Raiders have risen through the ranks to constant contenders

KAM CAN: Accomplished senior Kamron Evans will be looking for another outstanding year as Huntington quarterback.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Three straight playoff appearances. Two trips to the second round and with home playoff games. Sure, a lot of schools can make that claim. It’s a reasonable goal.

But for Huntington, it’s a little bit more than that.

“It’s taken us a while to build towards that,” said head coach Stephen Dennis. “When we look back and see where we have come from and where we are going, it’s something we are really proud of. That produces expectations.”

For the Raiders, these are expectations that they have set, even with the loss of a large group of starters from a year ago.

Dennis, in his sixth year as head coach of the Raiders, took over a program in 2017 that was 3-17 in the previous two seasons. He believes that part of the growth of the program has been the ability to learn on the job.

“One thing I learned pretty quick is that we had to do what it took to make Huntington successful,” he said. “We had to make the blueprint fit what Huntington needed. You couldn’t necessarily use the blueprint that worked at another school. That’s why we are able to meet the needs of our student-athletes as best we can and that is one of the major reasons for our success.”

It’s also nice to have a blueprint that has Kamron Evans in it. The senior quarterback is coming off a season in which he threw for 3,630 yards with 44 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Evans will attract a lot of attention during the season – both the high school season and recruiting season.

“Last year, he was the new kid who was waiting in the wings and now he’s the one who everybody is looking at,” Dennis said. “We are replacing a ton of skill players and we have some good ones coming up, so we are going to really lean on his experience and leadership to get those guys through playing their first varsity football games.”

Dennis expects to use a number of running backs, featuring senior Jamarion Mims, junior John Solomon (5-9, 171) and sophomore Nyles Hullaby. Mims moves back to offense from defensive back. Solomon started the playoff games last year as an injury replacement. Hullaby will be used as a power back.

At receiver, Huntington will need to replace three three-year starters, but Dennis is counting on a “very talented group of sophomores” to take their place. The group is led by Jarvis Davis “who is going to take a lot of people by surprise,” Dennis says. Senior Demarion Carter (5-6, 145) also brings some experience to the position.

On defense, Dennis is looking for the team speed to be a difference maker. “The speed on that side of the ball is very impressive,” he says.

Defensive end Nehemiah Barrett (6-2, 225) has moved over from offense and Dennis said, “I’m telling you he’s going to be an issue (for offenses) because he has the speed and the size.”

Senior nose tackle Brian Rodriguez (5-11, 268), who started as a freshman, and Jalen Butler will also anchor the defensive line.

Dylan Holmes headlines the linebacker corps and in the defensive backfield, Kamar Lewis (5-11, 158) plays a hybrid role at safety.  “He has the ability to play in the box and also cover the field; that’s hard to find in high school,” Dennis said.

Also in the backfield is sophomore Tyler Welch (6-2, 185), who is returning as a cornerback and had two interceptions in the playoffs.

The Raiders will open against Mansfield in the Battle on the Border and will play Byrd in Week 2, Class 4A semifinalist Neville in Week 3, before beginning the District 1-4A season against pre-season favorite Northwood.

“We will be successful if we take care of the little things,” Dennis said. “Every day. One week at a time. I really believe in that.”

Contact J.J. at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com


Northwood has talented duo at running back

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

One of this football season’s best duos for a run game, not only in Shreveport but also in all of Louisiana, will be Quintavion White and Fabian Sanders, both Northwood seniors in the Class of 2023.

White (6-0, 190) is the bigger of the two with power, speed and burst. He ran for 634 yards on 108 carries with eight touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns in 2021.

Sanders (5-9, 190) has power and speed — 4.48 in the 40 — and ran for 562 yards on 87 attempts in 2021.

“Quintavion is thunder and Fabian is lightning,” said head coach Austin Brown. “Both very passionate young men. Q is a solid running back who is very good in all three aspects of the position — running, blocking, and pass catching. Fabian is a home run threat with a knack for weaving in and out of traffic.”

Running backs coach Jaran Hall says the duo brings experience to the position.

“We are blessed to have a committee of running backs in the backfield this fall; White and Sanders will be able to provide a lot of veteran experience this year,” said Hall. “They have both come through in big moments last year. I like to call them ‘lightning and thunder.’ We know that Sanders can give a quick strike and White will bring the boom. Both of these kids are quick to point out that it starts with the big boys up front.”

Notes for Quintavion White: His favorite colleges are the University of Tennessee, Tennessee State, and the University of Texas in Austin. “I’ve always loved these programs and it’s not too close to home for me. I have an offer currently from Louisiana Christian in Pineville.”

In the classroom White currently has a 4.0 GPA and has posted an ACT score of 19.

White’s dad played high school basketball.

“I love hanging out with my football team because I already spend most of my toughest days with them and that’s where we built our closest bonds,” White said.

He attended the Louisiana Christian camp over the summer.

He plans on majoring in business in college.

Notes for Fabian Sanders: Plans for college are to “major in either kinesiology or engineering,” he said.

His hobbies: “I love to sing, cooking, and playing video games.”

His favorite college “would be LSU,” he said. “I like LSU because that’s the best college around with very good coaches.”

Sanders also runs track and plays baseball.

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Experienced Benton ready to make waves in 1-5A

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

It’s not common for a high school football team to see a three-year starter at quarterback, a two-year starter at running back, a record-breaking wide receiver and a reigning defensive MVP all return for another season.

There’s the reason Benton head coach Reynolds Moore can’t wait for the 2022 campaign to begin. 

If the Tigers can parlay a little luck filling a couple of holes along the line and their experience – as individuals and a program after three years in the state’s highest classification (Class 5A) – they could find themselves as a contender in District 1-5A.

“There is a lot of reason to be optimistic,” said Moore, whose bunch is coming off an eight-win season, including a first-round playoff victory against Hahnville.

Gray Walters returns for a third year under center. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior tossed 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions during the 2021 regular season.

Although Moore has witnessed every pass Walters has thrown for the Purple and Gold, his eyes were recently opened when a Walters highlight reel was produced.

“Sometimes when you’re around it every day, you don’t realize how good these guys are,” Moore said. “In 2022, I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to soak it up and enjoy this.”

Walters’ main weapon, Pearce Russell, broke a school record with more than 1,000 receiving yards in 2021 and posted double-digit touchdowns. If you think the 6-foot, 170-pounder Russell’s stats are hollow, think again.

“He may be the best football player I’ve ever coached,” Moore said. “He’s unbelievable.”

The running game, led by Greg Manning (13 TDs during the regular season), isn’t too shabby, either.

However, the offense isn’t without question marks. Moore admits losing a pair of guys – who combined for seven years of experience – on the right side of the line will be a challenge.

“As (the replacements) come along, we’re going to be a lot better than we can imagine,” Moore said.

Linebacker Zach Halbert, the Bossier Press Tribune’s reigning Defensive MVP, returns after a season where he amassed 73 tackles (including 13 for a loss and 4 ½ sacks), an interception return for a TD, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.

By the end of the Tigers’ Class 4A era, Moore believed the program was “as good as anyone” other than perennial powerhouses Edna Karr and Warren Easton.

Over the past three seasons, Moore has again seen the Tigers progress. In 2021, Benton captured its first wins (as a member of District 1-5A) against Airline and Haughton.

“We’re seeing the hope,” Moore said. “We can compete, but we’re still a bit away. We don’t feel really good about our depth (against the best).”

However, the star power the Tigers possess has the potential to mask any weaknesses.

They’ll be tested right away in one of the best Week 1 area matchups as they face highly-touted Northwood, a former 1-4A foe.

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Edwards next in long line of quality Shreve RBs

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

You see this many times in high school football: a Division I running back graduates and the next fall season, a new senior emerges with tons of talent who played in the shadows.

That’s the Class of 2023 senior Jayden Edwards from Captain Shreve.

Edwards ran for 484 yards in 2021 as a backup to a talented senior and averaged 6.4 yards per carry on 76 carries, which is very impressive.

This is someone who might easily run for over 1,000 yards or more in Class 5A football in 2022.

Watching him play against Union Parish in 2021, Edwards showed me 4.5 speed in the 40, great balance, a good burst and, most of all, a lot of power for someone under 190 pounds.

I can see many colleges adding Edwards’ name to their recruiting list during or after the season is over. It would not surprise me if he signs at the FBS or FCS level. He has the stuff to become a Division I starter.

Running backs coach Kendrick Law Sr. likes Edwards’ dedication to be as good as he can be.

“First and foremost, Jayden is a great character kid, which is what we expect out of our program,” said Law. “He works hard, he doesn’t complain, he is very dependable and positive. He will try his best to complete whatever task is set before him. He is very coachable.

“He is also a very good ‘total package’ running back. He has good speed, he can catch, he can make you miss, but he is also not afraid to drop his shoulder and get extra yardage. He has worked hard this spring and summer and this season should be his payday.”

“Some things I like most about football are the families you create with your teammates,” Edwards said. “It’s like having brothers you’ve never had. Also, (I love) the excitement from being on the field when those Friday night lights come on.”

Notes on Jayden Edwards: In the classroom he has a current GPA of 4.1 and has posted an ACT score of 19.

Edwards’ favorite colleges are LSU, TCU and Southern. “I like LSU because I grew up around a majority of the LSU fans in all sports. I like TCU and Southern, not only for their athletic programs but because these schools have a really good business/real estate program.”

His plans for college: “I would like to major in business and real estate. I chose these two majors because this will ensure job security as there will always be people looking for places to live. Having this career will also open up opportunities for me to help more and more people.”

“My hobbies are working out, spending time with my family and traveling.”

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Magnolia hoping to turn things around in Year 4

FOCUSED ON THE TASK: Magnolia head coach Toriano Williams (right) has a group of kids who are eager to learn everything they can about the game before the start of the Mariners’ fourth year playing football.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

“Sometimes, you’ve gotta believe that ignorance is bliss.”

Toriano Williams is taking that approach as he readies his young players for the start of the 2022 high school football season. He might just be on to something.

When Williams and his coaches were walking through the halls of Magnolia School of Excellence last spring in an attempt to recruit boys for the team, they may not have been very successful if they had explained the history of the Mariners’ football program.

After just three years in existence, Magnolia has a 2-26 overall record – going 0-10 in 2019, 1-6 in 2022, and 1-10 in 2021. Yes, the Mariners went to the District 1A playoffs last year, but that was as a 1-9 team – yes, the playoffs with one victory.

Try telling them that the Mariners were outscored by their opponents 596-106 last season and the young men probably wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to join the team.

Then add the fact that the 2022 schedule includes three non-district opponents that won eight or more regular-season games and two of them won state championships last season. Oh, and when you get to district play, you’ll be facing defending state Class A champion Homer, state semifinalist Haynesville, Glenbrook, Plain Dealing, and Arcadia.

But that is not the approach Williams is taking. Instead of talking about the difficulties the Mariners are facing, the second-year head coach is concentrating on building a team with young men who are eager to learn the game and represent Magnolia.

“We’re young,” says Williams. “We have three seniors, and just one of them has played football more than two years. The rest are 8th-, 9th-, 10th– and 11th-graders.”

The Magnolia coaches were able to recruit some new guys to join the one veteran senior and underclassmen, and they are pleased with the effort they have seen so far.

“This summer took care of itself,” says Williams. “That’s where the hope comes from. They’re giving us everything we’re asking for. These guys are excited – regardless of how the season turns out.”

Williams is quick to point out that the excitement is not just coming from the players.

“We have a great staff,” he says, naming Husher Calhoun (former Woodlawn, Fair Park, and Northwood coach) and Anthony Brown (Bossier) as additions to the Mariners’ staff. “We can build the team up now because we’re more consistent with our staff. We’re more experienced.”

When the Mariners returned from their first-round playoff loss last season (52-12 at Basile), that’s when the coaches began recruiting the hallways at Magnolia.

“We got in the playoffs with a 1-9 record, and we were fortunate to get in,” says Williams. “But we didn’t earn it. When we came back from the playoff game, we said, ‘This will not happen to us again.’ We’re going to be stronger, bigger, faster – and our knowledge of the game will be better.”

Leading the way for the Mariners this season will be senior wide receiver/linebacker Deandre Johnson (6-1, 205), junior quarterback Mark Mccray (5-11, 225), senior tight end/defensive end/linebacker Terrell Williams (6-3, 205), and freshman center Zindreck Simpson (6-3, 270).

“Deandre moves really well,” says Williams. “Mark is in his third year in the program and his second year as a starter. He has grown leaps and bounds.”

And while Simpson is just a freshman, he has started for the Mariners since the eighth grade.

“We tell the guys, ‘We’re not asking you to be perfect. Just give us the perfect effort that you can give us,’” says Williams, who knows that success cannot always be measured in the “win” column.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

Photo by HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD


Bossier LB Johnson has college upside

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

One of the best seasons for a high school linebacker in Louisiana in 2021 was provided  by Bossier’s Christian Johnson. He led his team with 79 tackles, 18 tackles for losses, six sacks, one interception and one blocked punt.

Johnson did all this weighing 190 pounds at 6-0. He goes into the 2022 season bigger at 6-1 and 205 pounds, and faster with 4.65-or-better speed in the 40.

If you’re a college coach, you have to think outside the box some in recruiting him because he plays basically defensive end up on the line — that’s where the team needs him. But I think he’s a legit true outside linebacker for college and one big-time hidden gem with his speed, toughness and size now to be a special recruit in 2022 for many FBS or FCS colleges.

Bossier linebackers’ coach Rahkeem Mitchell thinks Johnson will be a key player for the Bearkats’ defense in 2022.

“Johnson has a great motor on the field that allows him to make plays,” said Mitchell. “He has enough speed to secure the outside and enough toughness to fill the inside. He will be a key player for us this upcoming season.”

“Very exciting young man to watch play with a very high motor,” said head coach De’Aumante Johnson. “He’s that guy you can put all over the field to make a play for you.”

Johnson loves playing football and being with his teammates.

“What I love about football is the competitiveness and the drive to impress my coaches,” said Johnson. “I just love the excitement of making that big play and on the other hand, I love the brotherhood of our team. You never feel left out of anything.”

Notes on Christian Johnson:  Johnson’s thoughts on a major in college: “I would love to major in law but with the strain and time with football, I won’t have the proper time management, so realistically it would be computer science.”

He carries a 2.8 GPA and has an ACT score of 19.

“I love to build fences with my uncle,” said Johnson when asked about his hobbies. “I like spending the time with him and learning things that could help me in future situations, and just watching the fence come together is one of those good things to know.”

About summer camps: “I went to one camp over the break and that was Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.”

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Airline: Good expectations on Viking Drive

REBOUND AND RAID: Airline’s Vikings flushed a dismal 2021 and have ‘plenty of potential to be pretty good this year.’ 

By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports

Airline football coach Justin Scogin and wife Bonnie are expecting their second child, another boy, in January.

Oh, if predicting football seasons were only that “easy.” Precisely what to expect the Vikings to deliver this fall is a different ballgame.

A program that made the state quarterfinals in 2017 and 2019 saw everything go wrong last season on the way to a single win in 10 games. Injuries early. Couple of tough September losses.

“Then all of a sudden you’re playing in one of the best 5A districts in the state and you lose a couple early, morale is down and it’s hard to bounce back sometimes,” said Scogin. “I’ve been there.”

But not last year. Scogin was in Leesville for the past five seasons, and each year the Wampus Cats won at least one playoff game. Is that kind of ending too much to hope for this fall on Viking Drive?

“We have the right kind of kids, a good core nucleus that’s willing to push through and work hard,” Scogin said. “There’s no reason to harp on (last season). We can use it as a lesson to build off failures, to learn from them. But regardless of last year’s record, we have plenty of potential to be pretty good this year.”

The Vikings have the numbers: they’ll dress around 90 and have 110 on the roster, so “want-to” is not an issue.

Junior Preston Doerner and sophomore Ben Taylor remain locked in a battle to start at quarterback. Junior Ladarius Epps, in the QB mix in the spring, will be at safety.

Airline has “moved some guys around” on the offensive line, Scogin said, and have some “really good returners there,” led by senior guard Reid Hawsey, one of five projected senior starters along with guard Hunter Howard, tackles Jackson Warren and Artis James, and center Hunter Kendrick.

The 1-2 punch at receiver is Cameron Jefferson and Daxton Chavez, both projected as Division I players. Chavez, 6-4, 198, has “everything you look for in a D1 receiver,” Scogin said, “and Cam (6-0, 185) is a 4.5 slot or safety at the next level; he’s probably the best overall guy on the team.”

The Vikings also have what Scogin thinks are “two of the better corners in the area” in senior Chris Montgomery and junior Jeremiah Boudreaux.

A couple of other things Scogin feels he can safely predict? “Watch for kids playing hard for each other,” he said, “and doing the right things all the time.”

The Vikings will be tested early and often. Before beginning what’s always demanding district play, Airline will face two of the state’s better 4A teams in North Desoto and Northwood, and sandwiched between that pair of games is a matchup with arguably the best team in 3A, Union Parish — a testy trifecta for any team.

“That,” Scogin said, semi-laughing at the obvious understatement, “will get us ready to go.”  

 Contact Teddy at Teddy@LaTech.edu

Photo by TEDDY ALLEN


A day that (still) lives in infamy

By the time you read this, I will already have received at least two or three texts.

How do I know? Because this is August 12. I always receive texts from a certain group of people on August 12.

We share the same memories of this day, which is inexorably etched in our minds (and, all these years later, perhaps still in our bodies).

The texts will begin with “Remember when …” or “I still …” or “It’s hard to believe …” and will go from there.

We all know August 12 because we can’t forget August 12.

Way back when, August 12 was the day that high school football practice started. And not just one practice – it was the start of two-a-days.

Our group of former team members will text each other on special days during the year – Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter … and August 12. And while the old “war stories” are fun, the bigger part is the bond that still exists all these decades later. It’s not just the former players; a couple of our coaches also join in. (Thankfully none of them are yelling at us to “do it again until we get it right!”)

To be honest, what we went through at the start of summer practice really didn’t resemble football. There was a lot of rolling around in the dew-filled grass, jumping jacks, sprints, getting hit by hand-held padded dummies and more sprints. Every once in a while, an actual football would appear.

Then we’d come back and do it again in the afternoon. Fun times!

You can’t do two-a-days anymore because school has started by now. But even if you could, the authorities would probably be slapping the cuffs on high school coaches for mistreatment of minors.

It was around August 11 when we all realized that maybe we should have gotten in better shape in the previous three months instead of hanging out at the lake or working on our suntan.

Every year on the morning of August 12 in my high school football years, I would walk into the locker room with the same thought college basketball teams have during March Madness — survive and advance. Get through this practice and get one step closer to the finish line.

You could forget about any kind of break from the weather. I actually looked it up — between August 12 and the 29th in my senior year, it rained exactly .04 inches — total.

It was always a tough call whether morning or afternoon practice was more miserable. Morning was sticky and humid; afternoon was Equator Hot. I would stand on the practice field and calculate how long it would take the sun to get behind the nearby nine-story United Gas building. That might drop the temperature from 100 degrees all the way down to 97, huh?

Even worse, if possible, was the smell of mesh practice shirts with dried sweat on them in the locker room. That is an odor I can still smell to this day.

Unless you lived through it, you can’t possibly imagine the dread of waking up on the morning of August 12. There are a lot of things I have feared going through in my lifetime and I can promise you that August 12 is still at the top of the list.

But the dread was only temporary. We didn’t realize it at the time, but those two weeks of hell did so much more than just get us in condition for the upcoming high school football season.

I know that, because I just got another text.

Contact J.J. at JohnJamesMarshall@yahoo.com


Postseason success the standard to meet at Calvary

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Rodney Guin’s resume is stout. His program at Haughton was excellent for two decades and included a deep playoff run by a guy named Dak Prescott. When Guin crossed the river and entered the private school sector, he won a state title at Calvary Baptist.

He doesn’t need much help when it comes to leading a group of young men in pursuit of a ring, but a winning culture sure doesn’t hurt.

“It’s a big deal,” Guin said. “The (players) expect to win.”

In just about every sport, the Calvary Cavaliers not only hope to win a state championship, they expect it. Football is no different. Guin helped continue and enhance that mindset with the 2020 state crown.

Guin, and consequently the players, also take pride in Calvary’s annual choice to play the biggest and the best non-district opponents early in the season.

Calvary opens the regular season against perennial state title contender Logansport before a matchup with 5A Captain Shreve in Week 2. The Cavaliers have a date with the other member of the city’s most intense rivalry, Byrd, in Week 3.

If the Cavaliers take their lumps early, it’s for one reason only.

“Our season starts the second week of November – that’s what we’re geared up for,” Guin said. “Everything else is like preseason.”

The Cavaliers, who moved up to Division III in the LHSAA’s Select classification, aren’t without question marks in 2022. They have big shoes to fill at quarterback — the position many value as the most important in the sport.

Gone is Landry Lyddy, the state’s reigning Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year. His replacement? That’s to be determined.

Two players — junior Bryce Carpenter and sophomore Abram Wardell — are deep into the competition to be the No. 1 guy.

“We’re going to have to see them in the jamboree and scrimmage,” Guin said. “We have OCS and Union Parish. They will be well-tested early.”

The good news, Guin is geeked about the rest of the squad.

“We can be really good on defense, and we’re going to have to be,” he said. “It’s very important and I’m very pleased what they’ve been doing. And our skill guys and our lines are as good as we’ve had since I’ve been there. We just have to get that quarterback position ironed out.”

Senior linebacker Cade Bedgood and safeties Hutch Grace (junior) and Landon Sylvie (senior) are expected to lead the Cavs’ stout defense.

“We have some athletes and we are excited to see them run around,” Guin said.

No matter who emerges behind center, it’s clear, once again, the Cavaliers’ talent and that ring-or-bust mentality are going to be tough to handle come November.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Calvary back in District 1-2A for 2022 football season

Calvary’s Grace is a divine talent

Calvary, Evangel head list of district, state champions since 2012

Calvary, Byrd top SBJ list of wins over past decade


Bedgood is ‘heart and soul’ of Cavaliers’ defense 

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

Calvary Baptist has had its share of great FBS football players come through its program over the years like quarterback Shea Patterson (Michigan), cornerback Greedy Williams (LSU), cornerback-athlete Brandon Wilson (Houston), cornerback Rodarius Williams (Oklahoma State), and most recently quarterback Landry Lyddy (Louisiana Tech).

Then you have sleeper players over the years, a longer list. The latest addition: Calvary’s three-year starting linebacker Cade Bedgood, an upcoming senior, who is the heart and soul of the defense for another talented Calvary team in 2022.

Players like Bedgood are the reason high school football in Louisiana is such a great sport with guys who play the game 100 percent and play every play with passion and determination.

Bedgood has amassed over 140 tackles (51 solo), eight sacks and four caused fumbles for his program since 2020.

I hope Bedgood gets an opportunity to play football at a small college when it’s all said and done. This is someone who runs at a “football speed” colleges are looking for at the Division III and Division II level.

Even though he’s not very big at 5-11 and 200 pounds at linebacker, he has room to grow and play a few spots in college at linebacker, safety or fullback for many small colleges and could be a very productive player in time if given a shot at an FCS college like a Northwestern State, Grambling, Southeastern, McNeese State or Nicholls.

Linebackers coach Cade Maxwell likes Bedgood’s enthusiasm.

“Cade Bedgood is the definition of toughness,” said Maxwell. “Cade has been through a lot since his time here at Calvary Baptist Academy. Can’t say enough about how fun and enthusiastic he is every day, whether in the weight room or on the field; he works his tail off and does everything the right way. He also epitomizes the way we want to play defense here at Calvary Baptist Academy, with grit, relentless effort, and selflessness.”

Bedgood likes everything about playing football.

“I love football because I love the excitement it gives me walking on the field together with my teammates and coaches, the sacrifices, and all the hard work that goes into the game,” said Bedgood. “I have been playing football since I was 6 years old. From playing in the back yard to playing under the Friday night lights, it doesn’t get much better.”

NOTES ON CADE BEDGOOD:  Away from football, he is an avid outdoorsman. “The reason I like duck hunting is because there is nothing like watching the sun rise and seeing a bunch of mallards flying in. Laughing and joking around with the guys in the duck blinds.

“I love fishing, whether it’s bream, catfishing, running yo-yos, running trot lines with my mom and (brother) Cole, to bass fishing and deep-sea fishing with family and friends. I also like to fish by myself because it gives me time to relax and unwind.”

His dad (Michael) played football (linebacker, running back) for St. Mary’s in Natchitoches and also participated in track and field (high jump and 4×100 meters). He also played for Northwestern State in track and field (pole vault and javelin) and football as a linebacker.

“My brother Cole Bedgood played football (linebacker) and wrestled at Calvary Baptist Academy.”

Bedgood scored a 21 on his ACT and carries a 3.24 GPA.

His favorite colleges are Louisiana Tech, ULM and Northwestern State.

I plan on majoring in criminal justice, and after college I’m going to be a game warden,” said Bedgood.

GET YOUR ORDER IN:  For previews of every Louisiana high school and college football team, info on the state’s top senior prospects, and more, you can pre-order the 2022 Louisiana Football Magazine at LaFootballMagazine.com – offering North Louisiana and South Louisiana editions, printed or digital.

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Byrd’s Ball still holds local record for single-game rush yards

By LEE HILLER, Journal Sports

Charles Ball isn’t a name you will find splashed all over the C.E. Byrd High School football record book, but he still holds the single-game rushing record for the Shreveport-Bossier Journal coverage area.

His 407 yards on 24 carries against Huntington in 1990 is the only time a Caddo-Bossier running back has surpassed the 400-yard mark in a game. It came on a Thursday night at now Lee Hedges Stadium and was Homecoming for the Jackets. He scored all five of Byrd’s touchdowns in a 34-14 win. Four of those came on the ground with the last TD of the game coming on a 64-yard screen pass.

According to correspondent Chuck Herron, who covered the game for The (Shreveport) Times, Ball believed in two good things: the good Lord and good offensive linemen. “This was fun,” Ball told Herron. “People were coming up to me at school today and saying I was going to get over 400 (yards). I just asked the Lord at halftime to help me get through the game.”

Ball, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior, led District 1-AAAA with 1,101 yards that season.

The closest anyone has come to the record was in 2006 when Jeremy Jefferson of Booker T. Washington ran for 393 yards on 42 carries against Fair Park in a 46-7 win. Jefferson, who played collegiately at Northwestern State, scored three touchdowns and added a couple of 2-point conversions as he set the career scoring mark in Shreveport-Bossier City. His rushing total surpassed his own previous school record set the year before of 351 yards against Woodlawn (45 carries).

Bossier star and future LSU standout Tony Moss had the second-best game at the time of Ball’s feat. Moss totaled 361 yards against Airline in 1984 on 36 carries. Moss’s son Anthony Moss broke the 300-yard mark in 2001 with 323 yards against Natchitoches Central on a mere 10 carries to become the only father-son combination with more than 300 yards.

Richard Gay had the previous Byrd school record with 353 yards on 31 carries against Springhill in 1954. His total was the most for 30 years when Moss surpassed it in 1984.

Top 10 all-time single-game rushing performances:

407              Charles Ball                       Byrd, vs. Huntington, 1990 (24 carries)

393              Jeremy Jefferson            BTW, vs. Fair Park, 2006 (42 carries)

361              Tony Moss                       Bossier, vs. Airline, 1984 (36 carries)

353              Richard Gay                     Byrd, vs. Springhill, 1954 (31 carries)

351              Jeremy Jefferson            BTW, vs. Woodlawn, 2005 (45 carries)

344              Stevarrio Hogan             Bossier, vs. Mansfield, 2005 (22 carries)

343              Bo Wheatley                   Benton, vs. North Caddo, 1994 (34 carries)

342              Jalin Thomas                   Byrd vs. Parkway, 2017 (27 carries)

323              Anthony Moss                Airline, vs. Natchitoches, 2001 (10 carries)

323              Brandon Nightingale     Byrd, vs. Evangel, 2000 (21 carries)

Contact Lee Hiller at lee.hiller51@gmail.com


Cash in for $250 picking local high school winners

JOURNAL STAFF

While readers of the Shreveport-Bossier Journal will enjoy comprehensive, quality daily coverage this football season, they can profit from reading it.

The Journal is launching a weekly High School Football Pickem Contest, giving anyone the chance to win a $250 prize as that week’s top predictor of local prep football games.

The contests will be conducted weekly during the 10-game high school football season. There is no entry charge, just like there is no cost to subscribe to the Shreveport-Bossier Journal.

Participation is very simple for anyone able to access this link:

https://tinyurl.com/SBJPIckem

The Pickem portal opens to a menu of game-by-game matchups, with an easy click to pick winning teams for each contest. Two local games will be used as tiebreakers, with participants predicting the total points scored in those games.

It takes 20-30 seconds to sign up and not much longer than that to make your picks.

Entries are open now for the first week’s contest picking the winners from local games on Sept. 1 and 2. The entries will remain open until 4 p.m. on the first playing date that week (usually Thursday).

One person will win each week’s $250 prize, to be announced in the Journal early the following week as the subsequent Pickem Contest launches. All contest decisions by SBJ management are final.

Every participant will receive a FREE subscription to the Journal, if you’re not already signed up for the easily-navigated, convenient 6:55 a.m. daily e-mail.

A panel of Journal writers and local celebrities will also pick the games each week, but won’t be eligible to win the cash prize. Their individual picks will NOT be publicized, just the week’s final win-loss results and the season’s record for each picker.

The Journal is shifting to publishing all seven days of each week during the football season, providing thorough coverage of local high school sports, along with colleges of local interest (featuring LSU, Grambling, Northwestern and Louisiana Tech) and the NFL, focusing on the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys.

Enjoy it all, for FREE, and enter each week’s contest. You could collect $250!


‘New’ Southwood focusing on physical, mental toughness

TAKING CHARGE: Southwood coach Jesse Esters says Corinthian Walters (front right) has gained a lot of ground as leader of the Cowboys, who are looking to improve on last season’s disappointing record.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

Corinthian Walters and Sean White stood in the middle of the practice field at Southwood High School just as the sun was coming up one morning this week when the two seniors were asked about goals for the Cowboys this season.

“We’re gonna play the way we practice,” said White, a 6-1, 260-pound offensive lineman, “and we practice hard. We’re going to prove people wrong about us. We’re going to show them a new Southwood.”

Walters, an incredible talent (6-1, 200) who will be used all over the field – quarterback, running back, wide receiver, defensive back, and linebacker – was a little more specific.

“Our goal is (to get to) the playoffs,” he said.

Meeting that goal would mean a turnaround of enormous proportions since Southwood is coming off an 0-10 season (including a forfeit to Captain Shreve in the fourth game because of Covid issues on the team).

It is evident these two guys believe that can be done. And, given the effort and excitement shown by both the players and coaches during this early morning practice, that feeling seems to be contagious.

Excitement, yes. But also realism.

“With our schedule, there are no easy roads,” said Jesse Esters, who is starting his third season as Southwood head coach. “Green Oaks (Sept. 2) has made improvements, Woodlawn (Sept. 9) beat us last year and will be looking to do it again, and Carroll (Sept. 16) is a tough Monroe team that has put together a good staff with young, quality coaches.”

Following those three season-opening games, the Cowboys will enter District 1-5A play against Natchitoches Central, Haughton, Parkway, Benton, Shreve, Byrd, and Airline.

“Every week is a fight for us,” said Esters. “The question is: once we experience success, can we maintain it?”

The Cowboys, who will be fielding 25 seniors and 32 juniors this season, are returning everyone on offense except one tailback. In addition to Walters and White, the strong cast of seniors includes defensive lineman Jaydan Stevenson (6-0, 280), defensive back Harold Mitchell (5-11, 180), wide receiver Javien Markray, and defensive back/wide receiver Corinthian Nicholson (6-2, 175).

The key to success for Southwood, according to Esters, is two-fold.

“First, we have to physically improve,” he said. “We have to get bigger, faster, stronger. Then we have to develop mentally, to have an attitude change. We have to develop good habits that define a winning team.”

To that end, the Cowboys have spent the summer concentrating on conditioning.

“Out of the 49 weekdays we were out of school (this summer), 47 of those were dedicated to strength conditioning and working out,” said Esters. “And 20 out of 25 players made it 40 days or better. That speaks to the character of the group we have.”

Taking advantage of the opportunity, Walters participated in all but one of the days (46 out of 47).

“The one day he missed, he overslept,” Esters said of Walters. “He showed up about 20 minutes late, but I didn’t let him stay. That was part of getting the picture – learning what you have to do to develop winning habits.”

“Corinthian has gained a lot of ground as a leader. He participated in powerlifting and ran track to get in better shape. He can play anywhere. He has the skills to play corner; recruiters who have seen him play say he would probably play safety.”

While Esters sees improvement throughout his squad, he says the Cowboys “still have a way to go.”

“The criticisms about the past are deserved, but that is in the past,” he said. “I’ll tell you this: nobody in Shreveport works like we work.”

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 Photo by HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD

Southwood replaces two non-district opponents

Southwood LB Walters has next-level talent

Southwood’s Stevenson likely a force up front this fall

Southwood has a late bloomer in Markray

Southwood DBs Mitchell, Nicholson back strong after missing junior seasons


Airline’s Epps ‘athletic +’ at LB

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

I went to an Airline game in 2019 and saw a 5-7, 175-pound freshman come down on special teams and just fly through and make plays. I remember asking the coach on the sideline what grade this kid was, because I did not have a roster and he said, ‘’a freshman.’’ I said, “No way! Kid can play some football.”

Speed up to the present and that little “kid” is Justin Epps, a three-year starter and team leader, and now he’s in the let’s say “5-9, 200 pounds of muscle and jet speed” on the field as a football player. Also, about to become a rare four-year letterman in Class 5A football.

I really mean this: seems like I have seen him play now for like six years. He is a tackling machine and doesn’t know the phrase “half speed” as he’s all full throttle on the field. He’s the kind of player when you watch film, you tell your running backs and wide receivers to go the other direction to stay away from him because he’s going to make the tackle if you come in his area of the field. I love this kid’s game. I think he’s a Division II star or Division III steal. He could go FCS as a walk-on who would end up starting over bigger kids in the end because he can run and plays the game tough, intense and fast. Love his 4.6 speed, and he looks faster in uniform. Plus, he’s strong in pads.

Another reason he’s a steal and sleeper: because of an injury, he played in only three games in 2021 and had 13 tackles and one forced fumble.

Airline head coach Justin Scogin says Epps’ athleticism sets him apart from others. 

“Justin is a selfless player that always does the right thing,” said Scogin. “He’s been injured in the offseason and has never missed a workout or any team activity. Justin is a physical player that can fill the hole or be solid dropping into coverage. His athleticism sets him apart and will continue to pay dividends at the next level for him.”

“What I love most about the game of football is the life lessons that can be learned while playing and the competition,” said Epps.

His list of favorite colleges is LSU, Jackson State and Southern. “I’ve been an LSU fan since the age of 6. Jackson State is a favorite of mine because of the culture and history there. A lot of my family went to school at Southern University in Baton Rouge.”

Notes on Justin Epps: In the classroom he has a 3.1 GPA and a score of 19 on his ACT.

Football and family: “My dad, Justin Epps Sr., played football in high school at Northwood and his positions were fullback and linebacker. My uncle, Myron Epps, played football at Northwood also and he played wingback and safety.”

Hobbies are working out, hanging out with friends and swimming.

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Green Oaks ready for changes in upcoming season

NEW SEASON, NEW DISTRICT: With just three opponents remaining on their schedule from last season, the Green Oaks Giants will be lining up against some new teams this season.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

Green Oaks head coach Chadwick Lewis wasn’t surprised when the Giants were moved down to District 1-2A this season after reclassification by the LHSAA. Actually, it was something he saw coming.

“We kind of knew we would reclassify,” says Lewis, who is entering his second season as head coach. “Our numbers have dropped. We were able to play up the past few years and it worked out for us.”

You’ve heard it said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sometimes, they actually change quite a bit.

First, the Giants’ schedule looks quite different as the only teams remaining on the schedule from last season are Carroll (Monroe), former 1-3A opponent Loyola, and long-time rival Booker T. Washington – who Green Oaks will play in the annual “Soul Bowl” on Sept. 17.

“Our schedule is kind of heavy those first five (non-district) games,” says Lewis. “We’ll be going up against mostly 4(A) and 5A teams. We should be able to compete. That will get us ready for district.”

That’s the next change for the Giants, who will now be in the district with Calvary Baptist (which moved up to 1-2A), D’Arbonne Woods, Lakeside, Loyola (which moved down to 1-2A), and North Caddo.

What will remain the same for Green Oaks this year will be youth. “We’re going to be young,” says Lewis. “Last year we only had seven seniors – we played a lot of freshmen and sophomores. And we’ve got only seven seniors this year.”

One of those seniors is 6-foot-1, 265-pound Kashaun Green, who will play all over the defensive line for the Giants. “In the four-man front, he’ll play tackle,” says Lewis, “and in the three-man front, he’ll play on the end.”

Green, who Lewis calls “one of our top guys,” will also play on the offensive line this season – a move that will hopefully create some big holes for the Giants’ running backs.

“We’re going to be running back by committee,” says Lewis. “We’re hoping that Christopher Hicks (5-4, 145, junior) comes out and makes that jump for us.”

Top wide receiver Delarrious Marshall will also see playing time at running back. “He’s pretty much our ‘do everything kid,’” Lewis says of the 5-8, 165-pound junior who has already received his first offer to play college ball. “He’ll play in the slot, on the outside and he is one of our top defensive backs.”

Lewis is hoping quarterback Tovoras Lee, who started as a freshman last year, continues to show improvement. “He’s still a year away from being ‘that guy,’” says Lewis, “but he’s more settled and is making better reads.”  

So, what will it take for the Giants to be successful this season? According to Lewis, that requires three things – listening, focusing, and remaining disciplined. Yes, they want to improve on last season’s 1-9 record.

“But it’s more so about making sure we’re competing every single game,” he says.

And that’s when things can really change.

Contact Harriet at sbjharriet@gmail.com

Photo courtesy of Green Oaks HS

Green Oaks sports a mostly new slate for 2022 football season

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Don’t sleep on these talented local WRs 


Captain Shreve’s Scotty Simo: Just a football player 

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

I remember watching the Captain Shreve football team in 2020 and seeing a number of Division I prospects in person as I was on the field during pregame warmups. There was Kendrick Law Jr., who signed with Alabama, and others. There was one young player who got my attention, and his name was Scotty Simo. All he did was make plays and play the game as it’s supposed to be played: one speed, full throttle.

I did not think of him two years ago as an FCS or Division II or D-III player. It just caught my attention to keep an eye on him for later on. So here we are two years later and he’s one of the top leaders for the Gators. He’s grown to 5-10, 195, and he is still that full-throttle guy. I was very impressed in 2021 when watching a game where Simo had several solo tackles on a great Class of 2023 running back by the name of Trey Holly of Union Parish, who you might have heard of since he has a chance this fall to break the record for yards in a career for a Louisiana running back – and he’s an LSU commitment.

So does Simo have FBS or FCS size? No, but what he has you can’t coach. He’s a “football player,” and there’s a place for players like this in college. He would be a big-time Division II linebacker with just a little more weight (200-plus), and for a Division III team, he’d be a steal. If he walked on to an FCS program, he’d be the type of player who would start within two years. If he decided to walk on at an FBS program, he would be a leader in the locker room, on the team, and play special teams within a year or two.

Linebacker coach Chip Kendall sees Simo making a smooth transition to inside linebacker.

“Scotty Simo was first team all-district as the defensive flex player last year, which perfectly describes how he worked in our defense,” Kendall said. “Simo was our outside linebacker, which is probably the most important position in our defense. He had to be able to step up on the line and set the edge in some calls, and at other times he had to cover a slot-wide receiver like a defensive back.

“Scotty did these things so well, he was recognized on the all-district team,” Kendall said. “During this past offseason, Scotty got stronger and gained some weight. This will be a transition year for Simo; with our losses at middle linebacker to graduation, we decided to move him inside, and he has picked it up quickly. His reads on defense and knowledge of our calls have been outstanding. He’s a leader; he lets guys know when they need to step up. His work ethic on the field carries over to the classroom. I don’t have to worry if he’s taking care of his grades or if he’s a discipline problem. We will be expecting a lot out of Scotty; he knows this and he embraces it. I’m looking forward to seeing his hard work pay off this season.”

Simo says he likes playing linebacker because of the leadership role that comes with it.

“What I enjoy most about football, apart from being a linebacker and getting to hit people, is the leader role that comes with being the QB of the defense,” said Simo. “While it does bring more pressure, I like that. I love my teammates knowing I’m the guy to come to if they are confused about anything. I like knowing, no matter the call, what all 11 starters’ jobs are on any given play. Football isn’t just about physicality; it’s a game of wits and if you’re not doing your job every play, then that will lead to a score. So making sure we are all in sync is my job.”

Notes on Scotty Simo: He recorded 52 tackles, 7 1/2 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one safety and a pass deflection last fall.

Simo on his hobbies: “ I enjoy hoops with my friends whenever we are all free, playing video games such as 2K or Call of Duty, and walking or playing with my dog.”

On family and football: “My dad Scotty Simo Sr. and my uncle Jonathan Simo both still hold a lot of records at Loyola Prep. My dad only played his senior year, though, and my uncle played all throughout high school.”

In the classroom he has a GPA of 4.1 and ACT score of 22.

Thoughts on his favorite colleges: “LSU. I grew up watching them and being surrounded by LSU fans. Texas Tech for no real reason; they just have a nice football program. Louisiana Tech has a nice football program and I’ve been to their campus before.”

He would like to major in physical therapy. “I had a knee injury during the spring, which led to me going to physical therapy this whole summer. Before, I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, but this has brought a lot of interest in physical therapy to me.”

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Johnson’s Bearkats won’t shy away from lofty expectations

Sophomore Quintarion Scott (at left) didn’t play football last season, but he’s earned the starting quarterback job since joining coach DeAumante Johnson’s second Bossier HS team for spring practice.

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

It’s year No. 2 of the DeAumante Johnson era on Bearkat Drive, and while Bossier High School will move up from Class 3A to 4A in 2022, Johnson’s expectations for his football team remain the same.

“Nothing has changed,” Johnson said. “The mindset will always be to win a state championship. I told our guys that when the level of competition rises, we rise with it. That’s why we push them every single day. We aren’t going to shy away from anybody.”

Johnson, who went 6-5 during his first year at the helm, finishing with a 36-7 loss in the first round of the LHSAA playoffs to Iowa, lost a couple of big-time players to graduation in Sedric Applewhite (McNeese State) and Marquise Harris (Arkansas State). But there is still plenty of talent on the Bearkat roster. And like most high school coaches this time of year, Johnson is excited about the product he will soon put on the artificial grass at Bossier’s Memorial Stadium. 

One of the main sources of Johnson’s excitement is his new sophomore quarterback, Quintarion Scott, who played basketball last year, then decided to come out for football.

“He watched from the stands last year,” Johnson said. “He liked what he saw and wanted to be a part of something special. He has really bought in to what we are doing.”

While Scott is relatively new to football, Johnson said that fans will not be able to tell when they watch him on game nights. 

Blocking up front for Scott will be one of Johnson’s best leaders on the team – senior offensive lineman Keith Hall.

“Keith can play left tackle or he can play center,” Johnson said. “The thing I like about him is that he is vocal and very positive. There is not a negative bone in his body.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bearkats return their leading tackler from a year ago, linebacker and defensive end Christian Johnson (6-1, 205), who won a state championship for the Bossier wrestling program during the offseason.

“He has a high motor,” Johnson said. “He loves contact. He is not very vocal, but he leads by example.”

If you attended a Bossier football practice last year, you probably heard Johnson tell his players to “be a shark” and noticed how the practices were high-tempo, high-energy.

“I use it every single day,” Johnson said. “I love sharks. I love what they stand for, and that’s how I want my guys to play. As far as the tempo goes, we are even faster this year now that we are in year No. 2. The expectations are even higher.”

While numbers in the past have been a problem at Bossier, those concerns do not appear to be an issue. The Bearkats finished 2021 with 46 players, and with additions, like Scott, there are currently 52 players on the roster.

Additions have been made on the coaching staff as well, where Johnson brought in former Evangel coach Virgil Williams in the spring and added Mississippi State graduate assistant C.J. Morgan during the summer. Williams will coach corners and Morgan will coach safeties.

“Those two guys bring a ton of knowledge with them,” Johnson said. “From drops to different coverages and eye placement, they know what they are talking about and our players understand that these guys have been there.”

The Bearkats will get a taste of where they are on Friday, Aug. 19 when they host Red River in a 6 p.m. scrimmage. A week later, the Bearkats host their annual Bossier Jamboree, battling with Plain Dealing before opening the 2022 season on the road at North Caddo on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Contact Jerry at sbjjerrybyrd@gmail.com

https://shreveportbossierjournal.com/2022/07/18/bossier-back-in-district-1-4a-for-2022-season/

https://shreveportbossierjournal.com/2022/06/22/bearkats-guice-should-shine-at-db-at-the-next-level/

Photo by JERRY BYRD, Journal Sports


Parkway has pair of solid LBs in Newman, Mayweather

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

Not many high school football teams go into a season with two potential all-state linebackers who can both be used all over the field (all linebacker spots), but that’s what Parkway coach Coy Brotherton has with a talented Class of 2023 set of linebackers in Barrett Newman who is 6-2, 215 and Ray Mayweather at 6-1, 205.

I saw Newman play on film on special teams as early as the 2020 season and knew then he had something to him talent-wise. This is someone who runs a legit 4.7 40 and looks faster on the field as a football player. I love his high effort every play and admire that at one time he was a four-sport athlete at Parkway.

I see Newman as a true mike linebacker in college with the ability to beef up to 225 or 230 pounds because he has the height to put on good weight and keep his speed. With that combo, he could have a career at the FBS or FCS level.

I saw Mayweather play as far back as 2020, also at Mansfield; he was a freshman and the best player on the field back then. He moved to defense in Week 5 in 2021 and had 12 1/2 sacks; he also had 50 1/2 tackles, three fumble recoveries, 22 1/2 tackles for loss and three blocked kicks.  That’s production.

He’s a football player who rushes the passer off the edge with 4.6 speed but has the size for outside linebacker in college. He can either gain more weight and get up to 225 or 230, keep his speed, play buck/outside linebacker as a rusher, or he could go to outside linebacker and would need only maybe 10 more pounds of muscle to make that move; that would put him at 6-1, 215.

Mayweather would be a steal for any FCS program and can prove FBS programs wrong if they don’t offer him because they’re looking for 6-3 to 6-5 defensive ends who rush the passer at 250 to 275 pounds. The best pass rusher I ever saw come out of Louisiana was a guy named Greg Gathers from East St. John in LaPlace; he stood 6-0 and weighed 240 and went on to Georgia Tech and made All-American with over 30 career sacks.

Brotherton doesn’t mince words when he says Newman is what makes his defense go.

“Barrett is going to be a three-year starter for us in baseball and football,” said Brotherton. “He is a natural leader that makes our defense click. He reacts fast, plays downhill, and will hit you.”

Linebacker coach Chris Kennady thinks Newman will have a great season for the Panthers.

“Barrett is the type of kid you would like to build your program around,” said Kennady. “He led the team in tackles last year with 93 total. I expect another big year from him this year. He’s had a great offseason and that will carry over to this season. Barrett is also a great student, leader and of course a great football player.”

Brotherton says Mayweather plays at a high rate of speed.

“Ray moved over to defense last year,” said Brotherton. “He ended the season with 12 1/2 sacks coming off the edge in our 4-3 defense. Ray has one of the highest motors in all of Class 5A. He is fast and plays 100 miles per hour.”

Kennady sees Mayweather as one of the top players in Class 5A if he plays like they expect.

“Ray — ‘Nasty 19’ as he likes to be called — is an incredible player,” said Kennady. “If he has the year we expect from him, there will be a ton more offers coming his way in 2022. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with this year in Class 5A.”

When it comes to looking into the future, Mayweather has some in-state programs in mind.

“Some of the colleges I like are Grambling State, Southern University and LSU,” said Mayweather. “I grew up watching those schools play and it’ll be a dream come true to be a part of one of those programs in the end of my recruiting. I can sum up what I like about football and that’s (winning games).”

Notes on Ray Mayweather: In the classroom he has a GPA of 3.6 and an ACT score of 18.

His “most recent family to play college football,” he said, are Arkez Cooper in 2017 and Deuntae Youngblood in 2020, both at Grambling State.

Mayweather likes playing Madden video games and football.

He attended the Grambling State camp over the summer.

Mayweather would like to major in sports medicine or kinesiology in college.

Notes on Barrett Newman: Newman’s dad played football for Army at West Point.

His hobbies are “working out to get stronger on the field and learning about history, especially wars because it is interesting.”

His favorite colleges are “Arkansas, Liberty and Louisiana Tech because they talk to me the most.

“I hit the camp circuit hard this summer and went to 13 camps and also had some visits,” said Newman. “Arkansas, Army, Yale, Penn, TCU, ULM, and UAB are some of the colleges I went to. What I like most about football is it’s legal to be able to hit the opposing team. You can play tough as much as you want and nobody can do anything about it — it’s football.”

Newman has a GPA of 4.1 and an ACT score of 24.

He wants to major in biology and go into med school and “become an orthopedic surgeon and perform Tommy John surgeries on MLB players,” he said.

Newman on playing other sports: “I also play baseball and I skipped out on playing with my National Team this summer to hit the football camp circuit and get bigger and faster. I play outfield in baseball and I’m very good at tracking balls down and making big plays.”

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Falcons started preparing right away to fly high again

Note – This is the first in a series previewing all local high school football teams.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

One day after a crushing 2021 quarterfinal loss to eventual Class 4A state champion Westgate, Northwood football coach Austin Brown called a meeting of the coaching staff to let them know one thing.

The 2022 season had just begun.

“I told the staff that we had a lot of guys returning with speed and strength,” Brown says. “We’ve got to focus on the mental aspect and the team aspect. Make sure egos stay checked and that personal expectations don’t outweigh the team goals.”

Nine months later, that message was brought home once again as Brown put the Falcons through a 72-hour “lock-in” at the school before the start of pre-season workouts. Throwing, catching and tackling will come soon enough, but Brown wanted there to be a bigger message with the lock-in.

“The focus is on team building,” he says. “When you go through something like this together, you tend to get a little bit closer to each other. Getting up at 6 o’clock, going at it all day long. Those things aren’t fun. But there is a lot of bonding, even with freshmen and seniors.”

Other than the slight issue of having security lights in the gym that wouldn’t go out at night – “they toughed it out,” Brown says – the coach says it got the Falcons where they need to be as they begin preparations for the ’22 season.

And make no mistake about it – there are high expectations for Northwood football this year.

This is a team that was the No. 4 seed, lost by two points to the eventual state champion and returns plenty of experience, including some of the top recruits in the area.

“It may be cliché, but it’s still the same thing for us,” Brown says. “Play good, hard, efficient football and play good defense. That’s the way it’s been for us the last few years. But with the players and coaching staff we’ve got, the expectations are high for our community.”

The 2018 team was undefeated in the regular season and 13-1 overall, so success is nothing new. But Brown believes there are intangibles at work for this year.

“You want your best players to be hard workers, but our best players also love Northwood football,” he says. “That’s shown through to our younger classes and it’s a team-wide thing. They all love Northwood football.”

Mar’Javious Moss will get plenty of attention from the opposition and Brown says using him in the right circumstances will be the key.

“We kind of outsmarted ourselves last year,” Brown says. “He was primarily on offense last year and defense when we needed him. Then we realized that we needed him on full-time defense and special packages on offense. He’s going to touch the ball 5-10 times on offense.”

Moss could line up anywhere – he’s played quarterback, receiver, running back, defensive end, linebacker, cornerback and safety – and scored six different ways last year. He also had five interceptions in a game.

“The most impressive thing about him is his football intelligence,” Brown says. “He understands what the (opposing) offense is trying to do or what the defense is trying to do.”

Senior defensive end TaDerius Collins, who showed up as a freshman at 6-1, 190 and is now 6-4, 250, “is just a freak. If you draw up what you want a Division I defensive end to look like, that’s him.”

Junior quarterback Mason Welch (6-3, 225) will be running the offense again. “We have to kick him out of the office sometimes,” Brown says. “The coaches are ready to go home and see their families and he’s wanting to watch more video. He’s a student of the game.”

Brown expects two-time All-District running back Quintavion White to get 20-25 carries per game. Slot receiver Marc Denison “will be our go-to guy on offense,” Brown says.

Offensive tackle Ja’marion Kennedy (6-3, 305) will be anchoring the offensive line and will be seeing time both ways.

On defense, there’s addition by subtraction. Disruptive nose tackle Ted Jamison moved over from offense. “I have to pull him out of practice sometimes because we can’t get anything done with him destroying everything,” Brown says.

Biggest question mark? “If our young offensive line can protect our quarterback and lead the run game,” Brown says.

Contact JJ at JohnJamesMarshall@yahoo.com

Northwood enters season on a roll

Northwood has quite the DL duo with Jamison, Collins

Northwood’s Dennison draws comparison to Trent Taylor

Northwood DB to sparkle this fall for Falcons


Southwood LB Walters has next-level talent

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

Southwood has had some really good players come out of its program the past few years, even though the team probably hasn’t been talked about as much, like back during the high school career of former Super Bowl quarterback Stan Humphries, who is now one of the state’s best amateur golfers, and girls basketball coaches (Ouachita Christian) many years later.

There’s still talent at Southwood, a program full of history. The most talented player on a team full of prospects right now is someone I have watched for three years:  Corinthian Walters, who I saw play quarterback going all the way back to the 2020 season when he started some games at that spot. He’s also played running back, wide receiver, defensive back, and now linebacker.

I feel Walters is a bona fide big-time sleeper FBS prospect at outside linebacker, a hard spot to find recruits that fit the FBS level right now. Walters runs a legit 4.55 to 4.6 40, is 6-1 and weighs anywhere from 200 to 205 pounds on the eve of his of his senior season.

Walters is mature beyond his years, smart, and what I love more is he’s a team player. He has played wherever the coaches need him.

I think as an outside linebacker in college he could be a three-year starter for many programs. He is capable, with a strong senior season in 2022, of being a very sought-after FBS player by many colleges that did not recruit him in the spring or summer. He has the “IT factor;” he has the stuff to be great.

“Corinthian Walters is the ideal student-athlete,” said head coach Jesse Esters. “He sports above a 3.3 GPA in the classroom. He’s a student leader to incoming freshmen and a role-model citizen around our campus. After the loss to Byrd in 2021, he made a promise to dedicate the next nine months to building and conditioning his body to be a better player on the field.”

“He powerlifted and ran track,” said Esters. “He had gotten up to 210 pounds before track season and trimmed down. Every recruiter that came through the doors of Southwood was impressed with who he was and what he brought to the table. We expect nothing but the best from him.”

“I like the game of football because of the competition,” said Walters. “I have always been a competitor since I was little, and football just did it for me.”

“My first offer was from Louisiana Christian (formerly Louisiana College), and I have high interest from schools like East Texas Baptist, ULL, Mississippi College, Belhaven College, and a few others from the spring and early summer.”

My guess is more opportunities will come his way this fall. At an FCS program, he could find the field quickly. At a lower level, he could start very early. Wherever he lands, he’s the kind of person and competitor who will make an impact.

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Dream denied, former Woodlawn coach found another path

FORMER KNIGHT FOND OF FRIDAY NIGHTS:   Former Woodlawn High School football coach Jerwin Wilson is a college assistant coach at Texas Southern, and fondly recalls the Friday night rewards of coaching local high school football.

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

The only thing standing between young Jerwin Wilson, and his dream of playing college football, was a routine physical exam.

Except this physical turned out to be not routine.

“I’ll never forget it,” Wilson remembered. “Dr. Shane Phillips. He’s still the doctor there to this day.”

“It” was the news delivered by Louisiana Tech’s team physician. Wilson, who had recently graduated from Arcadia High School, had a previously-undetected heart murmur. The preferred walk-on defensive back would not be playing for the Bulldogs — or anyone else.

“It was gut-wrenching,” Wilson said.

So gut-wrenching, Wilson went in search of a second and third opinion. Both were the same as the first opinion.

“It was very disappointing,” Wilson said. “I felt like I could compete with the best of them. You see guys out there playing on Saturday, and knowing you have the athletic ability, but it wasn’t in my best interest for me to be out there longevity-wise, with the condition I had.”

At 17 years old, with a dream denied, he  was down, but not out. Wilson turned frustration into a future — a future in coaching. He went from being offensive coordinator at his alma mater (while attending Tech), to Shreveport’s Woodlawn High School. He was on the Knights’ staff 10 years, the last six as head coach.

Now, about to turn 36, the father of two daughters kicks off his fourth season this morning at Texas Southern, in Houston, as receivers coach when the Tigers stage their first preseason practice.

“It’s surreal,” Wilson said of his path to coaching in a NCAA Division 1  (FCS) program. “It’s a blessing.”

Wilson went 39-30 as the Knights’ head coach, leading Woodlawn to a district title once, and a spot in the Class 4A state quarterfinals another season.

“I grew up there,” Wilson said of his time on Wyngate Boulevard. “To spend a decade at one place is something I don’t take for granted. It made me a better coach because I had to deal with a lot of adversity.

“I had to meet kids where they are. I understood that it was bigger — much bigger — than football. I’m always going to go to a place where I feel like I can make an impact. When I talk about impact, it has nothing to do with on the field. To me, it’s all about pouring (yourself) into kids’ lives.”

And that’s why Wilson left the relative comfort of running his own program, to step up a level — and work for someone else.

“God placed me at Woodlawn, and I felt he was doing the same at Texas Southern,” Wilson said. “My purpose to impact the lives of others in a positive way has not (changed).”

But while Wilson’s motives are the same, the work isn’t.

“The biggest difference is the recruiting — 365 days out of the year,” Wilson said. “Recruiting never stops. You’re always looking for guys to make your team better.”

And after going 3-8 (2-6 in the SWAC) last year, Wilson believes this is the year the Tigers get better.

“We feel like we finally have enough recruiting classes to turn this thing around,” said Wilson, who is also TSU’s recruiting coordinator. “We’re excited about where we’re going.”

Even though Wilson is now a college coach, he hasn’t forgotten the precious days gone by.

“I love Friday night lights,” Wilson said. “There have definitely been Friday nights at the (team) hotel getting ready for a Saturday game that I miss those old Friday nights.”

You can take the coach out of high school football, but you can’t take high school football out of the coach.

Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com


Haughton’s Blank has size, grit to attract colleges

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

I was watching a full game film in 2021 of Haughton High School and saw several tackles and plays made by then-junior linebacker Connor Blank. I came away impressed by his toughness, his build for the spot and his upside for the next level.

Blank is like a lot of players who are going into their senior seasons: just show a little more here and there and he has a chance to be highly recruited when it’s all said and done. If Blank can have a dominant senior season at a bigger size, a faster and stronger version, and just take over, he’s got the talent to be an FBS linebacker. He has the frame at 6-1, and room to grow into his frame, now an athletic 215 pounds.

Like I said, I love his ability to make plays with toughness and all-out effort.

Most FBS programs like their linebackers on the Power 5 level for middle linebacker (which is where I see him playing at a high level) in the 6-1 to 6-2 range with 220 to 230 pounds on their frame running in the low 4.6 range or low 4.7. Blank is capable of being a low 4.7 range in the end. He runs in the 4.8 range right now but looks faster in uniform.

He is also very strong in the weight room for a high school kid with a bench press max of 325, squat max 450 and clean max of 245.

Blank would be a steal for an FCS program and again would be a 6-1, 225-to-230-pound starter in Year 2 or sooner in college.

“Conner is a big, physical tough kid that runs well,” said linebacker coach Gary Smith. “He plays the game the right way. We’ve been fortunate here at Haughton High School to have some very talented linebackers come through. And Conner fits the mold. We are expecting him to have a great year for us in 2022.”

The Buc senior has a liking for orange and black at the next level.

“My favorite college is Oklahoma State. It’s my favorite because my dad used to go to college there and I love the campus and the head coach Mike Gundy and everything about the program and what they have to offer,” said Blank. “I’ve been to a couple games and the field is amazing to be on and look at and the atmosphere is amazing surrounding it.”

“What I like most about football is the physical side of it because I love to hit people and will always wanna go head-to-head with anyone.”

Notes on Connor Blank: He recorded 83 total tackles with nine tackles for loss in 2021.

In the classroom he has a 3.7 GPA and ACT score of 22.

His family’s connection to sports. “My dad played baseball for Oklahoma State for a little while until he broke his wrist and couldn’t play anymore.”

Camps Blank attended over the summer were at Louisiana Christian, Ouachita Baptist, Oklahoma State and South Alabama.

Blank enjoys working out and playing games. “I enjoy working out because it makes me feel amazing and gets me bigger and stronger, and after a long workout I can just come home and play games to just chill and relax.”

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com


Ten local soccer student-athletes moving on to the next level

SUN BELT KEEPER: Among 10 local Class of 2022 senior soccer student-athletes continuing to play collegiately, Byrd’s goalkeeper Emerson Roberts is the only Division I signee, heading east to Monroe.

By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports

Seven girls and three boys, graduated from local high schools in 2022, will be playing soccer collegiately this fall.

Their journey is taking them to all levels of collegiate play, from Division I through NAIA. They will compete around the country, including Vermont, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and, of course, Louisiana.

Byrd keeper Emerson Roberts is the only local Class of ‘22 player playing at the DI level, attending ULM this fall. Roberts played club ball with the Texans ECNL (Dallas), and the Tammany Tigers (Mandeville).

Roberts’ awards are plentiful, including All-District first team all four years and she was the Shreveport-Bossier Journal All Metro player of the year in 2022. She was on the All-State All Freshman team, All-State second team as a junior and first team as a senior. She made the All-Star team and was voted the All-Star Game MVP. She was selected to the Academic All-State Composite team as well.

Khiana Roraback, a four-year starting forward for Byrd and member of the Shreveport United 03 girls’ squad who reached the 2021 US Club Nationals, is headed to Swanee University in Tennessee. As a junior, Roraback was named to the all-district, all-metro and all-state first teams, and was district MVP. As a senior, Roraback had a nagging leg injury which limited her playing time. She was still elected to the All-Star team and made first team all-district and the SBJ’s 2nd team all-metro. Her classroom work did not suffer as she was on the Academic All-State Composite team.

Katie Smith, a Byrd defender, will be playing her college soccer locally at Division III Centenary. She was a member of the Shreveport United 03 girls’ team that went to the nationals in 2021. Smith was voted the team’s Defensive MVP in 2021 and 2022. She was also the all-district defensive MVP in 2022, a member of the Journal’s All-Metro team in 2022, and on the Academic All-State Composite team.

Adele Bihler, a two-year captain at Airline High School, will be joining Smith at Centenary this fall, where her older brother is on the men’s soccer team. Bihler was all-district second team and all-parish first team. She also earned a spot on the Academic All-State team. Bihler played her club ball with Shreveport United’s 03 girls.

Maya Jackson, Parkway’s goal-scoring machine, will be playing soccer at Division II Delta State in Mississippi. Jackson was a four-time all-district award winner, and twice was all-metro, including the inaugural Journal All-Metro team. She was selected to play in the state All-Star Game, honoring the top graduating seniors. Jackson was also voted Miss Parkway 2022.

Jordan Lee, Caddo Magnet’s captain and an outstanding defender, will be playing locally at NAIA LSUS. Lee played her club soccer on the Shreveport United 04 girls’ team. She was first-team all-district as a senior and voted the Spirit Award for her team. She is also a member of the Academic All-State team.

Nadia Onsarigo, a midfielder at Captain Shreve, will play at Centenary. She has deferred her time at Centenary to go through her basic training for the National Guard. She will be on campus in Spring 2023, and ready for soccer next fall.

All the boys moving on to college soccer were members of the Shreveport United 04 Boys team that came just short of winning the State Cup in 2022.

Logan Smith, star midfielder for Benton High School, is headed to Division II Harding University in Searcy, Ark., for his college career. Smith was twice all-district and made the SBJ’s first All-Metro team in 2022. He was selected to the all-state second team as a senior and was a pivotal member of the Tigers’ run to the state finals in 2021.

Michael Hamauei, Byrd High School’s keeper, will be heading east to Jackson, Miss., to continue his soccer career at Belhaven. Hamauei was first-team all-district and made the SBJ’s first All-Metro team.

The Journal’s All-Metro Player of the year, Andrew Stuart, is making the longest journey as he continues his soccer career at Middlebury, in Middlebury, Vermont. Stuart was selected offensive MVP for Division I District I along with his SBJ accolades.

Contact David at DErsoff@bellsouth.net


Byrd LB Brossette loves running down ball carriers

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

C.E. Byrd’s Brooks Brossette is a player it seems like I have been watching for over 10 years. Brossette is a linebacker in the Class of 2023.

When I scout and look at film or go to games in person, I remember players because of their effort, ability and the impact they make on the game and the team. Brossette is that type of easy-to-remember player: he’s got a motor that is one speed, 150 percent, and he makes things happen at 6-0, 200 — though he’ll probably play at 205 in the fall.

I think in recruiting there are football players who don’t measure up for size or speed but they bring everything else, and sometimes that gets overlooked. Brossette is not a big guy but plays big and runs well and reads and reacts on the field as good as anyone in high school at making tackles in space.

Brossette has a hand time of 4.62 in the 40 (which is really good) and he looks faster on the field. He is a ‘manchild’ in the weight room with a bench press max of 275, squat max of 410 and clean max of 265.

Here’s my opinion of Brossette’s college football potential. I think he can sign with an FCS program as an athlete to play either linebacker or strong safety or could walk-on to an FBS school as a linebacker or strong safety, or sign with a Division II or Division III school. I think he can play at Tulane, ULM, ULL and Louisiana Tech, all FBS schools, if given an opportunity.

I’ve been watching football in this state since 1988 and have seen all the Byrd teams since 1988. He’s one of the best linebackers at Byrd I have seen.

He also has another option: he’s a returning all-district baseball player and will have an option of either going baseball or football at the next level.

Brossette lettered as a freshman in football, which is very rare at Byrd, and he’ll be a three-year starter in 2022. I first saw him play early on when he wore Jersey No. 44 and now has Jersey No. 9.

Byrd head coach Stacy Ballew thinks Brossette is one of the best to ever play at Byrd.

“I’ve coached linebackers at Byrd for many years, and we’ve been blessed with a lot of great players,” said Ballew. “Brooks Brossette is at or near the top of the list. He has tremendous instincts and a high intensity motor.

“But the things that separate him from others, the things that make him great, are his speed and intensity, but particularly his speed. He plays with an edge but it’s his speed that allows him to get to the ball and make a tackle. Brooks led the team with 106 tackles last year in 2021, with 10 tackles for losses and one interception.”

He definitely has the mindset that makes him such a memorable defensive player to watch.

“I love football because I like hitting ball carriers for four quarters straight and not being punished for it,” said Brossette.

Notes on Brooks Brossette: He carries a 3.6 GPA in the classroom and scored a 24 on the ACT.

As for hobbies, he told me he loves to fish any chance he gets.

Contact Lee at lbrecheen@aol.com