Mudbugs look to solve NAHL-best Oklahoma

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

One look at the standings would make it seem as if it’s easy to identify the focus for the Shreveport Mudbugs entering the penultimate road series of the 2022-23 regular season.

The Mudbugs need just a single point to clinch a playoff spot in the South Division. However, with six games remaining, the odds of missing the postseason are astronomical. The biggest obstacle in front of Shreveport is Oklahoma, the team with the best record (42-11-1) in the North American Hockey League and winners in five of six games against the Mudbugs this season.

This weekend’s trip to Oklahoma City gives Shreveport (32-15-7) an opportunity grab momentum against a squad it will likely have to run through to clinch another trip to the Robertson Cup semifinals.

“It’s a good weekend for us to see where we’re at,” said Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell, whose team opens the two-game series tonight. “They are one of the top teams in the league. Hopefully we’re right there.”

The Mudbugs had a seven-game win streak snapped at Odessa on Saturday and haven’t had an issue competing with the Warriors. Closing the deal is another story.

The season series has been rather remarkable.

Shreveport scored the first three goals Oct. 29 at the Blazers Ice Centre and led 3-0 with less than 8 minutes left in the game before losing 4-3.

On Jan. 13, Shreveport wasted a 3-1 lead.

The next night, the Mudbugs blew a 3-0 lead when Oklahoma scored six unanswered goals on George’s Pond. 

“That’s been a while ago,” Campbell said of the meltdowns.

The Warriors are stacked at the top of their lineup. They boast two of the top-five point-getters in the league (Joey Delgreco, 65 points; Drew Sutton, 61).

“They are pretty loaded up front,” Mudbugs forward Jaden Goldie said. “They have a lot of speed and they like to spread the ice. They attack off the rush really well — we have to play the best defensive game we can and hope we bury a few.”

Campbell gave his team an extra day off after the return from Odessa. At this point of the season, managing the health of a team can be as important as acquiring points.

“Guys have been really working hard lately,” Campbell said. “We thought the extra day might be the best thing to rejuvenate and get ready for a big weekend.”

Another big weekend it is — time to prove the Mudbugs can not only hang with the best, but they can finish them off, too.

“If not, we better get back to the drawing board quick,” Campbell said. 

Mudbugs at Oklahoma

Tonight, Saturday (both 7:15 p.m.)

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii  

Licking our wounds, but ready to recover

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Sometimes it’s just best to pack it in. Last week was one of those weeks. Nothing went right. The bets were garbage and my dog’s vet bill ate up half my 2022 profit. The good news, Luna’s recovery is going well and we have many opportunities to put the unforgettable week in the rearview mirror.

The PGA Tour’s respite between the Match Play and next week’s Masters provides a weak field, but a great opportunity to find value. 

In addition to the event in San Antonio, LIV Golf is back and we’ve made a trip back to the Korn Ferry Tour. Good luck.

Major League Baseball also begins this week. If you didn’t catch our future wagers, search for them on our website.

Good luck!


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers 


Last week: -.6.9 units

2023 season: +33.7 units

2023 ROI: 53.2 percent

2022 season: +101 units 



Valero Texas Open 

Win bets

Beau Hossler, .1 unit, +6500 (MGM)

Joseph Bramlett, .1 unit, +11000 (DK) 

Top 20 bets

Kevin Tway, .8 units, +600 (DK)

Joseph Bramlett .7 units, +400 (DK)

Scott Piercy, .5 units, +550 (DK)

Augusto Nunez, .4 units, +1100 (FD)

Garrick Higgo, .4 units, +490 (FD) 



Win bets

Bubba Watson, .1 unit, +6600 (CAE) 


Astara Chile Classic 

Win bets

Ian Holt, .1 unit, +16500 (DK)

Spencer Ralston, .1 unit, +30000 (DK)

Contact Roy at or on Twitter @roylangiii  

Sam Burns’ biggest victory made sweeter by more Sunday magic from David Toms

BEST OF THE BEST: Shreveport native Sam Burns, a Calvary Baptist graduate, won the PGA Tour’s Match Play Championship in dominant style Sunday.

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports 

Shreveport took center stage in the golf world once again. However, even though a litany of homegrown stars has produced a multitude of championship moments, Sunday produced a victory lap unlike any other. 

Former Calvary and LSU star Sam Burns authored a remarkable rally against good friend and world-No. 1 Scottie Scheffler in the semifinals of the Match Play Championship on Sunday morning and then rattled off eight birdies in 10 holes to make quick work of another young star, Cameron Young, en route to his first World Golf Championship title and the largest paycheck of his career. 

It doesn’t seem like it could get better than a $3.5-million windfall and another PGA Tour trophy, right? 

Well, a couple of hours after the 26-year-old Burns put the finishing touch on his fifth PGA Tour title, his mentor David Toms capped off a dominating performance in Rancho Mirage, California. Toms rallied from three strokes down on the front nine to post a four-shot victory in the inaugural Galleri Classic at Mission Hills Country Club. 

Toms, also a former LSU star, picked up his fourth PGA Tour Champions crown just three weeks after he ended a three-year drought with a victory in Tucson. 

“That’s awesome,” Burns said after he learned Toms had completed the Shreveport Daily Double. “I was just texting with (David’s son) Carter (Toms) and he said that he was about to win. Man, that’s like a dream of mine as a kid. Growing up watching him play, I can remember sitting on the back of the range and just watching him hit golf balls. It’s still one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen, just the way he could hit it. So straight and just like his tempo is amazing. Still is. But, yeah, to be able to win on the same day is really cool.” 

Prior to Sunday, it had been 17 years since Toms was able to enjoy a stress-free walk down the final hole or two of a Tour event. The 56-year-old’s first three PGA Tour Champions wins came by one stroke or in a playoff. His 13th and final PGA Tour title, at Colonial in 2021, was also by one stroke. In 2006, he captured his 12th title with a five-stroke win at the Sony Open. 

“I’m enjoying playing good golf right now,” Toms said Sunday. 

The victory moved Toms to the top of the season-long Charles Schwab Standings. 

“I haven’t been a part of the Charles Schwab Cup late in the season,” Toms said. “I really haven’t been close. Now my goal is to give myself a chance.” 

Burns’ 6-and-5 victory in the final match Sunday in Austin, Texas, came 18 years after Toms steamrolled Chris DiMarco by the same tally in the final match at the same tournament. 

Meanwhile, Burns moved to eighth in the PGA Tour’s FedExCup Standings. He moved up five spots to No. 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings, one place shy of his career best. 

There certainly have been better individual days for Shreveport golf. In recent years, the highlights have included Hal Sutton’s U.S. Amateur (1980), PGA Championship (1983), and Players Championship-winning duel with Tiger Woods (2000), Toms’ PGA Championship (2001), Meredith Duncan’s U.S. Women’s Amateur (2001), Burns’ Junior PGA Championship (2014) and Philip Barbaree Jr.’s U.S. Junior Amateur (2015). 

Sunday’s double is certainly in the discussion for unforgettable days for the locals and their fans and more proof of the incredible mark this community has made on the game. 

And it’s far from finished. 

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii   

Mudbugs on brink of playoff berth after win streak snapped 

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

For the past month, the Shreveport Mudbugs’ stellar play has been rewarded. Not only did the Mudbugs enter Saturday’s game at Odessa on a seven-game win streak, they’d seemingly had everything involving other teams go their way in the South Division standings.

Shreveport climbed within two points of second-place Lone Star and just a single point stood between the Mudbugs and a playoff position.

However, the run of terrific play and good luck ended – at least temporarily.

For starters, Odessa defeated Shreveport, 5-2, on Saturday. It marked the first time since Feb. 3 – the team’s last trip to Odessa — the Mudbugs allowed more than four goals in a game. Shreveport, 3-1 winners on Friday, had allowed a total of two goals in its past four games entering Saturday.

“Our lack of puck responsibility was unacceptable,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell told the Journal. “We turned pucks over coming out of our end – especially when we had 100 percent possession — too much and at their blue line too much.”

To top things off, Amarillo prevented a playoff clinching evening thanks to its victory against Corpus Christi and Lone Star completed a shutout sweep of New Mexico.

“You’re that close to clinching a playoff spot. You’re excited for that opportunity to clinch,” Campbell said. “There is a different level of excitement there for these last six games, fighting to clinch that spot and then getting your team ready for a playoff run – hopefully a long one.”

The Mudbugs could clinch a playoff spot before they play their next game – Friday night’s series opener at first-place Oklahoma. If Amarillo loses at Corpus Christi on Thursday night, the only thing left to decide for Shreveport would be seeding.

If Amarillo takes care of business, Shreveport needs just a single point against the Warriors. 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Garrett Steele, the captain is finishing his long career in Shreveport in style. Saturday, he scored his 20th goal of the season during his 200th NAHL game. 
  1. Drake Morse, added three points on the weekend to extend his team lead this season.
  1. Simon Bucheler, the goaltender stopped 22 of 23 shots to pick up his league-leading 25th win Friday.

NAHL South Division standings

x-Oklahoma (42-11-1), 85 points

x-Lone Star (34-12-7), 75

Shreveport (32-15-7), 71

New Mexico (30-21-3), 63

Amarillo (28-23-3), 59

Odessa (26-24-3), 55

El Paso (16-34-4), 36

Corpus Christi (11-36-7), 29

*top four make the playoffs 

x-clinched playoff spot 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 20

Assists: Logan Heroux, 26

Points: Drake Morse, 41

Penalty Minutes: Liam Fleet, 86

Game-winning goals: Hayden Nichol, Jake Mack, Morse 4

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 1.92

Save percentage: Bucheler, .923 

Up next

Shreveport’s four-game road trip ends with a trip to play Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday (7:15 p.m.)

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii 

Mudbugs ride win streak into Odessa with chance to clinch playoff spot

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The Shreveport Mudbugs have won six straight games; should the streak reach eight this weekend in Odessa, the team would keep its perfect run of postseason berths alive in the North American Hockey League. However, the Jackalopes are desperate – and they have reason to be confident with their playoff lives on the line.

Despite residing in sixth place in the South Division, Odessa has taken four of six games against Shreveport this season. The Jackalopes likely need to sweep the Mudbugs in order to stay in the hunt for the South’s final playoff berth.

“This is another huge weekend on the road,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “We’re in their way right now. It’s going to be a battle. We need to be prepared to go in there and be road warriors.”

Not only can Shreveport (31-14-7, 69 points) make it official for the postseason, it can put some serious heat on Lone Star (32-12-7) for the No. 2 seed. The Mudbugs trail the Brahmas by two points, and Lone Star has one game in hand. 

“We’ve put ourselves in a good situation to make the playoffs, maybe even more up in the league standings during this playoff run,” said Campbell, whose team needs three points to garner a playoff spot.

Odessa swept the Mudbugs on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum on Jan. 20-21. The teams split the last two meetings in Odessa on Feb. 3-4 – both games went into overtime.

“This is a huge time for two really big games this weekend,” Mudbugs captain Garrett Steele said. 

Note: The status of goaltender Nikola Goich remains unclear. The first-year Mudbug was struck in the head with the first shot of Saturday’s game against El Paso and left after 20 minutes of action. Although there doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern, Campbell was unsure about his status for the weekend against the Jackalopes … teammate Simon Bucheler moved into the NAHL lead in goaltender victories (24) when he relieved Goich and earned the win. Bucheler is No. 2 in the league with a 1.88 goals-against average. 

Mudbugs at Odessa

Tonight, Saturday, 7:15 p.m.

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii   

Big time green light for this week’s golf

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

We’ve sort of been messing around the past couple of weeks on the links. We haven’t had much at stake, and not much to show for it.

That changes this week as alarm bells are going off – especially at the PGA Tour’s alternate event.

Let’s see if we can get another stellar performance.


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers 


Last week: -1.6 units

2023 season: +40.6 units

2023 ROI: 71.2 percent

2022 season: +101 units 



WGC Match Play 

Win bets

Russell Henley, .1 unit, +9000 (DK)

Andre Putnam, .1 unit, +13000 (DK)

Denny McCarthy, .1 unit, +10000 (FD)

Corey Conners, .1 unit, +8000 (DK)

Si Woo Kim, .1 unit, +8000 (DK) 

Corales Puntacana


Patrick Rodgers, .2 units, +2700 (FD)

Kevin Tway, .1 units, +5000 (FD)

Nick Hardy, .1 units, +4500 (FD) 

Top 20 bets

Patrick Rodgers, 1.8 units, +120 (DK)

Kevin Tway, 1.6 units, +200 (DK)

Kyle Westmoreland, 1.4 units, +550 (DK)

Charley Hoffman, .9 units, +280 (DK) 


Jonsson Workwear Open 

Win bets

Niklas Norgaard Moller, .2 units, +2800 (MGM)

David Law, .1 units, +8000 (MGM) 

Contact Roy at or on Twitter @roylangiii    

Mudbugs post fourth weekend shutout in NAHL team history 

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Following Saturday’s 2-0 victory, the Shreveport Mudbugs had an opportunity to watch the carnage in North Richland Hills, Texas, as the teams closest to the Mudbugs in the standings — Lone Star and New Mexico – battled.

It was a win-win situation for Shreveport for one reason.

“Because we did our job,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said.


Shreveport posted a weekend shutout for just the fourth time in franchise history in a sweep of El Paso that extended the Mudbugs’ win streak to six games. 

New Mexico and Lone Star split their two-game set, so Shreveport gained two points on both teams. With eight games remaining in the regular season, the Mudbugs are third in the North American Hockey League’s South Division, two points behind the Brahmas.

They are six points ahead of fourth-place New Mexico. 

Goaltender Simon Bucheler earned the 3-0 shutout Friday and was scheduled to have the night off Saturday. However, teammate Nikola Goich was hit between the eyes with the first shot of the game. He finished the period but couldn’t play the final 40 minutes. 

“I don’t think it’s anything serious,” Campbell said. “We’re always super cautious with all of our injuries; he just wasn’t feeling good enough to finish.”

Bucheler made 19 saves in relief to complete the perfect weekend. 

“It’s a great practice situation,” Campbell said. “He’s not really expecting to go in and he had to. It didn’t seem like it affected Simon, because he played pretty well.”

Shreveport last posted back-to-back shutouts in a weekend series when Devon Bobak blanked Amarillo (Dec. 3-4, 2021) at The George.

Gustav Grigals and Jaxon Castor both collected a shutout in a Feb. 16-17, 2018, series at home against Odessa. 

Maiszon Balboa was the first Mudbugs goaltender to accomplish the feat on his own. He didn’t allow a goal and played every minute of Shreveport’s Feb. 28-29, 2020, series with Odessa on George’s Pond. 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Jake Mack, corralled another game-winning goal on the weekend and extended his point streak to six games. He’s also picked up a point in 11 of his past 14 games. 
  2. Simon Bucheler, following Friday night’s shutout win, he was supposed to earn a night off. However, an injury to Nikola Goich in Saturday’s first period forced Bucheler into action. He stopped all 19 shots he faced to help the Mudbugs get a second-straight shutout. 
  3. Garrett Steele, the captain did captain things this weekend, especially in an otherwise sluggish performance Saturday. 

NAHL South Division standings

x-Oklahoma (41-10-1), 83 points

Lone Star (32-12-7), 71

Shreveport (31-14-7), 69

New Mexico (30-19-3), 63

Amarillo (26-23-3), 55

Odessa (25-23-3), 53

El Paso (15-33-4), 34

Corpus Christi (11-34-7), 29

*top four make the playoffs 

 x-clinched playoff spot

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 19

Assists: Logan Heroux, 27

Points: Drake Morse, 38

Penalty Minutes: Liam Fleet, 84

Game-winning goals: Hayden Nichol, Jake Mack, 4

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 1.88

Save percentage: Bucheler, .924 

Up next

Shreveport’s four-game road trip begins with a trip to Odessa to play the Jackalopes on Friday and Saturday (7:15 p.m.) 

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii  

Mudbugs aim to give ‘ecstatic’ fan base more hockey

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

As if there wasn’t enough motivation over the final 10 games for the Shreveport Mudbugs, the possibility to spend an extra night or two on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum — at the most important time of the year — is a heck of a reason for the blood to pump even faster.

“It’s just exciting when you’re playing in a packed barn,” Mudbugs defenseman Tristan Zarsky said. “It’s all the people you see around town at promos and the regular fans. Everyone is ecstatic. Not only does the crowd give us energy, but it’s something they have to deal with – especially with the way we play.”

With eight victories in their past 10 games, the Mudbugs (29-14-7) are now within four points of second place in the South Division. The top two teams in every division host first-round playoff series. As it stands now, it could be the difference between Shreveport hosting Game 5 with Lone Star or having to visit the Shoebox in North Richland Hills, Texas for a winner-take all.

Shreveport is 14-8-4 at home and has sold out two of its past four home games. The franchise leads the North American Hockey League in average attendance (2,672).

“You don’t have to be a hockey fan to come and have a great night at George’s Pond,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “The front office has done a great job. We need to keep this going. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Mudbugs have a golden opportunity to solidify a run at the No. 2 spot when they host seventh-place El Paso (15-31-4) at The George tonight and Saturday (face-off at 7:11 p.m. both nights).

Second place is up for grabs, but a playoff spot isn’t yet a guarantee. Shreveport is four points ahead of fourth-place (the last playoff spot) New Mexico. Amarillo is 12 points behind the Mudbugs.

Note: The Shreveport Mudbugs High School hockey teams enter the final weekend of their regular seasons. They have competed in the AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey Association. Shreveport varsity forward Landon Kay was named the best forward in the Varsity Bronze division.

Kay, a sophomore, leads his division in goals (25), assists (15) and points (40) in 16 games this season. Kay will be among those who will be honored at a Dallas Stars game on April 6.

The Mudbugs’ junior varsity squad enters the final weekend with an opportunity to make the playoffs for the time. Shreveport (7-6-3) boasts a three-game win streak, but must win its final two games Sunday to have a shot at the postseason.

Mudbugs vs. El Paso

Tonight, Saturday (7:11 p.m.)

George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum

Contact Roy at or on Twitter @roylangiii     

Light slate, but three tours available this week

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

There wasn’t much excitement last week. We didn’t have a lot of action and Sunday at The Players was a dud. On the DP World Tour, our man Borja Virto cashed a top-20 ticket at 11-1 to make our weekend nearly a wash.

LIV Golf returns this week, and loyal followers know that has meant big profits in the past. However, there wasn’t a lot of value as of this writing, so the plays are limited. And LIV lines can be hard to find, depending on your state.

We have some nice tickets on top-20 plays on the DP World Tour, including Locks favorite Jeong Weon Ko. Baseball season is closing in. If you didn’t get down on some of our future plays, do a search and you can find them. You need a little action entering the 2023 campaign!

Good luck this week.


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers 


Last week: -.8 units

2023 season: +42.2 units

2023 ROI: 76.9 percent

2022 season: +101 units 



SDC Championship 

Win bets

Thirston Lawrence, .2 units, +4900 (CAE, FD)

David Law, .1 unit, +9500 (FD)

Richie Ramsay, .1 unit, +7500 (FD) 

Top 20 bets

Hennie O’Kennedy, .4 units, +1000 (FD)

Jeong Weon Ko, .4 units, +450 (FD)

John Parry, .2 units, +950 (FD)

LIV Golf 


Win bets

Dean Burmester, .1 unit, +4000 (CAE, FD, DK)

Bubba Watson, .1 unit, +8200 (CAE)

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @RoyLangIII      

‘No Plan B’: Local star drops everything to pursue pro pickleball dream

Judit Castillo is no stranger to a leap of faith. 

In 2017, she left her native Spain to pursue a college education and a tennis career in Natchitoches. 

Seven years later, the Northwestern State Demons product has made a “not-in-a-million-years” decision. 

Last month, Castillo, who has served in a couple of different roles at Pierremont Oaks Tennis Club and East Ridge Country Club since her days as an intern, dropped everything to pursue a career in professional pickleball. 

“There is no plan B,” the 24-year-old told the Journal. “I’m giving my best and everything I have.” 

Six months ago, Castillo had never touched a paddle and didn’t know the rules of pickleball. 

Ready for a remarkable twist? She’s backed – financially and emotionally – by a group of local members. One of the keys to Castillo’s rise in the sport is a member of that group, former major leaguer Todd Walker. 

“It’s crazy,” Castillo said. “Pickleball and baseball are two different sports, but they require a competitive mind-set that only professional athletes have. He’s been guiding me with mental training. Any time I have a question, technical and mental, he’s the first person I call.” 

Not only is Walker a mentor, he’s often her teammate in mixed doubles. 

“Anytime someone has the talent and the desire to do well, it doesn’t matter what it is, badminton, pickleball, chess, it gets pretty cool,” said Walker, who coached Calvary baseball for three years following a 12-year professional baseball career. “Judit has the ability. Everyone knew that very quickly.” 

Castillo won her first local pickleball tournament at Pierremont Oaks one day after her first practice. 

Knowledge of the game came quickly, through daily three-hour practice sessions and watching videos of the sport’s top stars. 

Last week, Castillo was rubbing shoulders and beating some of those very people. 

“I often think, ‘I’m hanging out with people I watched on TV. How did this happen?’” Castillo said. 

She recorded a fifth-place finish in the Professional Pickleball Association’s (PPA) Florida Open. The Spaniard’s only loss in six matches came against Salome Devidze, currently No. 2 in the World Pickleball Rankings. 

Castillo is the No. 44-ranked singles player in the world as she heads to the PPA Tour event in Austin, Texas. 

“It’s opened up a whole new world for her,” Walker said. “She has that unique ability to play against the best in the world.” 

Said Castillo: “In tennis I had the ability, but I had limitations. In pickleball, for whatever reason, I picked it up quickly.” 

Castillo’s family hasn’t seen her play tournament pickleball in person, but they have been able to follow the events via live streams. 

“When I told them about pursing pickleball full-time, they asked, ‘How are you going to fund everything?’ 

“I said, ‘I will figure out the way.’ 

“I knew I couldn’t work full-time and play pickleball full-time. Even if it’s crazy, I know they’ll be supportive.” 

Pickleball’s rise is evident by the emergence of Major League Pickleball (MLP) and the list of its investors – former quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady have purchased portions of MLP franchises. 

Just six months into this process, the MLP is a focus for Castillo. 

“I want to win,” Castillo said. “By July I want to be in the top 15 of the singles rankings and drafted by MLP. I think I can make it happen.” 

Fueled by a fire seen in some of her native country’s most famous athletes, like her favorite, Rafael Nadal, it’s hard to doubt Castillo. In college, she was a fierce competitor and fan favorite who finished her Lady Demons’ career with 54 singles wins, tied for eighth all-time at NSU. 

“I have a lot of Spanish in me,” she said. “I don’t give up. If you’re going to beat me, you’re going to have to beat me, I’m not going to give you anything.” 

Said Walker: “She’s one of the best in the world and a lot of us around Shreveport are excited to see where she’s at a year from now.”

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @roylangiii

Mudbugs sweep Amarillo, close in on second place

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Jason Campbell’s team was ready to “fight,” and literally did on one occasion during its weekend series with Amarillo on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The Wranglers refused to engage in the traditional form of physicality, but that didn’t stop the Shreveport Mudbugs from posting an emphatic two-game sweep.

The Mudbugs saw yet another different group emerge offensively and moved within four points of second place in the North American Hockey League’s South Division with a 3-2 victory Friday and a 5-1 triumph Saturday.

“Friday, night, Liam Fleet dropped the gloves to fight and their guy took a punch to the face and didn’t drop the gloves,” Campbell said. “From that point we knew that was the way it was going to be – they were going to do all that stuff. We’re ready to fight, we’re not ready to punch people in the face with our gloves on after every single whistle.” 

Tristan Zarsky scored his first two goals of the season Saturday, while fellow blue-liner Matt Danziger added his second tally of the 2022-23 campaign during the game.

“I really like that our (defense) is contributing offensively, but the way they’re doing it is shots through from the point,” said Campbell, whose team has now won four straight games. “They are scoring the way a good, responsibly defenseman should score.”

With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Mudbugs (12 points ahead of fifth-place Amarillo) are quickly closing in a playoff position.

Shreveport stays at The George this weekend when El Paso comes to town.

Note: Mudbugs goaltender Nikola Goich had an issue with a pad Saturday night and was forced to briefly give up his spot between the pipes. All Simon Bucheler did was come in, make a save and watch Matthew Danziger score to take a 3-1 lead. Bucheler, who earned the victory in net Friday, spent just 88 seconds on the ice in relief before Goich’s pad was fixed.

“The joke was Bush was a plus-one,” Campbell said.

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Tristan Zarsky, helped Bugs finish the sweep with a two-goal effort on Saturday. Has not had a negative plus-minus game since Jan. 13 (14 games).
  1. Matthew Danziger, tallied his second goal of the year (first came Dec. 29) on Saturday.
  1. Logan Heroux, a three-point weekend. His power-play tally got things going Friday night.

NAHL South Division standings

x-Oklahoma (39-9-1), 79 points

Lone Star (31-11-7), 69

Shreveport (29-14-7), 65

New Mexico (28-18-3), 59

Amarillo (25-21-3), 53

Odessa (24-22-3), 51

El Paso (15-30-4), 34

Corpus Christi (10-34-6), 26

*top four make the playoffs 

x-clinched playoff spot

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 17

Assists: Logan Heroux, 26

Points: Drake Morse, 38

Penalty Minutes: Liam Fleet, 84

Game-winning goals: Hayden Nichol, 4

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 1.98

Save percentage: Bucheler, .920 

Up next

Shreveport concludes the penultimate regular-season homestand with two against El Paso (Friday and Saturday, 7:11 p.m.)

Contact Roy at

Strength of schedule in Mudbugs’ favor at top of stretch run

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

With a dozen games remaining in the 2022-23 regular season, the Shreveport Mudbugs — according to the desired script — are playing some of their best hockey. While fans normally gravitate to the offensive numbers, the improvement of the team’s defensive mindset has impressed its coach the most.

“We’re blocking a lot more shots. We are giving up less Grade-A (scoring opportunities). Defensively, as a whole, we’re playing better,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said.

Shreveport has allowed more than two goals just once in the past seven games – a 3-2 loss to Lone Star on Feb. 18. Shreveport has recorded two shutouts in the past three games and allowed just one goal in two of the past six games.

Tonight, Shreveport kicks off its final multi-weekend homestand of the season when Amarillo pays a visit to George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The Wranglers (25-19-3) cling to playoff hope in the North American Hockey League’s South Division and will likely carry a must-win attitude into the two-game series with the Mudbugs (27-14-7).

Amarillo resides in fifth place in the South, six points behind the final playoff position — fourth-place New Mexico. The Wranglers are eight points behind Shreveport.

As the battle for the quartet of playoff positions heats up, Shreveport has a clear advantage — the easiest remaining schedule of their teams battling in the South.

Shreveport’s remaining opponents have combined to win just 43 percent of their games. The remaining opponents for sixth-place Odessa and second-place Lone Star have won 48 percent of their games. Amarillo is facing squads with a winning record (51 percent) while New Mexico has the toughest route (opponents’ win rate is 54 percent).

New Mexico faces either first-place Oklahoma or second-place Lone Star in six of its final 11 games. Conversely, the Mudbugs have no games left against the top two South teams and six of 12 against bottom feeders El Paso and Corpus Christi.

Amarillo and Odessa both have two games in hand on New Mexico.

The top spot in the South is all but determined, but it’s clear seeds 2-6 are a long way from being settled.

Mudbugs vs. Amarillo

Tonight, Saturday

7:11 p.m., George’s Pond

Strength of remaining schedule 

Five NAHL South teams are battling for three playoff spots with 12 games left to play. First-place Oklahoma is a lock to reach the postseason.

Place in South Division. Team, points, remaining games (win percentage of opponents)

  1. Lone Star, 69, 11 (48 percent)
  2. Shreveport, 61, 12 (42 percent)
  3. New Mexico, 59, 11 (54 percent)
  4. Amarillo, 53, 13 (51 percent)
  5. Odessa, 51, 13 (48 percent) 

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @Roy Lang III

We’re betting the Magical Kenya Open, oh, and The Players

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Once again the Locks VIPs rocked their bookmakers. 

As you’ve probably read here before, since this publishes Wednesday morning, many of the valuable golf lines have been nuked (they normally are revealed Monday) by the time this hits the internet. However, that doesn’t stop the VIPs from getting the juicy stuff in real time Monday.

Last week, Nico Echavarria was on the VIP list for the PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico. By the time Tuesday rolled around, his 150-1 number had disappeared. The Colombian rolled to victory and made our most loyal friends happy.

Unfortunately, that hit, like the early bird picks in the past, isn’t reflected in the official Locks numbers, but we’re still up more than 43 units and March has just begun.

VIPs like MattySue, DC, Coach K and Brooksie scored the big ticket, but “The Brothers” did the unthinkable. In addition to the 150-1 bomb, against my advice (I don’t recommend parlays), a top-20 parlay was created, and cashed.

Local sportsbooks on the boats must simply chuckle when The Brothers walk in to wager on golf. Legend status has been attained quickly.

A lot of the value at this week’s Players Championship was picked over by the sharps Monday, but we have a couple of plays. A few selections still live for the DP World Tour event with the greatest name of any golf tournament – the Magical Kenya Open.

And you thought Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl was good.

Good luck.


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers


Last week: -.2 units

2023 season: +43 units

2023 ROI: 83 percent

2022 season: +101 units



The Players Championship

Win bet

Matt Kuchar, .1 unit, +15000 (MGM)

Top 20 bets

Greyson Sigg, .2 units, +1200 (DK)


Magical Kenya Open

Win bets

Adrian Otaegui, .1 unit, +2850 (MGM)

Connor Syme, .1 unit, +5450 (MGM)

Maximilian Kieffer, .1 unit, +6550 (MGM)

Kristian Krogh Johannessen, .1 unit, +9900 (MGM)

Top 20 bets

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, .8 units, +500 (BS/BR)

Gary Hurley, .5 units, +1800 (BS/BR)

Matthew Baldwin, .4 units, +450 (DK)

Ricardo Gouveia, .3 units, +700 (BS/BR)

John Axelsen, .3 units, +1100 (BS/BR)

Borja Virto, .2 units, +1100 (BS/BR) 

Contact Roy at or on Twitter @Roy Lang III

Victory sends reminders: Toms is really good at golf, great at giving

David Toms’ resume is extensive. For starters, 13 PGA Tour victories (including a major championship, the 2001 PGA), a long list of appearances in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups and a major title on the PGA Tour Champions (2018 U.S. Senior Open). 

Off the course, the 2017 inductee in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame has raised millions of dollars to help the less fortunate through the David Toms Foundation. 

Sunday, the 56-year-old Toms secured his third victory on the Tour’s 50-and-over circuit when he holed a 6-foot bogey putt on the final hole of the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, Arizona. The victory ended a three-year drought for the Shreveporter and former LSU star. 

“It’s a monkey off my back,” said Toms, who edged Robert Karlsson by one stroke. “I’ve had a bunch of close calls. It’s been a while.” 

As his post-victory interview carried on, Toms was overcome with emotion. It wasn’t so much the drought. It wasn’t the $330,000 first prize. It wasn’t the fortitude he showed after he hit his tee shot in the water on the final hole – just like he had done the first two times he played that hole during the event. 

Toms was thinking of a couple of special guests he played for – one got a first-hand, inside-the-ropes view of the final-round. The other’s seat was even better. 

Toms’ wore an “in memory” ribbon on his hat during the tournament in honor of the late Gloria Borges – the founder of WunderGlo Foundation who died at 32 from colon cancer in 2014. Gloria’s mother, Becky Borges, was an honorary observer Sunday and watched Toms up close. 

“She was right there with me,” Toms said of Becky Borges. 

Well, her daughter Gloria was, too. 

In addition to showcasing a tournament stacked with golf’s prior generation of superstars, the tournament’s title sponsor, Cologuard, has a mission to use the event to garner awareness for early screening for colon cancer. 

“It’s great to raise awareness,” Toms said. “We’re just here playing a game.” 

It was obvious the emotion began to boil for Toms. Should we have expected anything else? 

Giving has always been a passion for the Airline High product. For the better part of three decades, Toms has parlayed his success on the course to helping others. Sunday, he helped Gloria Borges’ mother in more ways than one. He elevated Gloria’s name and the WunderGlo cause – to cure colon cancer using “creative, forward-thinking and aggressive methods.”   

Toms also scored another victory in Gloria’s name. Those are priceless. 

“I was crying on the green when they talked about Gloria,” Toms’ right-hand man, longtime caddie Scott Gneiser, told the Journal. 

Toms has always enjoyed flying under the radar when it comes to fame, but he’s always found a way to use his name to help many, especially in Louisiana. 

On the course, it’s been more of the same. He’s an unassuming assassin, whose ball-striking has often been unmatched. The key this week: rekindling the magic in his putter. 

“(My putting) is why I haven’t won (a lot on PGA Tour Champions),” Toms admitted. “The stroke felt good. I gave a little tip to myself and it worked all week.” 

Toms’ victory came in the tournament’s final visit to Omni Tucson National. His clutch putt on 18 prevented a playoff on that devil of a hole. 

“We’re not the best of friends,” Toms said about No. 18. 

After the winning putt, Toms whispered to Gneiser: “At least we don’t have to see that hole again.”

Toms showed his true colors once again Sunday. He proved his golf game is elite, but it doesn’t hold a candle to his heart. 

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @RoyLangIII

Mudbugs sweep Corpus Christi, take control of third

 (Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The Shreveport Mudbugs took care of business along the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Facing last-place Corpus Christi, the Mudbugs delivered back-to-back dominating victories en route to a sweep.

Goaltender Simon Bucheler anchored 5-2 (Friday) and 3-0 (Saturday) triumphs to push Shreveport into sole possession of third place in the North American Hockey League’s South Division.

Forward Nick Marino collected three goals against the IceRays, including both game-winners. Teammate Jake Mack had a four-point weekend.

Marino has found his stride in the second half of the season. The “relentless” 5-foot-7, 160-pound forward has proven to be a “water bug” in the eyes of Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell.

“He’s always buzzing around the surface,” Campbell told the Journal. “He can finish hits. He’s solid on the forecheck and on the backcheck. He’s a relentless worker.”

Marino has scored six of his eight goals over his past 11 games.

“He does work around the net, bangs in rebounds and does the dirty work, and that’s how you score goals,” Campbell said, “but he has some skill. He can make moves and he has poise with the puck. He’s always in control.”

Marino is now tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals.

The Mudbugs trailed 1-0 after Friday’s first period, but Drake Morse’s tally early in the second period sparked four straight goals for Shreveport. Saturday’s game got testy late, but Campbell was impressed with his team’s restraint. 

“We stayed disciplined,” Campbell said. “Guys wanted to drop the gloves, but you just can’t do that in the final five minutes (carries an automatic suspension). We need those guys in the lineup this weekend.”

Shreveport is eight points behind second-place Lone Star, and two points in front of New Mexico. The Mudbugs head back home for a weekend series with Amarillo.

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Nick Marino, a three-goal weekend included both game-winners. His goal Saturday came just 84 seconds into the game.
  2. Simon Bucheler, allowed two goals to nab Friday’s victory, then stopped all 23 shots he faced for a shutout win Saturday.
  3. Jake Mack, displayed his production equally on a four-point weekend – two assists Friday and another pair of helpers Saturday.

NAHL South Division standings

Oklahoma (37-9-1), 75 points

Lone Star (31-11-7), 69

Shreveport (27-14-7), 61

New Mexico (28-18-3), 59

Amarillo (25-19-3), 53

Odessa (24-20-3), 51

El Paso (13-30-4), 30

Corpus Christi (10-32-6), 26

*top four make the playoffs

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 16

Assists: Logan Heroux, 24

Points: Drake Morse, 38

Penalty Minutes: Hayden Nichol, 74

Game-winning goals: Morse, Nichol, Logan Gotinsky, Jake Mack, Nick Marino, 3

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 1.98

Save percentage: Bucheler, .920

Up next

Shreveport begins a four-game homestand with two against Amarillo (Friday and Saturday, 7:11 p.m.)

Contact Roy at or on Twitter at @RoyLangIII

Hey momma, we did it again! LIV’s return sparks best week ever

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

I came into the 2023 campaign thinking it would be impossible to reach a 100-unit profit – especially with the small amounts we wager — like last year. Well, maybe I need to increase my expectations.

We collected a profit on three different professional golf tours last week. The highlight: a win ticket on 50-1 shot Charles Howell III.

Chuckie Triplesticks dominated the field as LIV Golf made its 2023 debut. We had an 18-1 top-20 finisher (Ryan Gerard) on the PGA Tour and hit our two biggest T20 wagers on the DP World Tour.

In the end, we collected more than 42 units – an all-time record for the Locks.

Our ROI is over 83 percent.

Light golf betting this week – think they’re onto us. However, how about some MLB futures action! We’re less than a month away from Opening Day. Let’s get some bets in. A lot of bets.

Good luck. 


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers


Last week: +42.6 units

2023 season: +43.2 units

2023 ROI: 83.9 percent

2022 season: +101 units 



Arnold Palmer Invitational 

Win bet

Sungjae Im, .1 unit, +4600 (FD)

Puerto Rico Open 

Win bets

Austin Eckroat, .1 unit, +4450 (FD) 


2023 Futures  

Win World Series

Braves, 1.2 units, +1000 (CAE)

Rays, .5 units, +2500 (CAE)

Brewers, .2 units, +4000 (CAE)

Padres, .6 units, +1000 (DK)

Cardinals, .2 units, +2200 (CAE) 

AL Pennant

Rays, 1.1 units, +1200 (MGM)

Angels, .2 units, +2500 (Kambi)

Twins, .2 units, +2200 (CAE)

Guardians, .1 unit, +1600 (CAE) 

NL Pennant

Braves, 1.8 units, +500 (CAE)

Brewers, .4 units, +2000 (BS/BR)

Padres, 1.2 units, +550 (CAE)

Giants, .2 units, +3000 (BS/BR) 

Division Titles 

AL West

Angels, 1.1 units, +1200 (CAE)

AL Central

Twins, 2.3 units, +285 (BS/BR) 

AL East

Rays, 1.4 units, +400 (CAE) 

NL East

Braves, 5.1 units, +145 (CAE) 

NL West

Padres, 6.4 units, +140 (CAE)

Giants, 1.2 units, +1200 (MGM)

To Make Playoffs

Red Sox, 1.8 units, +320 (CAE)

Brewers, 3.6 units, +110 (CAE)

Giants, 2.5 units, +213 (CAE)

Angels, 1.7 units, +200 (CAE) 

To Miss Playoffs

Dodgers, 4 units, +600 (CAE)

Phillies, 4 units, +230 (CAE)

Astros, 1.2 units, +700 (CAE)

Mariners, 4.4 units, +160 (CAE)

Contact Roy at

Love story that began in the 1950s produces big boost for Bossier football in 2023

Bobby “Hurricane” Howell was a giving man. He was one heck of a multi-sport athlete at Bossier High in the 1950s and was asked to walk on by the LSU Tigers. The Plain Dealing native’s most important work came after his success on the field. Not only did he build an impressive business empire, Howell Environmental Companies, he was always happy to share the wealth.   

Thanks to his wife, Flora Howell, the generosity of the Bossier High Hall of Famer didn’t cease when he died at the age of 76 in 2015. 

Flora was pretty sure her next philanthropic move was to establish a scholarship in Howell’s name. 

Then the phone rang. 

Sometimes timing really is everything. 

At Howell’s alma mater, another passionate Bossier High product, Gary Smith, is on a mission to make the Bearkats great again. Smith is just a few weeks into his stint as the head football coach and he hit the ground running. 

“I put out a letter on social media,” Smith said. “We needed to raise $35,000 to revamp our weight room, for starters. 

“There are a lot of other things we need, but the weight room has to happen now.” 

Word traveled all the way to Flora Howell in Lafayette. Before he could blink, Smith was headed south on I-49 to meet with Flora on Saturday. 

“I was so excited,” Flora told The Journal. “I thought about how much (Bobby) loved Bossier High. The timing was perfect. He was a Bossier High School man, let me tell you. He went to all the reunions.” 

Smith and Howell met for more than an hour Saturday. 

The Bearkats are going to get that weight room. 

“You can tell how much Bossier High means to Coach Smith,” Howell said. “He’s very passionate. He feels he’s the right guy for the job.   

“Bobby used to pay for people’s funerals, weddings and college. If he could, he helped. He felt very blessed and wanted to return all that.” 

It may be easier for private schools and those in higher classifications to fundraise, but it can be done. There’s always someone willing to help. 

Bossier isn’t the only winner in this instance. Flora Howell was full of pride and love when describing her late husband and his desire to help others. But she’s still a little mad “Hurricane” played hard to get. 

Flora recalls meeting Bobby at the “Bossier pool” during their senior year of high school, however nothing came of the encounter. A short time later, the two ran across each other at Northwestern State College’s freshman dance. 

“He asked one of my friends to get introduced to me,” Flora said. “I said, ‘I just met you.’ 

“He said, ‘I don’t remember.’ I said, ‘I had my white bathing suit on, how can you forget?’” 

Although Hurricane was off to a rocky start, the soon-to-be lovebirds enjoyed their first date that night. The rest is history. 

From that moment on, Bobby Howell made sure Flora knew she was unforgettable. They were married for 53 years. 

A knee injury during the first week of practice in Baton Rouge sent Howell to NSC, but that didn’t prevent him from becoming a big man on the Demons’ campus, revered as an undefeated Golden Gloves and Tri-State AAU heavyweight boxing champion. 

And, of course, it paved the way for a love story seven decades strong. 

Smith has been encouraged about the outpouring of support for his Bearkats. In addition to the Howells’, he’s received several other contributions that will help with the weight room and cosmetic improvements around campus. 

“I want to make this a place players, coaches and teachers drive up to and say, ‘Wow,’” Smith said. “I could have probably mixed and matched weight racks, but these kids deserve better than that. We’re going to get the top-notch equipment and do it right.” 

Smith has already garnered a big fan in Flora Howell and will certainly add many others with his determination. 

“The other night, I was on the field and saw the skylines of Bossier and Shreveport,” Smith said. “I love the view. This is a great place for high school football.

“I want to end my career at Bossier.” 

It’s clear the Bearkats are in good hands.

Contact Roy at

Mudbugs back in tie for third after split with Lone Star

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

“Only against Lone Star.”

Shreveport Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said it perfectly.

The Mudbugs and Brahmas played more than 126 minutes this weekend on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. The teams combined for just three goals – not one during regulation or overtime Saturday night. 

In the end, both teams earned three of four points as Shreveport captured a thrilling 2-1 overtime decision Friday thanks to a game-winning goal from Ryan Burke.

Saturday, Shreveport netminder Nikola Goich and counterpart Arthur Smith stopped all 55 shots they faced before Lone Star prevailed in a shootout.

It marked just the second time in Shreveport’s seven seasons in the North American Hockey League it had a scoreless game reach a shootout. The other, naturally, came against Lone Star on Sept. 16, 2017 at The George. The Mudbugs won that game with Gustav Grigals between the pipes. It was the second game of the 2017-18 Robertson Cup championship campaign.

This weekend, there wasn’t much complaining to do about a hard-fought three points, but Campbell says a lack of “jump” at the end of a long week may have prevented a four-point weekend for the Mudbugs.

The lead-up was filled with 6 a.m. practices and trips to local schools to read Dr. Seuss books. An overtime affair in front of a sold-out crowd Friday was followed by another overtime game in front of a packed house Saturday.

“The guys were really busy, but that’s part of what we do,” Campbell told The Journal.

“That’s when a little intestinal fortitude is needed. Nobody cares what’s going on (off the ice) when it comes to winning. If there is a Division I school watching this game – they care about the performance on the ice.”

The Mudbugs (25-14-7) moved back into a tie with New Mexico for third place in the NAHL’s South Division.

“We were close (to a sweep),” Campbell said. “We did some good things this week. The disappointing part of not scoring (Saturday) was not getting the crowd ripping.”

After Simon Bucheler collected the victory between the pipes Friday, Goich got the call Saturday and continued his impressive play.

“Niko played a great game,” Campbell said. “He practices hard. You never know when your number will be called, but he showed a lot of poise and maturity and gave us every opportunity to win this hockey game. It’s a shame we didn’t pull it out for him.”

Notes: Shreveport forward Kason Muscutt was suspended for Saturday night’s game for his checking from behind penalty in Friday’s game. He’s expected to return when the Mudbugs travel to Corpus Christi.

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Simon Bucheler, stopped 26 of 27 shots he faced Friday night to win his sixth game in seven starts.
  1. Nikola Goich, the hard-luck loser Saturday. Stopped all 24 shots he faced in regulation and overtime.
  1. Ryan Burke, notched the game-winning goal in overtime Friday and nearly collected another OT winner Saturday.

NAHL South Division standings

Oklahoma (36-7-1), 73 points

Lone Star (29-11-6), 64

New Mexico (27-17-3), 57

Shreveport (25-14-7), 57

Odessa (23-19-3), 49

Amarillo (23-19-3), 49

El Paso (13-28-4), 30

Corpus Christi (10-30-6), 26

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 15

Assists: Logan Heroux, Drake Morse, 23

Points: Morse, 36

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 72

Game-winning goals: Morse, Hayden Nichol, Logan Gotinsky, Jake Mack, 3

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.05

Save percentage: Bucheler, .918

Up next

Shreveport travels to Corpus Christi for a quick two-game roadie — Friday and Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

Contact Roy at

Cure for a down week: LIV’s return!

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

We have three professional golf tours in action this week, as LIV golf makes its 2023 debut. LIV availability can be hit and miss at the sportsbooks, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t find the numbers – we have plenty of bets to go around this week.

Coming this weekend: MLB futures! Check out Friday’s edition of Lang’s Locks.

Until then, good luck and enjoy. 


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers


Last week: -3 units

2023 season: +.55 units

2022 season: +101 units



The Honda Classic 

Win bet

Tyler Duncan, .1 units, +19900 (FD)

Top 20 bets

Erik Barnes, .5 units, +600 (CAE)

Kevin Roy, .3 units, +1200 (CAE)

Ryan Gerard, .2 units, +1800 (DK)

Trevor Cone, .2 units, +1200 (CAE, DK) 


Hero Indian Open 

Win bets

Garrick Porteous, .1 unit, +19900 (FD)

Aguri Iwasaki, .1 unit, +5450 (MGM)

Jeong Weon Ko, .1 unit, +9000 (DK)

David Ravetto, .1 unit, +9900 (FD)

Chase Hanna, .1 unit, +7050 (MGM)

Matthew Baldwin, .1 unit, +9900 (FD, MGM) 

Top 20 bets

Jeong Weon Ko, +1.8 units, +320 (DK)

Angel Hidalgo Portillo, .7 units, +410 (FD)

Andrew Wilson, .6 units, +400 (DK)

Daniel Hillier, .6 units, +450 (FD)

Bryce Easton, .5 units, +400 (MGM)

John Axelsen, .5 units, +650 (DK) 


Win bets

Sebastian Munoz, .3 units, +6550 (CAE)

Charles Howell III, .2 units, +4900 (CAE)

Danny Lee, .2 units, +9900 (DK) 

Top 10 bets

Brendan Steele, 2.5 units, +350 (CAE) 

Sebastian Munoz, 1.5 units, +350 (CAE)

Henrik Stenson, 1.4 units, +300 (CAE)

Pat Perez, 1.1 units, +650 (CAE)

Bubba Watson, 1 unit, +450 (BS/BR) 

Top 20 bets

Brendan Steele, 3.8 units, +110 (BS/BR)

Pat Perez, 1.2 units, +170 (BS/BR) 

Contact Roy at

Fatherhood, coaching dreams lead OC Sewell back to Haughton

The product of two doctor parents, Matthew Sewell determined his career path early in life. 

“I’ve never really wanted to do anything else,” he told The Journal. 

The road to Sewell’s professional life began at 17 years old, but it didn’t travel through medical school and he’s not Doogie Howser. The journey began – and now continues – on the gridiron at Harold E. Harlan Stadium in Haughton. 

Buccaneers’ head football coach Jason Brotherton recently announced he lured the now-26-year-old Sewell back between the pines to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator. 

There have been more significant hires during a busy 2023 offseason in the world of Northwest Louisiana high school football, but you could argue none are more meaningful. 

“Haughton football has been one of the most important things in my life,” said Sewell, who fills a void left by Kyle Wilkerson, a 27-year veteran at Haughton who remains on staff in a different capacity. 

The move wasn’t easy for Sewell, who left the same post at Parkway High after three years under head coach Coy Brotherton – Sewell’s best friend and Jason’s younger brother. 

“Coy has been my best friend since I was 18,” Sewell said. “He took a chance on me as an offensive coordinator when I was 22 years old, when he got his first head coaching job in 5A – that’s pretty crazy. That meant a lot to me. That made leaving even harder.” 

Two other factors, named (wife) Morgan and (7-week-old daughter) Olivia, made it a no-brainer. 

“Having a baby changed the way I thought about everything,” Sewell said. “Parkway is way out of the way of where I live and my family lives. Everything in our life is out (near Haughton). Mom (Leslie Barnes Sewell), Dad (Mike Sewell), Morgan’s parents, my brothers. It would be a strain (caring for the baby) working at Parkway.” 

In addition to the laundry list of family-related reasons, another major factor in Sewell’s decision is the future with the Buccaneers. Sewell dreams of leading the Bucs out of the tunnel on Friday nights in the fall. Not that he couldn’t get the job while at Parkway should Jason Brotherton ever decide to step down at Haughton, but Sewell believes it would be best to be as close as possible. 

“The guys at Haughton are my mentors and they are like family,” Sewell said. “The guys at Parkway are like my best friends.” 

Sewell, who began attending games at Haughton in 2000 to watch older brother Chris Barnes play, has played either baseball or football under 10 current Buccaneers coaches. 

“Any time you have former players that want to come back to your program it speaks well of the program,” Jason Brotherton said. “To get Matthew back at Haughton means a lot for our program, school, community, and to me personally. 

“Matthew is a bright young mind with lots of energy and also a man of high character. I told him the day he left for Parkway that I was going to try to get him back to Haughton one day, and we couldn’t be more excited to have finally made that happen.” 

Jason Brotherton will begin the 2023 season with two new, but familiar faces as coordinators (longtime Haughton assistant Josh O’Nishea was recently named the defensive coordinator). 

Sewell’s claim to fame as a Haughton football player is being a freshman teammate to senior Dak Prescott. His high school days were plagued by injuries – a torn ACL, a broken collarbone and ripped up shoulder. 

“That didn’t have anything to do with me not playing a whole lot,” Sewell joked. “I wasn’t good.” 

However, the injuries forced Sewell to spend a lot of time with Haughton’s football and baseball coaching staffs. That sparked a drive to become a coach. 

Following an injury-plagued football career at Haughton, Sewell caught on as a volunteer for Ruston football in 2014 while he attended Louisiana Tech. Rodney Guin, then Haughton’s head coach, welcomed his former player as a volunteer for the 2015 and 2016 campaigns. 

After he graduated from Louisiana Tech, Sewell took a paid position at Haughton under Jason Brotherton until Coy Brotherton “took a chance” on a 22-year-old coach. 

“I’m only 26, but this will be my 10th football season as a coach. I’ve coached in the Class 5A semifinals once and the quarterfinals twice,” Sewell said, “and we play in one of the toughest districts in Louisiana.” 

And Sewell’s parents? 

“Coaching is a very different lifestyle, but they never pressured me — they pushed me to do whatever I wanted to,” Matthew Sewell said. “However, I still didn’t tell my parents I wanted to be a coach until I was a senior in high school. They were very supportive, so that helped.” 

It didn’t take Sewell long to learn how to succeed in the game. 

“Make sure you’re surrounded by good football coaches,” Sewell said. “I’ve been fortunate with that. I’ve had that at Parkway. You need good people you can lean on and work together with. 

“And you also have to believe in what you believe in and do what you do.” 

Although he’s just in his mid-20s, it’s clear plenty of people believe in Matthew Sewell. 

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Final 20 minutes dooms Mudbugs’ dream weekend

GOOD SERIES BUT … : The Shreveport Mudbugs earned three of four points vs. Lone Star this weekend, but dropped a position in the NAHL South Division. (Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The North American Hockey League’s South Division doesn’t mess around. Thanks to Friday night’s shootout victory against rival Lone Star, the Shreveport Mudbugs moved within five points of the second-place Brahmas.

Less than 24 hours later, the Mudbugs owned a 2-1 third-period lead on the Brahmas, but were soon on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision. The loss dropped Shreveport into fourth place — the final playoff position — in the South.

“We need to be pissed off – we were in position to get a huge sweep and we didn’t finish the job,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “The boys have to be fired up for another great week of practice.”

Friday, Shreveport defenseman Maksim Sushchynski opened the scoring and a bittersweet weekend with a power-play goal in the first period. The Brahmas tied the game in the second period, but the Mudbugs scored twice in the shootout as goaltender Simon Bucheler made 23 saves in the victory.

Shreveport’s three-game win streak against the Brahmas ended the next night.

Shreveport tallied first again, thank to Logan Gotinsky. A second-period goal from Logan Heroux gave the Mudbugs a 2-1 lead, but Lone Star scored twice in the third period to earn a 3-2 decision.

“We just got outworked and outmuscled,” Campbell said. “We didn’t earn it. A lot of times you earn those bounces (to tie the game). We didn’t have enough grit.”

The teams close out the regular-season series with a doubleheader in Shreveport this weekend.

Notes: Maksim Sushchynski suffered a freak injury Saturday when he slipped on newly installed rubber in the locker room between periods. Campbell says his status for this weekend’s series is uncertain. Meanwhile, forward Brent Litchard, who missed the trip to North Richland Hills, Texas, is likely to return for the rematch at The George. 

Last week’s 3 Stars

  1. Simon Bucheler, earned his 18th victory of the season Friday, good for fourth-best in the NAHL.
  1. Maksim Sushchynski, collected his second goal of the season Friday before a freak injury knocked him out of Saturday’s contest.
  1. Logan Gotinsky, moved into a tie for second place on the team in goals with the first tally Saturday. 

NAHL South Division standings

Oklahoma (35-6-1), 71 points

Lone Star (28-10-5), 61

New Mexico (26-16-3), 55

Shreveport (24-14-6), 54

Amarillo (21-19-3), 45

Odessa (21-19-2), 44

El Paso (12-28-3), 27

Corpus Christi (10-29-5), 25

*top four make the playoffs 

Team leaders

Goals: Garrett Steele, 15

Assists: Logan Heroux, 23

Points: Drake Morse, 35

Penalty Minutes: Maksim Sushchynski, 72

Game-winning goals: Morse, Hayden Nichol, Logan Gotinsky, Jake Mack, 3

Goals-against average: Simon Bucheler, 2.10

Save percentage: Bucheler, .917

Up next

Shreveport completes the home-and-home series with Lone Star on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum on Friday and Saturday, 7:11 p.m.

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Points best form of payback for Mudbugs at Lone Star

(Photo courtesy Shreveport Mudbugs)

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports 

It doesn’t take much beyond the words “Mudbugs-Brahmas” to get the juices flowing.

The longtime rivals have battled for more than two decades, first as professional franchises and now at the junior level. The teams have combined to win three of the last five North American Hockey League championships. 

The next chapter in the rivalry is a two-game set in North Richland Hills, Texas, this weekend. The last meetings were very testy. You shouldn’t expect anything different at the NYTEX Sports Centre. While it won’t take much to get the blood boiling yet again, the priority remains accumulating points. 

Shreveport has done a fine job of that of late. The Mudbugs have five victories in six games and are fresh off a sweep of New Mexico to vault them into third place in the NAHL South. 

After a blazing start to the 2022-23 campaign, the Brahmas have struggled. Lone Star has lost seven of its past nine games and is just six points in front of Shreveport. 

The last time the teams met (Jan. 27-28), the Mudbugs exited George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum with a sweep. One member of the Brahmas told Shreveport: “Next time, we’ll be ready.” 

“There can definitely be carryover,” Mudbugs head coach Jason Campbell said. “It hasn’t been that long since we played them and we play them again next week. 

“Part of our game and part of their game is to be physical, but we have to be smart while doing it. There is a lot to play for. We still need to win hockey games, they need to win hockey games. It’s a tight race in the South Division. There is a lot of jockeying for position and sometimes that jockeying can put you out of the playoffs.” 

The Mudbugs have been led by, well, everyone of late. Shreveport has displayed impressive depth, especially up front, in the second half of the season. 

“It’s good to see everyone stepping up,” said forward Eric Vitale, who has 11 goals and 16 assists this season. “It’s all about opportunity. If you get it, you have to take advantage of it. Some guys don’t get as much ice as others, so when you step on it you have to give that 110 percent effort. To have that depth is good and it’s going to help us moving forward.” 

Nine Mudbugs have collected at least 20 points this season. Five players have at least 10 goals. 

Following the Friday and Saturday affairs, the teams will buckle up again in Shreveport next weekend. 

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Eagles lose, but not in our eyes; Tiger set to return

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Another week, another profit for The Locks.

Although we made money on the Super Bowl, loyal followers had to feel a little disappointed. We had Kenneth Gainwell as the game’s first touchdown scorer at 23-1 and an anytime touchdown scorer at +360. He nabbed the first touchdown of the game, but it was overturned by replay. That gave way to Jalen Hurts, who we also had in both aspects, but the 8-1 and +100 wasn’t quite as sweet.

Nevertheless, we cap another stellar football season in the green.

Speaking of, it’s all golf this week. The PGA Tour value was picked clean by the time Tuesday arrived. However, we shake things up with some props at Riviera. I won’t have an official pick on Tiger Woods, because “to miss the cut” is a staggering -200, but I don’t see how he makes the weekend.


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


DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

BR: BetRivers


Last week: +.82 units

2023 season: +3.55 units

2022 season: +101 units 



Genesis Invitational 

Top Englishman

Callum Tarren, .5 units, +2200 (DK) 

Top Canadian

Mackenzie Hughes, .3 units, +600 (DK) 


Thailand Classic 

Win bets

Joost Luiten, .1 unit, +8200 (FD) 

Top 20 bets

Jeong Weon Ko, .5 units, +550 (FD)

Jeremy Freiburghaus, .5 units, +2000 (FD)

Matthew Baldwin, .4 units, +550 (DK)

Simon Forsstrom, .3 units, +650 (DK)

Mikael Lindberg, .2 units, +1200 (FD)

John Axelsen, .2 units, +1400 (FD)

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Mahomes’ magic helps Minden’s Sneed collect first Super Bowl championship

Just prior to halftime of Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was barely able to make it off the field after he aggravated an ankle injury suffered in the AFC Championship Game. The Philadelphia Eagles soon kicked a field goal to build their lead to 24-14 at halftime. 

Things didn’t look good for the short-term future of the reigning NFL MVP, and it appeared a couple of trends would continue. A newly-crowned league MVP had not won the Super Bowl since 1999 and the team who’d won the coin toss hadn’t won the game in nearly a decade. 

Following the extended halftime break, Mahomes looked like … well, Mahomes. 

The 27-year-old threw a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, then engineered a game-winning drive in the final five minutes and the Chiefs rallied to defeat Philadelphia, 38-35, as Kansas City and Mahomes collected their second championship in four seasons. 

Former Minden star L’Jarius Sneed earned his first title. The Chiefs’ cornerback led the team with two passes defended and ranked third with seven tackles on Sunday. The former fourth-round draft pick was a rookie when the Chiefs lost to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl to end the 2020 campaign. 

“I learned a lot this year – tried to learned how to try to be a leader,” Sneed said during this Super Bowl week. 

The performance marked the Louisiana Tech product’s return from a concussion suffered against the Cincinnati Bengals early in the AFC title game. 

“I was sensitive to light the first few days, but I was fine after that,” Sneed said. 

Sneed dedicated this year’s Super Bowl run to his late brother, TQ Harrison, who was killed in Minden in December of 2021. 

“I think about him every day,” Sneed said. “He raised me.” 

The second former Bulldog in the game, Philadelphia running back Boston Scott, had four touches against Kansas City in his first appearance in the big game. 

Scott had three carries for eight yards and one reception from quarterback Jalen Hurts for nine yards. 

Another former Tech standout, Eagles defensive tackle Milton Williams, made one solo tackle. 

Former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was inactive for the Chiefs on Sunday, but the running back will pick up his first ring. Edwards-Helaire, out with an injury during the second half of this season, was Kansas City’s leading rusher when it lost to the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. 

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