dunham 19-23 

Last semifinal appearance: Calvary 2021; Dunham 2019 

Radio: Calvary – The Promise 90.7 FM, http://69.64.65.171:8192/kflofm2 

Notables: Calvary quarterback Abram Wardell has completed 80 percent of his passes this season (128 of 160 attempts) for 31 touchdowns and three interceptions … running back James Simon has 20 rushing touchdowns … Dunham DL/TE Jake Rizzo is a National Merit Scholar being recruited by Ivy League schools. RB/S Colin Boldt committed to SLU … Dunham head coach Neil Weiner is son of legendary Catholic coach Dale Weiner, who retired with over 300 wins.


Mudbugs have work to do after respite

BUBBLING TO GO: The Shreveport Mudbugs (shown enjoying bubble hockey) will complete their five-week road trip with two games at El Paso this weekend. (Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The Shreveport Mudbugs have won just seven of their first 20 games to start the 2022-23 season, but a week off may have given the squad an opportunity to get back in the North American Hockey League South Division race.

“I don’t think we’ve played our best hockey yet,” Mudbugs defenseman Alex Park said. “We have a lot of potential. It’s a long season. I’m excited to see us explode out of this break.”

Many players had the opportunity to go home after the Mudbugs (7-9-4) wrapped up a series at Lone Star on Nov. 12. Tonight, the season resumes at El Paso (8-10). With 20 games down and 40 to go, Shreveport enters the game in fifth place in the South (the top four make the playoffs).

“We’re underachieving,” head coach Jason Campbell said. “That’s not good enough. The guys know that. But even though we’re under .500, we have competed well against some really good teams and we know we’re in a battle. We have to figure out a way to string some wins together and get into a playoff spot.”

Much of the struggle revolves around an inability to put the puck in the net.

Shreveport ranks 28th of the 29 NAHL teams in offense (1.95 goals per game). The power play needs a spark, too, as the Mudbugs rank 26th in the league (11.8 percent).

“We’ve been playing OK,” Mudbugs forward Jaden Goldie said. “We have to find consistency and start burying our (scoring) opportunities.”

The Mudbugs’ place in the standings certainly didn’t affect the energy level as players returned to practice early in the week.

“We’re rip-roaring and ready to go,” Campbell said. “The boys are fired up.”

Shreveport made some moves during the holiday week. The Mudbugs traded forward Logan Valkama to Bismarck. They added a tender, forward Gavin Cherry (6-foot-4, 170 pounds).

Tonight begins the first series against the Rhino. After Saturday’s game, the Mudbugs will enjoy a home game (Dec. 2 vs. New Mexico) for the first time in six weeks.

Mudbugs at El Paso

Tonight and Saturday (8 p.m.)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Cowboys hope to produce worthy encore in NFC East showdown

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The NFL is a strange beast. Teams look like Super Bowl contenders one week and lose to an afterthought the next. Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys will attempt to avoid providing the latest head-scratching moment in what’s been a wacky season.

“It’s the NFL and that’s what can happen,” Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said.

Fresh off a stunning road destruction of the Minnesota Vikings, the Cowboys host the New York Giants in the annual Thanksgiving affair at AT&T Stadium. It’s a battle of 7-3 squads and will determine who keeps the pressure on the Philadelphia Eagles at the top of the NFC East.

“Knowing how good of a team that is, and this being a division game, it says enough,” Prescott said. “These guys are locked in and we’re just trying to continue building on our focus from the game last week, and the way we prepared last week.”

The Cowboys played their best game of the season, perhaps multiple seasons in Minnesota on Sunday. The defense shut down the Vikings and the offense did what it wanted when it wanted en route to a 40-3 triumph.

Following the victory, giddy owner Jerry Jones was “unequivocally” confident his team could make a run at a Super Bowl appearance. 

Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy immediately returned the focus to the present.

“Talking about anything other than the Giants is a waste of time,” McCarthy said. “This is about beating the Giants.”

Dallas, with Cooper Rush under center, beat the Giants, 23-16, in Week 3.

The Cowboys will aim to exploit a Giants’ defense that’s been below average against the run. Last week, Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott helped Dallas pile up more than 150 yards on Minnesota. Both running backs scored twice (Elliott two on the ground, Pollard two through the air).

The Giants, armed with Saquon Barkley and the No. 4 rushing offense in the league (157 yards per game) will face a Cowboys defense that has often struggled against the run.

The Cowboys have lost three straight Thanksgiving games at AT&T Stadium – 36-33 to Las Vegas, 2021; 41-16 to Washington in 2020; 26-15 to Buffalo in 2019. The last Turkey Day win for the Blue Stars was a 31-23 defeat of Washington in 2018.

Prescott has six touchdown passes and just one interception in his past three Thanksgiving appearances. 

Dak on Turkey Day

Former Haughton star Dak Prescott has lost three of his five Thanksgiving Day starts.

2016: W, 31-26 vs. Washington, 17-of-24 passing for 195 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT.

2017: L, 28-6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 20-27 for 179 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT.

2018: W, 31-23 vs. Washington, 22-31 for 289 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT

2019: L, 26-15 vs. Buffalo, 32-49 for 395 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

2021: L, 36-33 vs. Las Vegas, 32-47 for 375 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT 

Totals: Record, 2-3, 123-of-178 passing for 1,433 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Forget turkey, grab your popcorn to watch the quest for 100 units

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Here we are, with nearly six weeks remaining in the year, we stand less than 5 units from the Promised Land. Our goal for the season was a 100-unit profit and another jackpot last week puts us on the precipice.

Last week:

We bet golf – scored a profit.

We listed touchdown scorers – scored a profit.

We bet NFL games – scored a profit.

This week, we’re back on the links –albeit very light betting — as the DP World Tour begins its 2023 schedule. We also have a Thanksgiving bonus. We’ve listed four anytime NFL touchdown scorers.

Check my Facebook (Roy Lang III) at 11 o’clock Thursday morning for any possible game bets.

Regardless, we’ll see you back in Sunday’s edition.

Reminder: stay disciplined and get the right number.  

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Saturday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers 

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week: +6.32 units

Season total: +95.6 units

Season ROI: +31 percent 

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS 

GOLF 

EUROPEAN TOUR 

Joburg Open

 Win bet

Kristian Krogh Johannessen, .1 unit, +4400 (MGM) 

Top 20 bet

Luca Filippi, .1 unit +900 (DK)

NFL 

Thursday 

Anytime Touchdown Scorers 

 (.5-unit plays)

Josh Allen, Bills, +145 (CAE)

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, +128 (CAE)

CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys, +107 (CAE) 

.3-unit play

Vikings defense/special teams, +700 (MGM)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


The Lake, Lake, Lake, Lake, Lake Show powers Byrd

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Lake Lambert ripped off a 97-yard touchdown run 3 minutes into Byrd’s second-round playoff game against Alexandria on Friday night at Lee Hedges Stadium. 

And that was just the beginning. 

Subsequent scoring runs of 56, 19, 34 and 50 yards highlighted one incredible evening for the Yellow Jackets’ senior and his team, who eliminated the Trojans, 49-10.

“I don’t think (ASH) knew what he could do, obviously,” Byrd head coach Stacy Ballew said. “He was running up and down the field. I’m trying to talk to linebackers, then all of the sudden, it’s time for kickoff again. I don’t know what all he did, I didn’t see it all, but he was running up and down the field.”      

Lambert compiled 267 rushing yards on just eight carries.

“The job is not finished. I’d like a ring on my finger whenever we are talking about records,” Lambert said after posting the sixth-most rushing yards in a game in Byrd history.    

Pearce Russell, Benton

Was locked in one heck of a receiver duel with Denham Springs’ Camron Eirick (six catches, 158 yards, three TDs) on Friday night. Russell completed an incredible season with five catches for 154 yards – all receptions of at least 15 yards — and a touchdown.

On the year, Russell finished with 91 receptions for 1,691 yards. He scored 19 touchdowns. 

Abram Wardell, Calvary

The Cavaliers quarterback completed 18 of 23 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns in his team’s 52-0 whitewashing of Northlake Christian on Friday.

Wardell found seven different receivers in the second-round playoff game and four different players for the touchdowns. 

Mason Welch, Northwood

The Falcons’ foray into the Select playoffs started with a bang. Welch set the tone with a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and, when Northwood needed to finish the job, added a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marc Dennison and another scoring run (4 yards) in the fourth quarter. 

Greg Manning, Benton

An absolute workhorse in Friday’s second-round game against Dunham Springs. Manning had 37 touches – 33 carries for 104 yards and three catches for 19 yards.

His 1-yard touchdown run marked his 33rd trip to the end zone of the season – 26 rushing, seven receiving. The junior completed his 2022 season with 1,445 rushing yards.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Cowboys find appropriate formula in mauling of Vikings

Don’t count the Dallas Cowboys out just yet.

Last week’s fourth-quarter debacle at Lambeau Field masked the fact the Cowboys had dominated the Green Bay Packers for most of the game in enemy territory. Sunday, Dallas posted an even better start on the road in Minnesota and made sure there would be no collapse.

“We played a complete game,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said. “We knew we needed to respond after last week. This was big for us.”

The Cowboys eviscerated the Vikings, 40-3, and looked a heck of a lot like the team Prescott led during his 13-3 rookie season – using a ‘keep the ball out of the opponents’ hands with a run-first’ mind-set.

Where Dallas lacks – a bevy of weapons in the passing game – it makes up for with a stout backfield duo and a defense capable of obliterating teams like it did Minnesota.

During an afternoon stocked with superlatives lathered in blue and silver, the defense would be the obvious choice as the No. 1 star. The Cowboys sacked Kirk Cousins seven times, allowed just 183 yards and forced seven punts. 

However, the Dallas offense may have found its identity for 2022. Yes, Prescott can air it out 40 times if needed. He proved that last year when the Cowboys led the NFL in offense behind a career-high 37 touchdown passes from the former Haughton star. He also threw for more than 4,900 yards in 2019.

That does not appear to be the best approach this season. Dallas said goodbye to wide receiver Amari Cooper and didn’t do much to replace him. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to chunk it all over the lot – especially if you don’t have to.

Sunday, Prescott threw the ball 25 times and completed a whopping 88 percent of his attempts. It marked the second-most-efficient performance in No. 4’s career. No. 1 came in 2016 (32-of-36 vs. Tampa Bay). 

You see where I’m going here.

Sunday, Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott each earned 15 carries. Both players scored twice, although Pollard’s came through the air. The Cowboys piled up 151 yards on the ground (Pollard led with 80) and helped the offense hog the ball for a dazzling 37-plus minutes.

“They’re dynamic,” Prescott said of his running backs. “When you have both of them out there, the defense doesn’t know what’s coming at them. Those two guys will do whatever you ask them to do. They have no egos; we’re blessed.”

Considering the strength of the season and the talent on offense, Jerry Jones’ failure to add another skill star on offense doesn’t make sense, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys can’t make a postseason run. It simply means the identity must be different.

The first loss in the history of the franchise after holding a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter (last week at Lambeau) is officially history and the Cowboys (7-3) have a short week before their annual Thanksgiving Day game. 

This is a big one. The opponent: the 7-3 New York Giants in a battle for second place in the NFC East.

“I missed them the first time,” said Prescott, who was out with a hand injury when Dallas beat the Giants, 23-16, in Week 3, “so I’m ready to get after them this time.”

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Saints, Cowboys look to get back on track

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The two most popular NFL teams in the area have some work to do. The New Orleans Saints are on the brink of losing all hope and the Dallas Cowboys are still licking their wounds from a disastrous finish on the not-so-frozen tundra.

The 3-7 Saints host defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles on Sunday at the Caesar’s Superdome (noon, Fox) having lost two straight and four of their past five. Head coach Dennis Allen will move forward with Andy Dalton at quarterback, but injuries remain a bigger issue.

Defensive end Cameron Jordan will miss Sunday and is joined by a group that includes at least Marcus Davenport, J.T. Gray, James Hurst, Mark Ingram, Pete Werner and Marshon Lattimore.

“For the most part in this league, you have to have guys that are backups that are able to come in and play,” Saints defensive lineman Kentavius Street told the media. “It’s just kind of part of the game. Everybody deals with it at some point.”

The good news: The Rams haven’t fared well in their defense of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They are 3-6 and carry a three-game slide into the Big Easy.

“They can be an explosive offense, they’ve got a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, they’ve got some wideouts that can still catch the ball and some of their offensive linemen that started last year are playing in our game,” Saints co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen said. “(But) it’s not about them, it’s about what we do. And so the focus has just been on our fundamentals, our focus and the execution of the game plan.”

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are 6-3, but are mired in third place in the NFC East. Last week, they blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter for the first time in franchise history (195-0 previously). Dallas must put the loss to the Packers in the rear-view mirror as it faces the hottest team in the NFL on Sunday.

“We’re in a good spot,” cornerback Anthony Brown told the media. “Even if you look back to last year, we were 7-2 at the time, we’re 6-3. We could easily be 7-2 or more, even 8-1. Just a few plays here and there that didn’t go our way.

“We let that game in Green Bay last week get away, 14 in the fourth quarter. We’ve just got to keep our minds strong and stay confident.”

Minnesota (8-1) will host the Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium (3:25 p.m., Fox) riding seven straight victories.

Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott has missed the past two games with a knee injury, but could find himself back in the rotation with Tony Pollard again Sunday.

“When I think of Zeke, I think of the identity of our football team, kind of wrapped into a player,” Dallas offensive lineman Zack Martin said. “Just, his willingness to do anything asked of him, his physical style of play … he brings all of that to our football team. It rubs off on guys.” 

Today’s games

Saints vs. Rams

Noon (Fox), Caesar’s Superdome

Cowboys at Vikings

3:25 p.m. (Fox), U.S. Bank Stadium

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Local NFL stars getting healthy at right time

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The local roster of NFL players is getting back to full song. Players like Marquez Stevenson, Rodarius Williams, Tre’Davious White and Brandon Wilson haven’t played a snap this season due to major injuries. However, the return of every player seems imminent.

LOCAL NFL STARS: 2022 Week 10 

Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina (22, WR, Parkway)

Corralled one pass – a 43-yarder – on two targets in a primetime win against Atlanta.  

Israel Mukuamu, Dallas (22, S, Parkway)

Played two snaps on defense at Green Bay.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (29, QB, Haughton)

Completed 27 or 46 passes against the Packers for 265 yards and three touchdowns. However, two interceptions proved costly. Definitely has not found his groove in 2022. 

Robert Rochell, Los Angeles Rams (24, DB, Fair Park)

Played his first snap on defense since Week 5, but it was just a single snap. 

L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City (25, DB, Minden)

Piled up six tackles against Jacksonville. For the season, opposing quarterbacks are 46-of-63 passing for 459 yards and three touchdowns with Sneed in coverage. 

Marquez Stevenson, Buffalo (23, WR, Northwood)

Finally designated to return from injured reserve. He’s returned to practice and a 21-day window which allows him to practice, however, has opened. The team could activate him prior to facing Cleveland, but that’s likely to happen more toward the end of the window. 

Trent Taylor, Cincinnati (28, WR, Evangel)

Taylor will look to continue the momentum from his Week 9 performance as the Bengals come off their off week. 

Jerry Tillery, Kansas City (25, DL, Evangel)

Released by the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10, the Golden Domer was claimed off waiver by the Chiefs. 

Ar’Darius Washington, Baltimore (22, S, Evangel)

Played in one game this season. Currently on the Ravens’ practice squad. 

Devin White, Tampa Bay (24, LB, North Webster)

Big week consisted of nine tackles, one for a loss, and three quarterback hits. 

Tre’Davious White, Buffalo (27, DB, Green Oaks)

Is still sidelined. Is expected to be out Sunday, putting further doubt into when the former LSU star will return to the field. 

Greedy Williams, Cleveland (24, DB, Calvary)

Played just three snaps on defense at Miami in Week 10. 

Rodarius Williams, New York Giants (25, DB, Calvary)

Activated from injured reserve. Could see action soon. 

Brandon Wilson, Cincinnati (28, DB, Calvary Baptist)

Activated off the PUP list and returned to practice ahead of a matchup at Pittsburgh. 

Donovan Wilson, Dallas Cowboys (27, S, Woodlawn)

Played 81 percent of the defensive snaps against Green Bay. He made seven tackles. With Wilson in coverage, opposing quarterbacks are 16 of 26 for 103 yards with one touchdown and one interception this season.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


We’re all Swifties this Sunday

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

D’Andre Swift leads our anytime touchdown scorers this week at +235. We’re eyeing two more players and three defenses/special teams in the effort to post another winning week.

For the NFL spread picks, check out my Facebook (Roy Lang III) page on Sunday. 

Good luck! 

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices! 

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers

LANG’S LOCKS

Season total: +89.3 units

Season ROI: +30 percent

SUNDAY’s SELECTIONS 

NFL 

Anytime Touchdown Scorers 

(.5-unit plays)

D’Andre Swift, Lions, +235 (CAE)

Josh Jacobs, Raiders, +110 (DK)

A.J. Brown, Eagles, +128 (CAE) 

(.3-unit plays)

Patriots defense/special teams, +650 (DK)

Jets defense/special teams, +800 (DK)

Saints defense/special teams, +650 (DK)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Bad timing: Denham Springs stuns Benton at buzzer

RIDE OF HIS LIFE:  Friday’s hero, kicker Caleb LeBlanc (48) lifted his Denham Springs Yellow Jackets to an improbable victory at Benton. (Image courtesy Denham Springs TV)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports 

In the final minute of Benton’s Division I Non-Select second-round playoff game against Denham Springs, fireworks lit up Tiger Stadium to celebrate a victory by the home team and a spot in the quarterfinals.

One problem.

Benton didn’t win.

Denham did, 29-28, thanks to an ending that will be bitterly remembered by the Tigers and treasured by the Yellow Jackets.

With a two-point edge and the ball at Denham Springs’ 49, the Tigers looked to be in good position. However, Benton got a little too cute and then, in its mind, gypped by the referees.

On fourth down with a running clock, Benton knelt on its 13-yard line and thought it punched a ticket to the quarters. However, after the play, the scoreboard still displayed 0.6 seconds. Denham Springs’ Caleb LeBlanc, who struggled all season, subsequently kicked a 30-yard field goal to put a cap on one of the most stunning finishes you’ll see at a sporting event.

“We just got cheated out of a football game,” said Benton coach Reynolds Moore, who bolted toward the officiating crew and unleashed a tirade after the ball went through the uprights. “They told me to snap it at 1 (second left), we snapped it at 1. I didn’t call time out because both officials said, ‘Coach you’re good, snap it at 1,’ and so we did and then (the LHSAA clock operator) up in the freaking press box stops it and cheats my guys out of a game.”

A field goal should have never been in play. On third down, Benton’s Pearce Russell attempted to run around and waste time before taking a knee. However, a handful of penalty flags were thrown for multiple holding violations.

Suddenly, the Tigers were backed up and still had to kneel twice in the final 42 seconds. They did, but didn’t completely erase the clock.

“That was a wild sequence of events,” Yellow Jackets head coach Brett Beard said. “I knew there was going to be a shot with some time and we did a good job to try to make it happen. The game is never over until the clock strikes zero – that’s something you teach these kids and these coaches. Everyone has to know this game must be played for 48 minutes.”

Getting the opportunity to kick was a miracle. Making it may have been, too.

“(Our kicking game) — it’s been bad,” Beard said. “(Caleb) has made some good kicks, but he hasn’t had a chance to make any big kicks. At that point, that’s all you have. You say, ‘Kid, everything can be deleted from the year when you make this kick,’ and he came through.”

LeBlanc is a Louisiana Christian University commit who put his struggles behind him and couldn’t have picked a better time to nail his longest field goal of the season.

“When I heard Coach scream for the field goal unit I kind of just froze in the moment and realized I’ve been waiting on this moment my entire high school career,” LeBlanc said. “I walked out confident and remembered everything I’ve been taught.

“All you have to do is believe in yourself. I won’t forget this night any time soon. This is the best night ever.”

Denham Springs (10-2) moves on to play host to Ruston in the quarterfinals.

“(If the refs don’t tell me we’re good), we call timeout and we get things settled,” Moore said. “We do what we did (on the first third down) and have Pearce run around for a minute and fall down. They told me, ‘Coach, don’t worry about it,’ and then pulled that crap.

“It’s the worst officiating I’ve seen. They cheated my guys out of a game. They can do whatever they want. My guys just got hosed and that’s bull crap.”

The loss spoiled what had been a stellar effort from Benton’s defense, at least for the first 41 minutes.

“The defense played phenomenal all night,” Moore said. “This is the best ever we’ve seen from them and the offense just didn’t get it done. We just couldn’t get a first down, couldn’t do anything.”

A 1-yard touchdown run by Greg Manning gave Benton (8-4) a 28-14 lead with 5:16 left in the game. Denham Springs needed just two plays to answer as Camron Eirick hauled in a 49-yard touchdown pass — his second of three on the night — from Reese Mooney, but the Yellow Jackets missed the extra point.

Denham Springs recovered an onside kick and scored again four plays later – a 46-yard connection between Mooney and Eirick. The 2-point conversion failed with 3:59 left.

After forcing Benton into a three-and-out, Denham Springs’ hopes appeared to be extinguished when it failed on fourth down near midfield. However, the Tigers failed to close the door. Instead they let the Yellow Jackets get into field goal position and were foiled by a final-minute calamity and a trigger finger.

“It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” Beard said.

Eirick had six catches for 158 yards, while Mooney completed 16 of 34 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns.

Manning finished with 103 yards on 34 carries. His team didn’t trail until the final gun and led for more than 40 minutes.

Friday’s controversy signaled a not-so-fitting end for Tigers seniors, like quarterback Gray Walters (9-of-21 passing for 184 yards and a touchdown) and Russell (five catches for 154 yards).

“I’m trying to tell the officials, ‘You’re taking this away from (the seniors) and they don’t get another shot.’ This is a playoff football game, this is not Week 8 or Week 9,” Moore said. “You can’t blow this, and they blew it.”

 Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com

Denham Springs 29, Benton 28

D. Springs | 0 | 7 | 7 | 15 | – 29

Benton | 14 | 7 | 0 | 7 | – 28

Scoring summary

B-Gray Walters 14 run (Peyton May kick)

B-Pearce Russell 38 pass from Walters (May kick)

D-Camron Eirick 15 pass from Reese Mooney (Caleb LeBlanc kick)

B-Andy Lim 5 pass from Walters (May kick)

D-Eirick 33 pass from Mooney (LeBlanc kick)

B-Greg Manning 1 run (May kick)

D-Micah Harrison 49 pass from Mooney (kick blocked)

D-Eirick 46 pass from Mooney (pass failed)

D-LeBlanc 30 field goal

Individual statistics 

Rushing 

Denham Springs – Ray McKneely 13-34, Cam Kelly 9-34, Micah Harrison 3-27, Jerry Horne 1-1, , Mooney 2-1. 

Benton – Greg Manning 33-104, Gray Walters 6-36, Landon Duggan 1-0, Team 1-(-31). 

Passing 

Denham Springs – Reese Mooney 16-34-0-326; Horne 4-7-0-(minus-4). 

Benton – Walters 9-21-0-184.  

Receiving 

Denham Springs – Camron Eirick 6-158, Harrison 6-77, McNeely 3-36, Andrew Goodwin 1-1, Rylan Hyatt 1-15, Seth Bishop 1-8, Maison Vorise 1-8. 

Benton – Pearce Russell 5-154, Manning 3-19, Andy Lim 2-11.


Break gives Mudbugs chance to refresh struggling offense

REST TO REFRESH: The Shreveport Mudbugs enjoy a week off before they complete an extended road trip. The team needs to find a way to generate some offense upon its return. (Photo by CHRISTI LANG, Journal Sports)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports 

Following Saturday’s game at Lone Star, most of the Shreveport Mudbugs scurried home to take advantage of a rare pre-holiday break in their North American Hockey League schedule. 

Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell believes the break has come at a “good” time. 

Shreveport is exactly one-third of its way through the regular season. The Mudbugs have won just seven of their 20 games and currently reside in fifth place in the South Division. However, that is a bit misleading as they have played at least four more games than each of the teams closest in the South Division. 

“They’ve been going hard since August,” Campbell said of his team. “The challenge is for them to stay on top of their conditioning and come back refreshed and healthy and ready to go. We have to find a way, and it’s going to start in practice, to be able to compete like we did Friday (3-2 victory against the Brahmas) for 120-plus minutes every weekend.” 

Last Friday night’s overtime win at Lone Star is Shreveport’s only victory in the first six games of the eight-game road trip. The extended time away from George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum ends with a post-turkey doubleheader at El Paso on Nov. 25-26. 

The Mudbugs return to the George to face New Mexico on Dec. 2-3. 

Shreveport must find a way to score goals. The Mudbugs (1.95) are one of just two teams in the 29-team league to post fewer than two goals per game. 

One of the reasons for the punchless offense is a power play that’s been more of a burden than a force. Shreveport ranks 28th in the NAHL on the power play (11.8 percent). The Mudbugs have scored nine power-play goals in 76 attempts, but have also allowed six short-handed goals (worst in the league). 

“You have to outwork your opponent and we haven’t done that all the time,” Campbell said. “We’ve done that sometimes. Maybe there is a mental block there on the power play, ‘Hey, we’re up a man, let’s take our time and maybe we don’t have to outwork our opponent.’” 

A stellar penalty-kill unit has helped mask the offensive woes. Shreveport kills penalties at an 87 percent clip – second best in the league. 

“All you can do is keep working through it,” Campbell said. “Our guys are going to work, us coaches are going to work to get our power play better. We have to because it’s going to be huge over the next 40 games.” 

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


We collect another golf winner, sweep NFL player TDs

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Pardon me if you’ve heard this before: We had another big week.

We nailed Tony Finau at the Houston Open and all three of our top NFL touchdown scorers found paydirt. The race to 100 units is still heating up as we climbed over an 89-unit profit on the season.

The good news: We’ve been rolling even though our NFL picks against the number haven’t been up to par. Over the past seven weeks of this calendar year, the NFL is going to be crucial if we’re going to hit the 100-unit level.

The golf schedule is about to thin out. This is the last week of a full-field event on the PGA Tour for 2022. Only two events remain on the European Tour.

Let’s get this done.

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Saturday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices! 

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers 

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week: +3.35units

Season total: +89.3 units

Season ROI: +30 percent 

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

GOLF 

PGA TOUR 

RSM Classic 

Top 20 bets

Joseph Bramlett, .3 units, +750 (DK)

Michael Thompson, .3 units, +650 (FD)

Michael Gligic, .2 units, +1000 (FD)

Zac Blair, .2 units, +1100 (DK)

Paul Haley II, .2 units, +1100 (FD) 

EUROPEAN TOUR 

DP World Tour Championship 

Top 10 bets

Adrian Meronk, .3 units, +490 (FD)

Jorge Campillo, .2 units, +1100 (FD) 

Top 20 bets

Jorge Campillo, .6 units, +320 (FD)

Matthieu Pavon, .5 units, +310 (FD)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Lang’s Lines for the second round of football playoffs

(File photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)

By ROY LANG, Journal Sports 

We have nine second-round games – many featuring teams that enjoyed a week off to begin the postseason. Only four local teams, Benton, Haughton, Byrd and Calvary, are favored to continue their seasons and have a shot at playing in the Superdome for a state championship.

SECOND-ROUND PLAYOFF LINES

Benton -1.5 vs. Denham Springs

Haughton -4.5 vs. East St. John

Warren Easton -33.5 vs. Captain Shreve

St. Paul’s -2.5 at Northwood 

Byrd -12.5 vs. Alexandria

E.D. White -8.5 vs. Evangel

Calvary -41.5 vs. Northlake Christian

Episcopal -7.5 vs. Loyola

Parkview Baptist -19.5 at North Caddo 

By the numbers

Favorites: 7-1 straight up in First Round (122-20 on season), 5-3 vs. spread in First Round (76-67 on season)

Final regular-season standings vs. SBJ spread

Airline 7-3, Calvary 7-3, Evangel 7-3, Benton 6-4, Magnolia Charter 6-4, North Caddo 6-4, Parkway 5-5, Huntington 5-5, Southwood 5-5, Northwood 5-5, Green Oaks 4-6, Woodlawn 4-6, Haughton 4-6, Captain Shreve 4-6, Byrd 4-6, Loyola 3-6, BTW 3-7, Bossier 2-8, Plain Dealing 2-8. 

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com or via twitter @Roylangiii 


DeFatta leads record-setting Flyers victory

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Cooper DeFatta was a passing fancy Friday night.

The Loyola linebacker-turned-quarterback had thrown only seven touchdown passes in nine regular-season games. Friday night, he passed for five touchdowns (second-most in school history), 211 yards (a career high) and ran for 78 yards, including a 19-yard score as the Flyers posted a school-postseason record 61 points in a dominating first-round victory against St. Thomas Aquinas.

“Unbelievable,” Loyola head coach Mike Greene said of his quarterback. “You see him running around on that play and he just kept going. He played a hell of a game. I hope he saves some of that for next week.”

Colin Rains, Haughton

The senior quarterback carried the load for the 27th seeded Bucs, who upset No. 6-seeded Airline 36-26 in the first round of the Non-Select Division I playoffs. Rains had 218 rushing yards with 2 passing TDs, 1 rushing TD, and 1 receiving TD. Arguably, his biggest run is buried in the statistics as Rains’ 31-yard keeper on third-and-14 with 3:30 left in the game kept the Bucs’ 8-play, clock-eating drive alive, denying the Vikings’ comeback chances.

Greg Manning, Benton

The running back opened the scoring in the Tigers’ first-round playoff victory against Ponchatoula with an 8-yard run. He then closed out the 41-7 triumph with a pair of third-quarter touchdown runs (2 and 8 yards), raising his TD total to 32 this season.

Kenyon Terrell, Captain Shreve

The quarterback ran for 100 yards and two scores and threw for 158 yards and two more scores in the Gators’ victory at Tioga.

Fulghum Bros., Evangel

It’s hard stopping one, but when both are clicking, good luck. Quarterback Peyton Fulghum connected with brother, Parker, for nine passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns in a 60-0 whitewashing of Istrouma on Friday night.  

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Cowboys author historic flop; Saints lay another egg

The Dez Bryant-caught-it game is a pill the Dallas Cowboys may never be able to swallow, and it may give fans the shakes at the mention of the Green Bay Packers or Lambeau Field. Although Sunday’s game wasn’t a postseason affair, and it didn’t end the Cowboys season, it may be a while before the effects exit the system.   

Against the previously lifeless Packers, the Cowboys blew a 14-point lead to start the fourth quarter for the first time in franchise history (they entered Sunday 195-0 in such games) and dropped an 31-28 overtime affair at Lambeau to put themselves squarely behind the 8-ball in the NFC East. 

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saints remain punchless. They traveled to Pittsburgh and fell to the Steelers, 20-10. 

The Saints dropped to 3-7 and need a turnaround of epic proportions — and a lot of help — to get back into the race in the subpar NFC South. 

Instead of a glorious return to Green Bay for former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the Cowboys head man watched his team author an historic meltdown. 

The Packers entered Sunday with five straight losses. 

“(McCarthy) was disappointed that we didn’t take that step that we’ve talked about — laying another brick and building on what we’ve accomplished to this point,” quarterback Dak Prescott, who threw three touchdowns and two interceptions Sunday, said. “It’s tough. It was a playoff environment. You wanna win. All of them hurt when you don’t win or capitalize or do what you expect to do, but you gotta remember it’s just one game.” 

The Cowboys won the coin flip in overtime, and drove to the Packers’ 35 before they failed on fourth-and-3. Aaron Rodgers helped Green Bay move deep into Cowboys territory to set up Mason Crosby’s chip-shot game-winner. 

Dallas dropped to 6-3 and is mired in third place in the East, behind the 7-2 New York Giants and unblemished Philadelphia. Up next: A trip to play the red-hot Minnesota Vikings (8-1). 

“For us, it’s about sticking together, knowing where we’re going and who we are,” Prescott said. “It was a tough game, a tough environment and we’ve got to learn from this and make sure that we grow.” 

The Saints must do the same. Quarterback Andy Dalton threw for 174 yards and a score, but was foiled by two interceptions while the Saints committed six separate penalties that gave Pittsburgh a first down. 

“The performance wasn’t good enough really in all phases,” New Orleans head coach Dennis Allen said. “We didn’t play well enough. We didn’t coach well enough. We have to do a better job. We fought ourselves back, got back into the game at halftime, felt like we were in a good position, and we really just didn’t do anything in the second half.” 

Dalton’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson came 19 seconds before halftime and helped New Orleans erase an early 10-point deficit. 

However, that was the only touchdown of the day against the Steelers, who were sparked by the return of T.J. Watt. New Orleans was held scoreless in the second half and running back Alvin Kamara was limited to 26 rushing yards on eight carries. 

“It’s really frustrating,” Dalton said. “We know the potential of what we can be and what we can do. To have games go like this in consecutive weeks, it’s tough.”

 Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Mudbugs miss opportunity to corral momentum

(Photo by CHRISTI LANG, Journal Sports)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS, Texas — Friday, the Shreveport Mudbugs set the table for a memorable weekend with Ryan Burke’s dazzling last-second goal to end an 0-for-November power-play drought and send their game with North American Hockey League-best Lone Star into overtime. 

In the extra session, Jaden Goldie sent home the game-winner to snap the club’s five-game losing streak.

However, the Mudbugs were unable to complete the statement weekend. Instead, they left the NYTEX Sports Centre with just two points – to Lone Star’s three – after Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

“It was the same old story — we played OK (Saturday), but the power play had some chances and we just didn’t finish and the PK gave one up. We needed more goals,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “We just didn’t have the push we had Friday.”

Shreveport did end its power-play drought in the opener, but it took pulling the goalie to create a 6-on-4 advantage. Saturday, the Mudbugs failed on all five chances with the man-advantage and were beset by turnovers in their defensive zone.

“Most teams protect the middle of the ice, especially this team,” Campbell said. “If you make a soft play, they’re probably going to be coming right back at you.”

Three weekends into their eight-game, five-week road trip, Shreveport will enjoy a week off before heading to El Paso on Nov. 25-26.

“They’ve been going hard since August,” said Campbell, whose team dropped to fifth place in the South Division.

“The break is probably coming at a really good time. The challenge after the break is to learn to push for 120 minutes or more every weekend.” 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Jaden Goldie, a very solid season continued with the game-winning goal in overtime Friday to snap the Mudbugs’ five-game losing streak.
  2. Ryan Burke, broke the Mudbugs’ prolonged power-play drought with the timeliest of goals Friday.
  3. Drake Morse, opened the scoring Friday night. 

NAHL South Division standings

Lone Star (14-1-2), 30 points

Oklahoma (12-2-1), 25

New Mexico (11-4-1), 23

Amarillo (9-6-1), 19

Shreveport (7-9-4), 18

El Paso (8-8-0), 16

Odessa (7-8-1), 15

Corpus Christi (3-13-2), 8

*top four make the playoffs

Team leaders

Goals: Logan Gotinsky, Niklas Miller, Garrett Steele, 5

Assists: Jaden Goldie, Drake Morse, Logan Heroux, 8

Points: Goldie, Morse, 11

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, Miller 62

Game-winning goals: Goldie 2

Goals-against average: Tommy Aitken, 2.32

Save percentage: Aitken, .912

Up next

The Mudbugs will enjoy a rare mid-November week off.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


McCarthy, Cowboys return to Lambeau; Saints have shot at first place

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The NFL is a strange beast. At 6-2, the Dallas Cowboys are still chasing unblemished Philadelphia (8-0) in the NFC East. In the NFC South, the New Orleans Saints enter Sunday’s action 3-6 – and they have a chance to move into first place in their division.

The Cowboys, fresh from their off week, travel to face the struggling Green Bay Packers (3-6). The backfield may feature another one-man show this week as the status of running back Ezekiel Elliott remains up in the air.

Tony Pollard, normally part of a stout two-back system, did just fine on his own in Week 8. With Elliott shelved with a knee injury, Pollard rattled off 131 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-29 victory against the Chicago Bears.

Today’s visit to Lambeau Field signals the return of Mike McCarthy. Currently the Cowboys head coach, McCarthy spent 13 seasons (2006-18) at the helm in Green Bay.

“Not a lot has to be said about this week,” Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott said. “We know what our coach means to us. We know how long he was up there, we know how special going back is going to be for him.”

McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers, still the quarterback for the Packers, led the team to a Super Bowl championship to cap the 2010 season. McCarthy posted a 125-77-2 mark, but was fired after a 4-7-1 start in 2018.

“I’ve got great memories about Green Bay and my time there but no, I mean, I’m four years removed from working there and I’m really looking forward to taking our team up there,” McCarthy said. “I want to win the game.”

Meanwhile, the Saints had a short week of preparation after an anemic effort against Baltimore on Monday night (27-13 loss) in the Superdome. Sunday, New Orleans visits another struggling club, the 2-6 Pittsburgh Steelers.

“More consistency is what we’re looking for,” Saints head coach Dennis Allen said this week. “We haven’t done it consistently enough where we’ve put offense, defense, special teams together and we’ve had too many games where there has been a phase or two that hasn’t operated in a way that we think gives us an opportunity to win.”

The Saints enter Week 10 one game behind Tampa Bay (4-5 Bucs host Seattle on Sunday), a half-game behind Atlanta (4-5) and tied with Carolina (3-6). 

Saints at Pittsburgh

Sunday, noon (Fox) 

Cowboys at Green Bay

Sunday, 3:25 p.m. (Fox)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Eagle soaring, Eagle down: Taylor does it all in Week 9; Tillery waived

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Could Trent Taylor be finding his groove with the Cincinnati Bengals? He was a jack of all trades in Week 9 against Carolina. He carried the ball for the first time this season (three times for 18 yards), hauled in a season-high two passes for 14 yards, returned kicks for the first time this season (2 for 15 yards) and added 52 yards on three punt returns.

The former Evangel and Louisiana Tech star played 35 percent of the Bengals’ offensive snaps. His previous high this season had been 19 snaps.

The news in Los Angeles wasn’t as good for another former Eagle. Jerry Tillery, a former first-round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers, was waived by the team. Coach Brandon Staley cited “competing visions.”

Tillery did not play more than half the defensive snaps in any game this season. The Notre Dame product can be claimed by another team in the league beginning Monday. 

LOCAL NFL STARS: 2022 Week 9

Terrace Marshall Jr., Carolina (22, WR, Parkway)

The former Panther hauled in his first touchdown pass of the season in Week 9 – a 21-yarder from Baker Mayfield. In Thursday night’s Week 10 game against Atlanta, Marshall caught just a single pass, but it went for 43 yards. 

Israel Mukuamu, Dallas (22, S, Parkway)

Cowboys had Week 9 off. With Mukuamu in coverage this season, opposing quarterbacks are 5-of-6 of 29 yards. 

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (29, QB, Haughton)

Through the Week 9 bye, Prescott has played three games. He’s 54-of-81 passing for 591 yards and three touchdowns. He’s thrown two interceptions. 

Robert Rochell, Los Angeles Rams (24, DB, Fair Park)

Was limited to only special teams in Week 9 against Tampa Bay. 

L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City (25, DB, Minden)

Tallied five tackles and two passes defended against Tennessee. For the season, opposing quarterbacks are 39-of-56 passing for 390 yards and a touchdown with Sneed in coverage. 

Marquez Stevenson, Buffalo (23, WR, Northwood)

Still on injured reserve after foot surgery without a timetable to return.

Trent Taylor, Cincinnati (28, WR, Evangel)

Taylor did it all for the Bengals in Week 9. 

Jerry Tillery, Los Angeles Chargers (25, DL, Evangel)

The Chargers have moved on from a former first-round pick, who has been waived. He will be eligible to be claimed by another team Monday. 

Ar’Darius Washington, Baltimore (22, S, Evangel)

Played in one game this season. Currently on the Ravens’ practice squad. 

Devin White, Tampa Bay (24, LB, North Webster)

Posted a season-low four tackles against the Rams, but has played every snap on defense for the Buccaneers this season.

Tre’Davious White, Buffalo (27, DB, Green Oaks)

White’s return after an absence of nearly one year seems imminent. Perhaps Sunday is the day. 

Greedy Williams, Cleveland (24, DB, Calvary)

Browns were off in Week 9.

Rodarius Williams, New York Giants (25, DB, Calvary)

Hopes to return to action following the torn ACL suffered early last season. 

Brandon Wilson, Cincinnati (28, DB, Calvary Baptist)

On the PUP list. 

Donovan Wilson, Dallas Cowboys (27, S, Woodlawn)

Cowboys were off in Week 9. With Wilson in coverage, opposing quarterbacks are 15 of 25 for 95 yards with one touchdown and one interception this season.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Riding ‘Cheetah’ into the end zone

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

A big week on the links made up for an underwhelming football campaign last week, but a profit is a profit.

Here are the touchdown scorers for this week. Tyreek Hill and the red-hot Dolphins offense top our list. For the spread picks, check out my Facebook (Roy Lang III) page late this morning.

Good luck!

NOTES

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers

LANG’S LOCKS

Season total: +81.2 units

Season ROI: 29.1 percent 

SUNDAY’S SELECTIONS

NFL 

Anytime Touchdown Scorers 

(.5-unit plays)

Tyreek Hill, Dolphins, +100 (MGM)

Jonathan Taylor, Colts, +105 (FD)

D’Andre Swift, Lions, +145 (FD) 

(.2-unit plays)

Titans defense/special teams, +700 (DK)

Saints defense/special teams, +650 (DK)

Rams defense/special teams, +600 (DK)

Giants defense/special teams, +600 (DK) 

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Slumping Mudbugs face NAHL’s best this weekend

STEELE THE ONE?: Shreveport Mudbugs captain Garrett Steele and his team will attempt to end a five-game losing streak at rival Lone Star tonight. (Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs Hockey)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

If the Shreveport Mudbugs hoped for some sort of a breather on their current road trip, they need to look beyond this weekend’s trip to North Richland Hills, Texas.

The Mudbugs have won just six of 18 games this season and roll into the Metroplex on Friday to begin a two-game set with the Lone Star Brahmas, the team with the best winning percentage in the North American Hockey League.

“They’re systematically sound and they work hard,” Shreveport head coach Jason Campbell said before the first meeting of the season between South Division rivals.

The Mudbugs (6-8-4) look to end a five-game losing skid when they enter the NYTEX Sports Centre for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. The Brahmas have not lost a game in regulation or overtime since Sept. 16 (11-0-1 during that span).

“We’ve been working on getting quicker, but staying efficient,” Campbell said. “We need to generate more offense, get more shots on net, more traffic and more second opportunities.”

Lone Star goaltender Arthur Smith sits atop the NAHL’s goaltending leaders, and it isn’t close. Smith leads with a 0.73 goals-against average (1.62 is next-best) and a .961 save-percentage (.944 is second-best).

The Mudbugs hope to get their power play on track. Shreveport has not scored on its past 20 opportunities with at least a one-man advantage.

“(Our power play) was better (in New Mexico),” Campbell said. “There are still plays to be made there and we’re not recognizing those reads, but the guys are working through it.

“We’re going to be tested. They have a high-pressure penalty kill. I’m excited to see them play against their PK.”

Lone Star hasn’t exactly been rolling on the power play, either. The Brahmas rank 24th of the 29 NAHL teams.

“I don’t even look at those numbers, because they have good movement and they just haven’t found the net yet,” Campbell said. “I don’t want us to be the team they find the net on.” 

Mudbugs at Lone Star

Tonight and Saturday

7:30 p.m., NYTEX Sports Centre, North Richland Hills, Texas

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Henley leads up to 49-1 winner

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Golf season will soon wind down, but we’re not slowing down with trips to cash big tickets at the window. Russell Henley’s victory at Mayakoba helped us secure another bomb – a 49-1 winner. We needed it, because our football picks went 1-3. However, we still had a big profit and the race to a 100-unit year is heating up (up more than 85 units, year-to-date).

Back to the links for some PGA Tour and DP World Tour selections.

Football selections come later in the week. Good luck! 

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Saturday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices! 

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week: +3.89 units

Season total: +85.9 units

Season ROI: 29.4 percent 

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

GOLF 

PGA TOUR 

Houston Open 

Win bets

Keith Mitchell, .1 unit, +6150 (FD)

Tony Finau, .1 unit, +1800 (MGM) 

Top 20 bets

Joseph Bramlett, .4 units, +650 (DK)

Dean Burmester, .3 units, +260 (FD)

Stephan Jaeger, .3 units, +500 (FD)

Charley Hoffman, .2 units, +650 (FD) 

EUROPEAN TOUR 

Nedbank Golf Challenge

Win bet

Branden Grace, .2 units, +2600 (FD) 

Top 20 bets

Justin Walters, .6 units, +290 (FD)

George Coetzee, .5 units, +160 (FD)

Connor Syme, .4 units, +210 (FD)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Airline finishes regular season atop SBJ poll; Lang’s Lines

JOURNAL SPORTS

Airline finished the 2022 regular season on a seven-game win streak and undefeated in the tough District 1-5A and is ranked No. 1 in the Shreveport Bossier Journal’s final regular-season poll.

Benton was able to rally and defeat Parkway 28-24 and stay ranked as the No. 2 school. Byrd and Parkway remained in the Nos. 3 and 4 spots while Northwood moved up two places to No. 5 after its big 20-19 win over previously undefeated North DeSoto.

Calvary remained in the No. 6 slot after winning the District 1-2A title with a win over Loyola. Captain Shreve’s big win over Haughton moved the Gators back into the poll at No. 7. Evangel and Huntington both moved up a spot to Nos. 8 and 9 and Haughton dropped five spots to No. 10.

The poll is voted on by the Shreveport-Bossier Journal staff. There will be a final poll at the end of postseason.

SBJ   Top 10
School (1st) W-L Pts. Prev.
1. Airline (7) 7-3 70 1
2. Benton 7-3 63 2
3. Byrd 7-3 54 3
4. Parkway 7-3 46 4
5. Northwood 8-2 41 7
6. Calvary 8-2 40 6
7. Captain Shreve 5-5 22 NR
8. Evangel 6-4 19 9
9. Huntington 6-4 15 10
10. Haughton 5-5 13 5
Receiving votes: Loyola 1.      

LANG’S LINES

Three teams take the inaugural Lang’s Lines ATS title – Airline, Calvary and Evangel. Those squads finished 7-3 against the number this season. Only three others (Benton, Magnolia and North Caddo) had a winning record against the spread.

Favorites made a late run to clip the underdogs as we made lines on 135 games during the regular season.

FIRST-ROUND PLAYOFF LINES

Benton -13.5 vs. Ponchatoula

Dutchtown -11.5 vs. Parkway

Airline -23.5 vs. Haughton

Captain Shreve -29.5 at Tioga

Jesuit -29.5 at Huntington

Evangel -21.5 vs. Istrouma

Country Day -29.5 vs. Green Oaks

Loyola Prep -4.5 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas 

By the numbers

Favorites: 10-3 straight up in Week 9 (115-19 on season), 9-4 vs. spread in Week 9 (71-64 on season) 

Final regular-season standings vs. SBJ spread

Airline 7-3, Calvary 7-3, Evangel 7-3, Benton 6-4, Magnolia Charter 6-4, North Caddo 6-4, Parkway 5-5, Huntington 5-5, Southwood 5-5, Northwood 5-5, Green Oaks 4-6, Woodlawn 4-6, Haughton 4-6, Captain Shreve 4-6, Byrd 4-6, Loyola 3-6, BTW 3-7, Bossier 2-8, Plain Dealing 2-8. 

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com  or via Twitter @Roylangiii.


Heart paves way for ‘Q,’ Northwood rally

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Many people tagged the 2022 edition of the Northwood Falcons with lofty expectations. Although they entered their regular-season finale with just two losses, they admit they hadn’t lived up to the hype.

Well, watch out. The Falcons are playing their best football when it matters and “Q” is on a roll.

Friday, Northwood running back Quintavion White helped his team spoil North DeSoto’s perfect season with a 196-yard, three-touchdown performance that sparked a come-from-behind victory and clinched a share of the District 1-4A title.

Per usual when he’s ripped through opposing defenses this year, White deflected the credit to the big uglies who pave the way.

“I love my O-line,” White said after the 20-19 victory in DeSoto Parish. “They were amazing. They block with their heart.”

White’s scoring runs of 5, 10 and 7 yards helped the Falcons erase a 13-0 deficit.

Gray Walters, Benton

The kid couldn’t throw a pass without bending over in a heap of pain in Week 9 due to an injured hip. Friday, the Tigers senior quarterback rallied his squad with three touchdown passes as Benton erased a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to sneak past Parkway for its sixth-straight victory.

Walters’ final touchdown toss, a 38-yarder to Andy Lim, gave Benton a 28-24 lead with 7 minutes remaining. The senior completed 14 of 25 pass attempts for 223 yards and touchdowns of 16, 17 and 38 yards.

James Simon, Calvary

The running back continued his tear Friday with three touchdowns in the Cavaliers’ emphatic 45-0 victory at Loyola.

Simon opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run. Before halftime, he’d find the end zone twice more – a 3-yard run and a 30-yard pass from quarterback Abram Wardell as Calvary claimed the District 1-2A championship.

Delarrious Marshall, Green Oaks

Notched the daily double with a defensive score (interception return) and an offensive score (run). He also added a 2-point conversion in the Giants’ triple OT loss to Lakeside.

Jamarlon Otis, Captain Shreve

The Gators rose from the dead with their destruction of Haughton in the regular-season finale, and the running back served notice things would be different from the start.

Captain Shreve’s lone win since Week 3 had come against Southwood, but Otis’ 76-yard scamper opened the scoring against the Buccaneers and led to a 10-carry, 115-yard performance in a resounding 42-7 victory at Lee Hedges Stadium. 

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Tre’Davious White shows courage with honesty about mental health struggles

Athletes, especially the superstar variety, don’t have to work hard to get attention and accolades. In fact, in today’s social media-dominated society, the spotlight is often too invasive. 

However, once an athlete calls it quits and his/her career is rendered to just a bunch of numbers, the spotlight dims. That’s where things can go haywire. 

The effects of multiple concussions, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is no longer hush-hush and some athletes are willing to open up about another silent demon. And they need to. We all need to. 

Retirement doesn’t have a monopoly on sparking mental health issues, as Shreveport’s own Tre’Davious White recently discovered. The Buffalo Bills cornerback is in his prime, but hasn’t played since he injured his knee in the Superdome on Thanksgiving against the New Orleans Saints nearly one year ago. 

The 27-year-old’s life has revolved around sports — and being really good at them — for more than 20 years, but once he wasn’t able to take the football field, the inner demons had a field day. 

The Green Oaks product questioned his purpose in life and hoped he had more to offer than “putting on a helmet” and swatting passes away or corralling interceptions. It was a depressing time. It still can be, despite the fact he’s healed and likely to see game action very soon. 

White admitted he “locked” himself in his basement, only to be forced out by members of the Bills’ organization. 

“I was in a different space,” White said Wednesday in a raw, riveting session with the media. 

For most of his life, White believed football was his purpose. He’s not alone. 

All too often, athletes believe their value directly correlates with their success on the field. It makes sense, because athletes — from an early age — have countless folks telling them how good they are because they score touchdowns or goals, intercept passes or make a lot of birdies or tackles. 

A bad day on the field then leads to a bad day at home.

The truth is, in the end, none of that means a damn thing.

White struggled to differentiate Tre’Davious the athlete and Tre’Davious the person, despite how easy it is for outsiders to see his worth to his beloved communities – here in Shreveport, and in Buffalo. 

“I’m still trying to make it through it, one day at a time,” White said. 

White praised the support he received, especially from his teammates and loved ones, for being the fuel to attack the knee rehab. 

One well-known friend, former NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya, sent a book titled The Obstacle is the Way. 

“It’s about mental toughness, getting through adversity,” White said. “I highly recommend it.” 

The past 12 months have been rough, but White isn’t ready to dub the mental and physical wounds caused by the knee injury as the “worst” battle he’s faced. 

“Coming from where I come from – that’s tough,” White said. “Me making it to where I’m at today is the hardest thing I’ve done.” 

One positive from the injury was the extra family time with sons ages 5 and 3. 

“I got to take them to school and do other things I wouldn’t normally be able to do,” White said. “When I finally ditched the crutches, my son said, ‘Your leg is better? You want to play hide and seek?’ Before, they were running from me, now I’m running with them. It was hard for them to see me down, but they got me through it.” 

Tre’Davious is beginning to understand THIS is the stuff that causes personal value to increase exponentially. 

“No matter what I do, I’m still going to be Dad and they are still going to love on me,” White said. 

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com