Haughton’s Rains is a two-sport talent, ready to rise this fall

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

The Class of 2023 is deep with quarterbacks to watch in the Shreveport-Bossier area, with another versatile athlete who will interest college recruiters in two-sport Haughton competitor Colin Rains.

Rains has what coaches and recruiting analysts like me call the “IT Factor” in a QB. He can sling it, he runs the offense to perfection and he can run when needed because he’s strong and sturdy, like an athletic outside linebacker, so he can take hits like a QB must, and he can give defenders something to keep in the back of their minds coming up to tackle him. He might deal out more punishment than he receives.

I love his upside because he is still growing and learning. Rains has slimmed down a bit (6-2, 195) and he’s gotten faster and stronger for his senior year. He plays in a quality program and in tough competition in District 1-5A. He and his Bucs hit their stride in the middle of the season last fall and are going to be in the thick of the race this year.

Like a lot of young QB’s, Colin will have a decision to make because he will get offers to not only play football, but also he’s going to have opportunities to play baseball in college.

“You asked me which sport I like better, football or baseball. That is a hard question because I love both sports,” he told me. “I know I’ll have to make a decision this next year to pick one sport. I know that a lot of the other area QB’s play only football, which gives them an advantage. That just makes me work harder off the field.

“I am playing with Team Louisiana Baseball this summer. I would love to attend some football camps this summer to get my name out there, but it’s hard with my summer baseball schedule to do it all. I am traveling as far east as Atlanta and west to Dallas.

“This fall, we will face some tough competition in our district, but I am very excited about our team. We have a lot of young talent coming up this year along with the returning upperclassmen,” he said.

Haughton’s head coach, Jason Brotherton, described why we say Rains has the “IT Factor.”

“Colin is a true competitor. He is always going to outwork everyone around him. If we need two yards, he always seems to get three. If we need five yards, he gets six.

“He has the size and skill-set to play college football, but he is also a really talented baseball player and may have opportunities there.”

One of his former Haughton Bucs baseball teammates, Peyton Stovall, has just helped the Arkansas Razorbacks on a postseason run back to Omaha for the College World Series. Rains isn’t the MLB Draft baseball prospect that Stovall was, but he’s going to have lots of eyes on him this summer and next spring.

This spring on the diamond, Rains posted a batting average of .436 with 51 hits, including 19 doubles, a school record for a single season.




COACHES’ CORNER: No longer in dugout, Bohanan remains vital to baseball

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

Second in a series

He hasn’t coached a game in 30 years, but Clay Bohanan is still having an effect on high school baseball.

For more than a decade, Bohanan was in charge of one baseball field at Airline High. Now he is in charge of about three dozen as Bossier City’s Director of Parks and Recreation. It’s a job he’s had since 2005, and his legacy in that position can be seen with the improvements that have been made, mostly notable at Tinsley Park, and with the construction of the Field of Dreams playground.

But that’s not the only legacy that Bohanan, 78, will leave when he decides to retire.

What Bohanan accomplished in 13 years as Airline baseball coach is bar-setting stuff. Not only did he win 239 games, but he also played for two state championships in the state’s highest classification.

“Coach Bohanan was the first baseball guy to coach at Airline,” says current Airline coach Toby Todd. “He made baseball relevant.”

And he still does. Bohanan’s teams never had a losing record and perhaps more significantly, the Airline baseball program has only two losing seasons since Bohanan started coaching in 1980.

“Everything has changed obviously, but the part you miss when you get out of coaching is not the every-day grind,” Bohanan said. “But the special games, the big games in the playoffs … now that part you do miss.”

He had plenty of those, particularly in a three-year stretch in 1989 when the Vikings were in position to win a state championship each year, but never did.

In 1989, Airline was 22-9 and reached the state finals – the first Shreveport-Bossier school to do so in 19 years – but lost to Rummel 10-1.

In 1990, with the tournament being played at Fair Grounds Field, Airline lost in the quarterfinals to Acadiana in a game that lasted 14 innings and was played over a three-day span due to weather. The game ended when a steal of third resulted in a ball being thrown into the outfield.

In 1991, Airline reached the state championship game again — this time with a 30-0 record — to play St. Amant, once again at Fair Grounds Field. Airline had rolled over its first two state tournament opponents and St. Amant had squeaked by, winning both games by one run.

“After five batters they had scored five runs,” Bohanan says. “I told our assistant coach to call Barksdale to shoot down those bombs they were hitting.”

It didn’t get any prettier as the Vikings lost 18-4 and finished 31-1.

“I had a feeling that was going to be a special group,” Bohanan says. “They were winning JV tournaments as freshmen. Turned out to be a pretty stout bunch.”

You might say that. Led by Todd Walker, who would go on to be one of the greatest players in LSU baseball history and a 12-year major leaguer, the Vikings won 76 games in three seasons.

Not only did he coach Walker, but he also had B.J. Ryan, a two-time All-Star and an 11-year major leaguer.

But Bohanan has always had a way of being around future major leaguers. In high school at Bossier, he was a catcher for Cecil Upshaw, who had a nine-year major league career.

Part of what Bohanan built at Bossier was more than just successful teams. He also began facilities improvements that can now be found in almost every high school in Caddo-Bossier. But Airline was the first to start the process.

“We had a cyclone fence at Airline,” he says. “Nobody had lights. We had to turn the dirt over just to be able to play. We gradually made improvements to restrooms and concession stands and the press box. I wanted the best facilities we could provide for our kids to play. And I wanted it to be top shelf so that when teams came to play us, they knew we were serious about playing ball.”

He says he still watches games as if he were coaching.

“I was watching the Super Regionals last weekend and I found myself telling my wife what was going to happen,” Bohanan says. “You always think like a coach and how you would do things. I don’t miss the cold weather in the early season freezing my tail off. I do miss developing kids and working with them, and getting them coached up to be the best they can possibly be.”

Contact JJ at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com

PART ONE:  

COACHES’ CORNER: ‘Uncle Larry’ knew when it was time to go




Parkway’s Larry named to Class 5A All-State softball team

JOURNAL STAFF

Multi-talented athlete Chloe Larry of Parkway was selected to the first team of the LSWA Class 5A All-State softball team.

Larry enjoyed a sophomore season that finished with her hitting .643 with seven home runs and committing only one error while playing multiple positions.

Named to the honorable mention list were Airline’s Jina Baffuto, Paris Endris and Elena Heng, Ava Defee and Sophie Livers from Benton, Brooklyn Brockhaus of Haughton and Riley Myers from Southwood.

Senior shortstop Baffuto hit .554 with 10 home runs for Airline. Endris, a senior catcher, hit 16 home runs and batted .487 while Heng scored 41 runs and finished with a .448 average.

Benton sophomore pitcher Defee worked 121 innings and struck out 158 with a 3.87 ERA. Teammate Livers was a junior infielder who hit .485 with seven home runs and 31 RBI.

Haughton senior Bockhaus is a South Alabama signee who hit .494 with 12 home runs and drove in 41 runs. Myers finished her pitching career at Southwood with a 2.10 ERA and a 16-6 mark.

Below is the complete list of the 2022 Class 5A Softball All-State team:

Position, Player, School, Class, Stats

P Halie Pappion Barbe Sr. .20-3

P Maddie Nichols, West Monroe Sr. 14-4

P Lainee Bailey Walker Sr. 29-5

P Addison Jackson St. Amant Jr. 30-2

C Kirsten Thiels Pineville Sr. .432

IF Brylie Fontenot Sam Houston Jr. .534

IF Bailey Henderson Pineville Jr. .608

IF Sara Roussel Hahnville Sr. .551

IF Chloe Larry Parkway So. .643

OF Nyjah Fontenot Barbe Sr. .486

OF Dayzja Williams Alexandria Jr. .456

OF Karli Sellers West Monroe Jr. .413

UT Lexie Dibley Sam Houston Jr. .398

UT Emily Collins Pineville Sr. 30-3

UT Maddie Robinson Natchitoches Central Jr. 14-6

UT Kira Manganello John Curtis So. .388

UT Kai Goodman John Curtis So. 18-1

Outstanding Player: Addison Jackson, St. Amant

Coach of the Year: Amy Pitre, St. Amant 

Honorable mention: Jina Baffuto, Airline; Elena Heng, Airline; Paris Endris, Airline; Brooklyn Brockhaus, Haughton; Riley Myers, Southwood; Ava Defee, Benton; Sophia Livers, Benton Kailey Dwyer, Acadiana; Bevan Hartnett, Pineville; Lauren Cooper, Pineville; Catherine Stokes, Natchitoches Central; Carla Wilson, Ruston; Ana Grace Garcia, St. Joseph’s Academy; Jenna Samuel, Northshore; Madison Laiche, John Curtis; Laney Waguespack, Hahnville; Lauren Sekenger, Dominican; Brynne Songy, Dutchtown; Madison Jolie Lenderman, Acadiana; Rheagan Montgomery, Ouachita; Erin Stallings, Alexandria; Desi Robinson, Natchitoches Central; Caitlyn Riche, Walker; Shaun Leiva, Live Oak; Alix Franklin, St. Amant; Ashlyn Shirah, Northshore; Rikki Adams, Chalmette; MyKail Lusco, Dominican; Landrie Crockett, West Ouachita; Carmen Dixon, St. Amant; Madelyn England, Sam Houston; Bailey Neathery, West Ouachita; Heather Triche, H.L. Bourgeois.




Seven area baseball players named to HM of Class 5A All-State team

ALL-STATE: Haughton pitcher Austin Anderson was one of seven area baseball players named honorable mention on the LSWA Class 5A All-State team.

JOURNAL STAFF

Seven baseball players from District 1-5A were named to the honorable mention list of the LSWA Class 5A All-State team chosen by writers across the state.

Haughton and Parkway both landed two, while Airline, Benton and Captain Shreve each had one player selected.

District 1-5A MVP Austin Anderson was selected after a season in which he hit .398 and drove in 30 runs. He was also 9-2 on the mound with a 1.72 ERA. Teammate Colin Rains joins him after a season that he set a school record with 19 doubles while hitting .436.

Parkway’s two players chosen were senior pitcher Cade Josting and junior catcher/designated hitter Zach Schoenborn. Josting was 5-1 on the season with a  2.10 ERA in 60 innings that included 70 strikeouts. Schoenborn hit .418 with five home runs and 31 RBI.

Blake Fant of Captain Shreve finished his senior season with a 448 average that included five home runs. Airline’s Harrison Waxley played third base when he wasn’t pitching and hit .402 during his senior season. Benton senior pitcher Cale Latimer had a sparkling 0.78 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 26 innings.

Here is the complete list of the LSWA Class 5A All-State Baseball Team:

Position, Player, School Class, Stats

P Brennan Eager West Monroe Jr. 9-1

P Gavin Guidry Barbe Sr. 8-0

P Jake Brown Sulphur Jr. 8-3

P DJ Primeaux Central Sr. 10-4

C Clayton Pourciau Catholic Jr. .330

IF Trey Hawsey West Monroe So. .407

IF Tanner Vadnais Dutchtown Sr. .350

IF Brody Hebert H.L. Bourgeois Jr. .435

IF Lee Amedee St. Amant Sr. .330

OF John Pearson West Monroe So. .370

OF Noah Simon Destrehan Sr. .348

OF Walker Bazile Brother Martin Sr. .424

UT Andrew Glass Sam Houston Sr. .370

UT Nathan Monceaux Dutchtown Sr. 10-1

UT Lakin Polk Ponchatoula Sr. 7-3

UT Logan O’Neill John Curtis Sr. .389

UT Hayden Federico West Monroe So. .333

Outstanding Player: Gavin Guidry, Barbe

Coach of the Year: Wade Simoneaux, West Monroe

Honorable mention: Austin Anderson, Haughton; Colin Rains, Haughton; Blake Fant, Captain Shreve; Harrison Waxley, Airline; Cale Latimer, Benton; Cade Josting, Parkway; Zach Schoenborn, Parkway; Gage Trahan, Sulphur, Bryce Fontenot, Sulphur; JR Tollett, Ruston; Reid Williams, Ruston; Ean Rodrigue, Thibodaux; Branson Arceneaux, Thibodaux; Ethan Lovell, Terrebonne; Landon Clampit, West Ouachita; Jermaine Minor, Alexandria; Landon Victorian, Barbe; Harris Waghalter, Catholic; Nick Gisclair, Dutchtown; Alex Laiche, Brother Martin; Holden Hess, Jesuit; Ryan Porche, Jesuit; Aaron Lanerie, Acadiana; Chris Kelly, Pineville; Josh Eames; Caleb Little, West Monroe; Lane Felder, Zachary; Crawford Courville, Barbe; Cole Poirrier, St. Amant; Brady Neyland, Zachary; CJ Sturiale, Catholic; Cardell Thibodeaux, Acadiana; Michael O’Brien, John Curtis; Prescott Marsh, Catholic; Gavin Vordick, H.L. Bourgeois; John Carmichael, Destrehan; Brenden Zahn, Chalmette; Cade Anderson, St. Paul’s.

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL




Lambert has leadership ability, skill-set to play after Byrd High

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

In my 30-plus years of following, scouting and covering high school football in Louisiana, I’ve never seen a quarterback from C.E. Byrd High School start a state championship game as a sophomore and then play a junior season for the Yellow Jackets looking all the while like he was a senior in complete command of the team and its offense.

Until now. In my eyes, Lake Lambert is one of the top quarterbacks, not only locally, but also statewide in Louisiana’s Class of 2023.

I was very impressed, both with his calm demeanor under center and with his ability as a runner. When he did throw it, which happened more frequently last season than the one before, Lambert ran the offense smoothly and seemed to do everything perfectly.

I believe he can sign with the right college that fits his skill set and Lambert could emerge as a star as a dual-threat QB. He already does everything really well and with time in college will only get better.

Lambert reminds me of a former Baton Rouge QB from Christian Life High School, Stefon Leflors, who had great talent but was 6-1, 185 as a senior.

Recruiters overlooked him because they apparently believed he was either too small or thought he was a system QB.  Mistake. Leflors walked on at Louisville and not only started but became an all-conference quarterback and a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm finalist before a brief career in the NFL and the CFL.

Lambert will have a choice to make when scholarship options land on the table, because along with being a great football prospect, Lambert is also a very good baseball player.

The youngest of three sons, he’s faced harsh reality as he lost his father almost exactly a year ago. Brian Lambert, who was a punter at ULM, passed away after a brief illness. Lake switched his jersey number from 14 to 12 prior to last season to honor his dad.

His mother, Michelle, has enjoyed seeing all three sons play for Byrd. Brock, the middle son, graduated in 2021 after starting at shortstop on the Yellow Jackets’ state runner-up squad. He is currently playing at Panola (Texas) Junior College. Garrett, the oldest son, graduated in 2018 after playing football and baseball.

“I’ve played baseball since I was 4. This is my third year on varsity,” said Lake, who is the starting catcher, a first-team All District 1-5A pick who led the Yellow Jackets in hits and RBIs.

Wearing the Byrd purple and gold just means more to Lambert.

“I’ve always been a big LSU fan. They’re my favorite because of the games I went to watch growing up as a kid,” he said.

His football coach at Byrd, Stacy Ballew, admires Lambert’s moxie.

“Lake is a fierce competitor in everything he does. He stepped in as a sophomore and led us to the state championship game, and last year he came back from an injury and led us to the district championship. The rest of the team feeds off of his competitive spirit and leadership. They know that as long as No. 12 is behind center, we have a chance to win.”

NOTES ON LAKE LAMBERT:  Lake is 6-3, 195, up from 6-2, 185 in 2021. He has 20 career wins as the starting QB in two years. Lambert carries a 3.0 GPA and has a 22 ACT. At QB for the Yellow Jackets, he has 775 career rushing yards, and an impressive 5.0 yards per carry (153 carries). He has completed 41 of 85 passes for 734 yards and five touchdowns with just one interception. That is rather impressive, because he operates in a multiple option offense where the running game is the focus.




Northwood’s McCabe selected to 4A All-State baseball team

JOURNAL STAFF

Northwood outfielder Tucker McCabe was named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 4A All-State team released Sunday.

McCabe, a sophomore, hit .492 with 24 extra-base hits, drove home 42 runs, scored 50 and stole 54 bases. He helped the Falcons finish with a 29-11 record and tie a school record of wins in a season.

Teammate Ryan Gardner, a senior outfielder, and Evangel’s Kody Jackson, a junior, were selected to the honorable mention.

Owen Schexnaydre of Vandebilt Catholic was named the Outstanding Player. Schexnaydre, a LSU-Eunice commitment, helped Vandebilt win its first state title (Division II) since 1971.

Mike Barba of South Terrebonne was the Coach of the Year after leading the Gators to their first LHSAA baseball state championship.

Here is a look at the rest of the team:

2022 LSWA CLASS 4A ALL-STATE TEAM

Position, Player, School, Class, Stats

P Haydan Toal, Tioga Sr. 9-3

P Owen Schexnaydre, Vandebilt Catholic Sr. 11-3

P Josh Pierce South Lafourche Sr. 9-2

P Aiden Leonard, North Vermilion Jr. 9-0

C Robert Ashley, North DeSoto Jr. .500

IF Shea Pitre, South Terrebonne Sr. .402

IF Tyson Leblanc, North Vermilion Jr. .468

IF Dalton Hill, Northwood Sr. .454

IF Daniel Breard, Neville Sr. .361

OF Zeb Ruddell, Neville Sr. .434

OF Jonah Callais, South Lafourche Sr. .398 

OF Dorien Jackson, Breaux Bridge Sr. .436

UTIL Tucker McCabe, Northwood So. .492

UTIL Jackson Martin, South Terrebonne Jr. .317

UTIL Eli David, Vandebilt Catholic Sr. .398

UTIL Dominick Letort, Lakeshore Jr. .415

UTIL Kameron Mangum, North DeSoto Jr. 10-0

OUTSTANDING PLAYER: Owen Schexnaydre, Vandebilt Catholic

 

COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike Barba, South Terrebonne

Honorable mention: Ryan Gardner, Northwood; Kody Jackson, Evangel; Jakobe Jackson, Minden; Layne Lacaze, DeRidder; Cole Simoneaux, Assumption; Alex Brannan, DeRidder; Andrew Simon, Cecilia; Reid Godchaux, Teurlings Catholic; Morgan Sauber, Lakeshore; Eli Benoit, St. Thomas More; Gavem Jones, Tioga; Andrew Cooper, Minden; Duece Cheramie, South Lafourche; Andon Dupre, Assumption; Lake Grant, Neville; Kaden Sanders, Tioga; Tanner Hornback, St. Thomas More; Josh Bardwell, Tioga; Dominic Archilia, Vandebilt Catholic; Reece Turner, Assumption; Jack Stefanski, St. Thomas More; Colbi Dennis, Plaquemine; Sage Rivere, Assumption; Chrisian Arceneaux, South Terrebonne; Cale Comeaux, Teurlings Catholic; Eli Lirette, Lakeshore; Wes Allemand, South Lafourche; Robbie Harrison, St. Michael.




All-Metro boys’ golf topped by Holtsclaw, Duncan

JOURNAL STAFF

James Holtsclaw’s performance at the Division I state tournament resulted in the Byrd freshman being named Outstanding Player on the 2022 SBJ All-Metro Boys’ Golf Team.

After taking the first-round lead with a 5-under 67, Holtsclaw shot a second-round 3-over 75 to finish in third place. He joined champion Joshua Achord of St. Paul’s and runner-up Walter Anderson of Catholic-Baton Rouge as the only players to shoot under par for the tournament.

“James is a very level-headed, steady player,” Byrd coach Meredith Duncan said of Holtsclaw. “He knows his strengths and plays to them really well.”

Coach of the Year honors on The Journal’s inaugural All-Metro team went to Byrd’s Duncan, who led the boys’ team to their fifth Division I title in the last seven years. The Yellow Jackets’ four counting players all shot 75 or better in the final round.

“I’m honored not only to be able to coach so many great players, but to be around this talent in the Shreveport-Bossier area,” said Duncan. “These kids listen and apply the things I tell them. They are a pleasure to be around!”

The All-Metro team, chosen with input from Shreveport-Bossier coaches, consists of the top players based on their performance in state competition. The “Best of the Rest” is for those who were given strong consideration for the first team. All players are listed in alphabetical order according to their school.

2022 ALL-METRO BOYS’ GOLF TEAM

Eli Hill (Sr.), Airline: Division I state T8th place

Noah McWilliams (Jr.), Benton: Division I state 4th place

James Holtsclaw (Fr.), Byrd: Division I state 3rd place

Duke Bowen (Jr.), Byrd: Division I state T6th place

Grant Reagan (So.), Byrd: Division I state T8th place

Peyton Johnson (Sr.), Byrd: Division I state T11th place

Xan Walker (So.), Caddo Magnet: Division II state T3rd place

Kannon Savage (Sr.), Calvary: Division IV state T8th place

Holden Webb (Sr.), Loyola: Division III state T4th place

Connor Cassano (So.), Loyola: Division III state 8th place

Charlie Bell (So.), Loyola: Division III state 9th place

Outstanding Player: James Holtsclaw, Byrd

Coach of the Year: Meredith Duncan, Byrd

BEST OF THE REST

Cason Toms (So.), Benton: Division I state T28th place

Miller Davis (So.), Benton: Division I state T28th place

Kade Bryant (Fr.), Benton: Division I state T30th place

Cade Robinson (Sr.), Benton: Division I state 35th place

Brown Snyder (Jr.), Byrd: Division I state 27th place

Ross Alford (Jr.), Loyola: Division III state T21st place

Charles Valiulis (Jr.), Loyola: Division III state 28th place




Benton’s Walters could step up as a college prospect this fall

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

There’s abundant quarterback talent locally in the Class 2023, including today’s prospect out of a strong Benton High School program.

Gray Walters, who stands 6-3 and weighs 185 to 190 pounds, has a great arm, good feet and a will be a returning starter in 2022. He’s smart and battle-tested in District 1-5A, which was extremely competitive last fall and will be again this season.

I believe Walters can move up in the eyes of the colleges with a great senior year for the Tigers. I can project him at 6-3 and 215 pounds with another year of filling out in college.

Watching two of Benton’s 2021 games, I came away impressed with what Walters can become once he fully fills out with his frame. He’s a very good prep QB right now with excellent upside.

Here’s a great quote from his father, Roy Walters.

“As a father, watching your son have success is a dream come true, Gray has loved football from an early age so I hoped and prayed he would live his dream. Gray’s first high school game was his sophomore year against Benton’s rival and in his first start he led the team to a 32-26 overtime win. It will always be my favorite memory of him.

“Then he got to experience the other side in a 7-0 loss to another rival. Watching him go through that may have been my toughest memory. We have been so fortunate, though. Coach Reynolds Moore has always been there to pick him up, and dust him off, kick his butt and get him ready for the next week.

“As a parent, you could not ask for a better leader/coach mentor than Reynolds Moore; add to that his QB coach Jeff Harper, two of the best Christian leaders of young men I’ve had the pleasure to watch. I’m an old guy with a young son. Having those men teach him about football, but more importantly be examples to him about life, has been an incredible experience.”

Gray wears purple and gold now, but admits a preference for crimson.

“Growing up my favorite school was always Bama,” he said. “I dreamed of playing at Bama from around the age of 4, which has been tough on my Louisiana family. I really don’t know why but I have always loved them.”

I don’t see Nick Saban coming to recruit Walters, but I do see Walters playing quarterback in the style Saban demands of his QBs in Tuscaloosa. With the senior season I expect he’ll have, there’s college football in his future, I believe.

NOTES ON GRAY WALTERS: He has attended camps at Northwestern State and SMU and will go to McNeese, Lamar, ULM, Ouachita Baptist, Central Arkansas, Mississippi State and he will be playing in 7v7 events at Southern Arkansas and Arkansas State. His stats from the 2021 season: passed for 2,247 yards with 26 touchdowns and had just 5 interceptions. He ran for 235 yards with 5 TDs — and caught a 30-yard scoring pass. He helped Benton win its first home playoff game in Class 5A last season.

Contact Lee at @LeeBrecheen@aol.com




Moss, Cram lead All-Metro girls’ golf team

JOURNAL STAFF

Byrd’s Sydney Moss, who captured the Division I Region 1 championship and came close to defending her Division I state individual title, is the Outstanding Player on the 2022 SBJ All-Metro Girls’ Golf Team.

Moss finished in second place in this year’s state tournament, just two shots behind St. Scholastica’s Sarah Meral. The Byrd senior defeated Meral by seven strokes to capture the 2021 state individual title. She just finished second in the American Junior Golf Association’s Shreveport Open last week, but that was not a factor in her Outstanding Player selection, although it certainly punctuated the pick.

“Sydney is dedicated and mature beyond her years,” Byrd coach Meredith Duncan said of Moss, who will play for the University of Memphis next year. “She has taken her natural talent and worked on not only her physical game but her mental game to get her where she is today.”

Coach of the Year on The Journal’s inaugural All-Metro team is Tim Cram, who led Benton to a seventh-place finish in team competition at the Division I state championships.

“With this only being the third girls’ team we’ve had at Benton, it was a great year,” said Cram, who is in his 28th year leading the Tigers. “The girls played well and qualified for state for the second year in a row. We had two freshmen (Abigail McWilliams and Zoey Anzaluda) and one senior (MacKinley Loyd), and they played well throughout the year.

“Girls’ golf has become very competitive and the competition in the Shreveport-Bossier area is getting stronger each year.”

The All-Metro team, chosen with input from Shreveport-Bossier coaches, consists of the top players based on their performance in the regional and state competitions. The “Best of the Rest” is for those who were given strong consideration for the first team. All players are listed in alphabetical order according to their school.

2022 ALL-METRO GIRLS’ GOLF TEAM

Zoey Anzaluda (Fr.), Benton: Division I state 27th place

MacKinley Loyd (Sr.), Benton: Division I state 23rd place

Abigail Williams (Fr.), Benton: Division I state 7th place; regional T3rd place

Sydney Moss (Sr.), Byrd: Division I state runner-up; regional champion

Riley Walton (So.), Byrd: Division I state 22nd place

Haylee Crowder (So.), Haughton: Division I state 13th place; regional T9th place

Outstanding Player: Sydney Moss, Byrd

Coach of the Year: Tim Cram, Benton

BEST OF THE REST

Anna George (Jr.), Caddo Magnet: Division II regional 29th place

Margaret Shamburg (Jr.), Captain Shreve: Division I regional T13th place

Morgan Davis (Jr.), Haughton: Division I regional 15th place

Ainsley Thompson (So.), Haughton: Division I regional 26th place




Local Class of 2023 has another super sleeper QB

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

The quarterback we will talk about today is a young man that is the poster boy for the word “sleeper” going into his senior season.

Ashton Martin will start his first full season on varsity at a new school, Bossier City’s Parkway High, after transferring across the Red River from Captain Shreve High School.

Four years ago I was told Ashton Martin was someone to watch and I’m buying that ticket. I believe this kid has a chance to be put on the map statewide beginning in August as the football season unfolds. He will come in with nice size, between 6-4, 185 or 190, with room to grow to 6-4 220 easily early in college. He has the tools and the pedigree (see below).

I saw him warm up as a sophomore and get reps in a practice at Captain Shreve and recognized back then that Martin had a chance one day to be a big time QB. I would not be surprised if this kid collects a few college scholarship offers this fall.

Here’s a conversation I recently had with Martin, with questions I thought you might like me to ask the young man.

LEE: “Tell me about your football career so far. When did you start playing football, at what age and when did you transfer to Parkway?”

ASHTON MARTIN: “I started playing football at the age of 4 and fell in love with the game the minute I started. It has been a journey I will never forget. Battling through adversity and injuries has helped me more in the game than anything. The failures taught me how to get back up and keep going. I transferred to Parkway this past January and have loved the time spent at Parkway so far. Getting to be around these guys and this coaching staff has been a blessing. They gave me another chance to compete and play the game I love.”

LEE: “What do you like most about football?”

ASHTON: “The thing I love most about football is getting to compete against these other amazing players and just get better every day. The rush of adrenaline on a Friday night is like nothing else. Just being able to play a game I love and compete each week is my favorite part.”

LEE: “What were your favorite colleges growing up?”

ASHTON: “Growing up I loved watching Louisiana Tech with my dad. I grew up a fan because of almost all of my family has gone there, and my dad being the biggest reason.”

LEE: “Did anybody in your family play college sports?”

ASHTON: “My dad played football and baseball at Louisiana Tech. He was a quarterback and a pitcher at Louisiana Tech. He did go on and reached the NFL.”

LEE: “How much do you like baseball and are you be playing baseball at Parkway? What positions?”

ASHTON: “I enjoy playing baseball with this group of guys. They are a lot of fun and always push you to be better. I will be playing the outfield at Parkway.”

LEE: “What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?”

ASHTON: “I am extremely excited for this year at Parkway. The guys we have on this team make it more exciting. To see what we all can do together and see how much we make each other better is exciting. I just can’t wait to get back on the field with these guys.”




Shreve’s Sepulvado makes sudden shift from sidelines to front office

GATOR BATH:  Plenty of exciting and significant wins came Captain Shreve’s way with Bryant Sepulvado as head football coach.

By TONY TAGLAVORE, Journal Sports

At 8:30 Tuesday morning, Bryant Sepulvado met with his football team in Captain Shreve’s weight room.

He told them they weren’t his team any longer.

Monday evening, Sepulvado accepted an assistant principal’s position at Shreve. The opportunity became available with the recent retirement of principal Ginger Gustavson, and the promotion of Robert Silvie to replace Gustavson.

Sepulvado’s seven seasons as head coach — 13 seasons on staff — are over.

“Probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done is tell my team,” Sepulvado said Tuesday afternoon. “I love those young men like they’re my sons. I’ll be honest with you, I broke down and cried like a three-year-old.”

Keith Burton, Chief Academic Officer for Caddo Parish schools, said the search for a new coach was underway. Despite the season starting in less than three months, Burton said the hire will not be on an interim basis.

Sepulvado said Adam Kirby, who was Shreve’s offensive coordinator last year — his first on staff — has been promoted to acting head coach.

“The time seemed right,” Sepulvado said of making the move from athletics to administration.

“My son (Nolan) is going to be an incoming freshman and wants to play football. For 20 years, I’ve coached everybody else’s kid. Now, it’s time for me to sit back and enjoy my son. He’s the only one we (along with wife Cathy) have, and I want to be that dad that can be at every one of his ball games. If I coach, I won’t be at every one of his ball games.”

Sepulvado takes off his headsets as Shreve’s third all-time winningest coach, with a record of 44-32. Last year, the Gators won their first eight games before finishing 10-2. Sepulvado took Shreve to the Class 5A state playoffs four times. Twice, his teams shared the District 1-5A title.

“I think the program is in a good spot,” Sepulvado said. “If there was ever a time to walk away or feel good about it, now is it. I would never walk away and leave the program in bad shape.”

As for his replacement, Sepulvado said he expects to be asked for his input.

“Really looking for somebody who cares about kids,” Sepulvado said. “That’s one thing I’ve always prided myself on. Yes, we want to win football games and everything else, but we care about kids. We’re going to treat them right, coach them right, and do everything we can to open up doors and try to help them get in college and stay on their grades.”

Chip Kendall, who for the past six seasons has been Shreve’s defensive coordinator, praised Sepulvado and the job he has done.

“Bryant has been the ultimate professional, and the right man to lead Captain Shreve,” Kendall said. “He took over at an extremely difficult time with (former head coach Richard Lary’s) passing, and did an amazing job…. The players and coaches love him and he will be missed. Our job now is to continue the success he started.”

Captain Shreve opens the 2022 season Thursday, Sept. 1, against Loyola College Prep.

“In September, it’s going to be tough,” Sepulvado said of not being on the sideline. “But it will be nice, on the dad’s side of it, to watch my son play.”

Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com




You read it here first: Kamron Evans reminds me of the area’s very best

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

I have seen some athletic, big quarterbacks in my time scouting high school football all over Louisiana since 1990 and an elite pair of Caddo-Bossier products stand above the rest locally because they showed the ability to be dual-threat QB’s at the major college level.

Arnaz Battle from C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport went to Notre Dame and played a few years in the NFL. He was a dynamic high school player, and after a very good run with the Fighting Irish, cashed some checks but nothing like what is going in the bank for Dak Prescott from Haughton High. There’s really not a description required for him – a record-shattering, extremely successful career at Mississippi State before he surprised a lot of pro experts, but not himself, by rapidly emerging as the franchise QB for the Dallas Cowboys. You know that already.

What may surprise you? I believe next in line could be Kamron Evans from Shreveport’s Huntington High School, a Class 2023 prospect about to begin his senior season in a rising Raiders’ program.

As soon as I saw tape of his junior year, like HHS coach Stephen Dennis told me, Evans clearly has the “IT Factor” and has grown into the QB spot. At 6-3 and 215 carved pounds, with 4.55 speed (in the 40-yard dash) or “football” 4.65 speed, Kam has a cannon arm to go with poise in the pocket. He is a smooth player to watch.

Evans had a special 2021 season throwing for 3,630 yards, completing 62 percent of his passes with 44 touchdowns and only seven picks. Can you say WOW and WOW? Those are exceptional numbers. He broke many Huntington HS records along the way.

Here’s a compelling comment from Coach Dennis: “I could talk for hours about Kamron Evans and his on-the-field accomplishments, however, the thing that stands out to me the most is what he does with his time off the field. Kamron displays true servant-leadership every day, a trait rare in a young man his age. Kam has started a mentoring program for kids. During the school year he would meet on Zoom with elementary students and talk to them about how he has used athletics to keep his mind focused and out of trouble. Kam has also organized two ‘high school field days’ to give the young people his age in the area something safe and fun to do.

“In addition to all this, Kamron has organized a free youth camp that is run and coached by a lot of the top football talent in Shreveport-Bossier coming up on June 14,” said Dennis. “This to me is what makes Kamron truly special. Football will end one day for all athletes, but the relationships Kamron is sowing in the community will truly have a lasting impact. He is the personification of our motto at Huntington to ‘leave it better than you found it.’”

NOTES ON KAMRON EVANS: All-State Class 4A in 2021. His first offers going into his junior year are Northwestern State and ULM, with several more colleges talking to him. He’s staying busy this summer and will attend many on-campus camps in order to compete and prove he is one of the best QB’s in Louisiana, a rising prospect who could be a prize signee in the Class of 2023.

I also want to share my condolences with this young man’s family. Kam recently lost his beloved grandmother.




Calvary’s Walker named Outstanding Player; Legg top coach on 1A All-State teams

TOP CAVS:  After state championship seasons, Calvary’s Ramsey Walker (left) was named the Outstanding Player in state 1A softball and Jason Legg the top baseball coach in 1A by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. 

JOURNAL STAFF

Winning state championships will bring in postseason honors and Calvary Baptist reaped those benefits from its softball and baseball teams’ recent state titles.

Lady Cavalier shortstop Ramsey Walker was named the Outstanding Player on the Class 1A All-State softball team and baseball coach Jason Legg won the Coach of the Year honor on the 1A baseball All-State team chosen by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and announced today.

Walker, a sophomore, helped lead the Lady Cavaliers to their second straight Division IV state title and fourth championship in six state LHSAA tournaments. She hit .553 with nine home runs and 31 RBI.

Joining Walker on the team was outfielder D.J. Lynch, also a sophomore. Lynch hit .427 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI.

Legg, in his first year as the head coach at Calvary, took the Cavaliers to their fifth state baseball championship and first since 2019. CBA finished the season with a 26-15 record, facing a non-district slate heavy with higher-classification opponents.

Named to the All-State first team from Calvary were senior infielder Caden Flowers and sophomore outfielder Aubrey Hermes. Flowers finished with a .400 batting average, 25 RBI, 28 runs scored and 27 stolen bases. Hermes hit .371 with 18 RBI, scored 35 runs and stole 36 bases.

Photos by JOHN PENROD/JOHN JAMES MARSHALL




COACHES’ CORNER: ‘Uncle Larry’ knew when it was time to go

UNCLE LARRY:  His nephew, professional golfer David Toms, gained more fame but Larry Toms stacked up many more victories in his high school basketball coaching career. 

EDITOR’S NOTE — They have seen it all (or at least a lot of it) and they’ve certainly got stories to tell. The Shreveport-Bossier Journal begins a summer series of weekly articles featuring prominent retired local coaches.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

On the night of Feb. 12, 1980, there was a 13-year-old boy riding on a school bus on the way back from Natchitoches and noticed that things seemed a little different. So he tapped the head coach on the shoulder and said “Uncle Larry, you might want to look around.”

Larry Toms, who was actually the second cousin of the boy’s father, said “I know. You better take a good look, son, because this is going to be my last trip.”

And with that, the basketball coaching career of Larry Toms ended. “I had a rule about talking on the bus after we lost,” he says now. “But once the girls and boys started sharing the same bus, you couldn’t stop it.”

(You might be interested to know that the 13-year-old boy who served as the team’s statistician and anything else “Uncle Larry” needed him to do  was David Toms, who traded his pencil and scorebook for a set of golf clubs and became a star on the PGA Tour.)

He will be 85 years old this month, but you can still find Larry Toms in high school gyms in Shreveport-Bossier during the season. Especially when the Bossier Bearkats are playing.

Toms made a terrific run – he won back-to-back state championships at Jonesboro-Hodge  in 1964 and 1965 – and had a number of outstanding teams at Bossier in 1970s.

He was always good for a colorful quote when he was coaching, so it is no surprise that when he wasn’t coaching high school basketball, Toms sometimes would take it upon himself to become a poet. And you don’t need to guess what his favorite subject was. Here’s an original selection from the early 1970s:

Oh, the agony of it all, the game of basketball

When your back is to the wall and you are about to fall

To hell with the refs and the sadistic fans

 And even the one who invented it all.

Toms grew up in Saline, graduating in 1955, and went to Northwestern State. He played on the freshman team, but got cut from the varsity and transferred to East Texas Baptist after a year and half. He began coaching at Sikes in 1959, spent a year at Sterlington and before taking over at Jonesboro-Hodge for five years.

The Tigers beat Neville 56-53 to win the Class 2A (the second-highest classification) in 1964 and followed with a 73-70 win in the 1965 finals.

“Winning the state championship in 1964 and 1965 was the highlight,” he says of his coaching career. “At that time we had pretty good height. We had four 6-foot-4 (players) and a 6-1 guard. That was rare back then. We won the state two years in a row running a 1-2-2 zone. That was before the 3-point line, of course. We tried to take everything we could out of the paint. Nobody could score inside and it worked.”

It was all part of the best coaching advice Toms ever got and it came from his father.

“He told me ‘If the zone defense were no good, the pros wouldn’t have outlawed it,’ ” he said. “I liked that zone. I’d camouflage it and change it up a little bit. Different people attack a zone different ways, so we would change it up so you couldn’t tell it from another defense.”

Interestingly, Toms became a good friend of basketball legend Bob Knight, who played almost exclusively a man-to-man defense.

Toms had several outstanding teams at Bossier, particularly his first one (1970-71) that was 31-6. He had two playoff runs ended by teams that went on to win the state championship and another that reached the finals.

But he is still a faithful follower of the Bearkats during their impressive run of success in the last decade. And if you’re a coach and want some advice, just ask him.

“Never practice over two hours and be very organized when you do practice,” he says. “I didn’t like to run a lot of sprints or bleachers. Whatever running we did would involve the ball game and we would get conditioned that way. My guys loved practice. It was just like a ball game. Love your team and make sure they love the game.”

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL




Northwood’s QB is unheralded now, but this sleeper could sparkle

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine

This year’s Louisiana QB room for recruiting the Class 2023 has two huge headliners everybody following the chase instantly knows. The whale in the pool is Arch Manning of Newman High School in New Orleans, whose choices are reportedly down to Georgia, Texas and LSU.

We all know his family and its incredible quarterback legacy: uncles Eli and Peyton Manning, and grandfather Archie Manning, all great NFL players. Many believe Arch’s skill-set tops the Manning family tree.

Then there’s Eli Holstein of Zachary High, who at 6-4, 225 pounds and with a great resume’, is very worthy of his commitment to Alabama.

But there’s an under-the-radar prospect local fans, and recruiters, should appreciate — Mason Welch, who plays for Northwood HS in Shreveport. This is a kid who has a great arm, great feet in the pocket and great size at 6-4 and 220 pounds.

I’ve seen him play a few times on film and he is a Division I quarterback with lots of upside.  What I love about him too is he’s got a calm demeanor although he hasn’t played as much football as Arch or Eli (Holstein) as far as games started in high school. The sky is the limit going into his senior season for Northwood this fall.

Just for memory’s sake, it was six years ago that a lightly-recruited kid, Marquis Stevenson was playing receiver and all over the field for (you guessed it) Northwood. He ultimately signed with the Houston Cougars and exploded in college. He caught 147 passes for 2,269 yards and 22 touchdowns at UH. You probably know Stevenson was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the sixth  round, same as another Shreveport product, Tre’Davious White, the great cornerback at Green Oaks, LSU and now in Buffalo.

Stevenson did not get an offer from the Tigers or many other name-brand programs, but his case illustrates how local football competition continues to produce prospects who excel at high levels given the chance.

So keep an eye on Mason Welch at Northwood all fall and come Signing Day 2023. I believe there’s more than two national-level talents at quarterback coming out in Louisiana in the Class of 2023.

NOTES ON MASON WELCH: He has a 4.5 GPA at Northwood. He led the Falcons to a 9-3 record in 2021 and the state quarterfinals, throwing for 1,990 yards and 21 touchdowns. His first D-I offer was from Northwestern State. Welch also has an offer from Division III Louisiana Christian in Pineville.  He’s getting attention from UL Lafayette, Southern Miss, Texas State and Lamar. Camps he’s attended:  Northwestern State, UL Lafayette, and recently, LSU. He plans to attend camp at Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Ouachita Baptist, Lamar and Houston this summer. He’s clocked a 4.7 40-yard dash. 




High school upheaval: LHSAA vote creates massive playoff shift

LHSAA LEADERS: The Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Executive Committee voted Thursday to dramatically alter its playoff structure, impacting Caddo Parish schools.

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

After a uneventful “housekeeping” first day of the LHSAA summer meetings in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, the second day proved to be anything but routine as the LHSAA Executive Committee voted Thursday to 16-5 to adopt “Option 2” as the definition for “select” schools.

That vote has reshaped the prep playoff landscape locally, and around the state, in nearly all high school team sports.

Now, any high school that is a laboratory, charter, tuition-based, magnet school or schools with magnet components, or parishes who have open enrollment at all of their public schools will be considered a “select” school.

Usually, big changes in the association are voted on at the association’s annual convention in January. However, the LHSAA leadership used LHSAA Bylaw 4.4.4 which states the LHSAA must “make special rules to effect the spirit of fair play and good sportsmanship” since reconciliation proposals at past conventions have been unsuccessful.

“This is not about hijacking the process,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said to the executive committee before Thursday’s vote. “But this is my job as executive director and your job as committee members to try to figure out a solution fair to all.”

However, there are many school districts across the state of Louisiana, like Caddo Parish, where athletic directors and principals would beg to disagree with Bonine’s assessment.

Of all Caddo Parish schools, there is only one – Woodlawn – which does not draw from outside of their attendance zone. Prior to Thursday’s vote, only Byrd fit into the “select” category for postseason among Caddo public schools.

The Bossier Parish school system should not have to adjust to the Thursday vote as all the public schools are not impacted by the shift.

Northwood High School, which is not a magnet, but does have a F.A.M.E. program which attracts students from outside of its attendance zone, is planning to petition the LHSAA to remain a non-select school, according to head football coach and athletic director Austin Brown.

Captain Shreve head football coach Bryant Sepulvado said Thursday’s vote came as no surprise.

“Honestly, I wasn’t shocked,” Sepulvado said. “We saw this coming four months ago. The biggest issue I have is that it’s a principals’ organization and the principals were not allowed to vote on this. I think that’s bad business on the part of the executive committee (which is comprised of a handful of principals from around the state.”

North Caddo head football coach and athletic director Johnny Kavanaugh shared a similar sentiment.

“I don’t understand the urgency on the part of the executive committee,” Kavanaugh. “We’ve always been told it’s a principals’ organization. I don’t understand not allowing the principals to vote on something as huge as this. It’s a little disturbing.”

According to Geauxpreps.com, school systems will have until June 22 to change open enrollment policy in order to meet criteria to be considered a non-select.

“In the grand scheme of things, the conversations that we had with our board members and who they represent, was that the second option had some momentum,” Bonine told media after the meeting. “After hearing the dialogue today, I think that was the best option we could have got out of today’s meeting to move forward until we know something different.”

Bonine will find out in January at the association’s annual meeting if LHSAA principals agree with the executive committee’s actions on Thursday. If not, they will have the option to vote to repeal the changes, but not until after fall sports contest state championships.

Photo by HUNTER BOWER, Geauxpreps.com




Travinski hopes to provide postseason pop for LSU

LOCAL TIGER: Former Loyola and Airline All-Stater Hayden Travinski and the LSU Tigers open play this evening in the Hattiesburg Regional.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

That wasn’t much secret as to what Hayden Travinski was trying to do when he was playing baseball in high school.

“I just tried to hit the ball as hard as possible,” the LSU redshirt sophomore said.

He’s still hitting it plenty hard, but things are a lot different for the player who spent his first two years at Loyola and then his last two at Airline (he was All-State at both schools).

Travinski, who this spring has been used mostly as a pinch hitter but has had 16 starts at catcher and designated hitter, has six home runs – the most of any LSU player who is not a regular starter.

No matter how he is used, he is dangerous for opposing teams when he steps in the batter’s box.

He will be looking to get his chances this weekend when the Tigers play in the Hattiesburg Regional of the NCAA Tournament. With a 38-20 overall record, the Tigers are the No. 2 seed.

“In high school, I really didn’t really go up there (to the plate) with a plan,” Travinski said. “I’ve learned there’s a lot more that goes into it.”

There have been plenty of things he has had to learn since becoming a Tiger, mainly about dealing with injuries. He had his first knee surgery during his junior year at Airline and has had two more since coming to Baton Rouge.

“I’ve been able to contribute throughout the year,” he said. “My main thing has been being healthy. I see that as a success, to be able to play throughout the season.”

Travinski is batting .242 with three doubles and 13 RBI to go with his home run total. In LSU’s series win over Florida in late March, he hit home runs in both of the games he played. The next weekend, he had a pair of multi-hit games against Auburn and then hit two home runs against Grambling a few days later.

“All around, I think I’m a lot different,” Travinski said of the difference of him from high school. “I understand the game a lot more and I understand myself as a player a lot more. I feel like I’ve improved in every facet, whether that’s offensively or defensively; just knowing my strengths and trying to build on the weaknesses. Plus, I try to be better mentally, more controlled, having a plan, things like that you learn as you get older.”

A year ago, he had 12 starts in 29 games played with four home runs and 13 RBI.

“Last year it was kind of similar in pinch hitting,” he said. “You never know when you are going to play, so I just try to control the things I can control and put myself in the best position I can possibly be in.”

Travinski will try to put the Tigers in the best position when they take on third-seeded Kennesaw State (35-26, RPI 46) at 6 p.m. today and for the rest of the regional.

“Honestly, I feel like we could have had a better record in the SEC and overall,” he said. “We haven’t had some of our best players lately. But getting them back, getting quality at bats and playing like we can in the field … If you combine all those things, I think we have no other option but for things to go in our favor.”

Photo courtesy of LSU Athletics




LHSAA considering major shifts in alignment, playoffs

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

The LHSAA Summer Meetings began yesterday, but all who have their eyes on Louisiana high school athletics will be following today’s session as the Executive Committee uses a seldom mentioned sportsmanship rule to help define the term “select” as it relates to how schools are classified for championships. 

In the LHSAA bylaws rule 4.4.4 gives the LHSAA permission to “make special rules to effect the spirit of fair play and sportsmanship.” The meeting comes after numerous attempts by LHSAA to bring the association back together from the split, which started in 2013 from a football-only proposal from Winnfield High School and quickly spread to other sports.

The latest attempt came in January at the LHSAA’s annual convention when Class 5A principals voted to keep the status quo. 

Here are the options on the table at today’s 9 a.m. Executive Committee meeting, led by LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine. Redefining how the organization considers schools as “select” could be any of these three.

Option 1: Public or private schools that have established academic criterion that determines admission or retention.

Option 2: Lab schools, magnet schools, school with magnet components, charter schools, parishes that allow open enrollment at all its public schools and tuition-based schools in the definition.

Option 3: Private or public schools that do not receive money from the Louisiana Minimum Foundation Program or receive and academic letter grade from the Louisiana Department of Education. 

Along with today’s “select” definition discussion, Bonine will also address issues with playoffs in football, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. The problem, according to popular opinion, is too many sub-par teams are qualifying for postseason play.

According to Geauxpreps.com, there were 35 football teams in the 2021 LHSAA football playoffs who qualified for the postseason with losing records. Of the 24 schools that qualified for the LHSAA Class 1A football playoffs, only 11 had records above .500.

Bonine will present a plan to the Executive Committee addressing the situation.

Coaches across the state of Louisiana have seen this waffling before from the LHSAA. While he has read about the agenda of the LHSAA’s summer meetings, Haughton’s Jason Brotherton is unsure how any decision made will change the landscape of high school athletics in the state. 

 “It seems to me they’ve found a rule they can use to pass what they want to pass,” said the Haughton head football coach and athletic director. “The frustrating part is that we vote at the convention and then they (LHSAA leadership) go back and don’t like something and so we have to revote on what we have already voted on.”

In Wednesday’s session, the executive committee approved championship locations for the next two school years. Baseball, softball, and swimming championships will contested in Sulphur, volleyball and powerlifting championships will take place in Lafayette, girls basketball and soccer championships will be played in Hammond, boys basketball championships will be played in Lake Charles, tennis championships will be held in Monroe, and wrestling championships will again be held in Shreveport-Bossier. 




Wednesday’s Sports Scoreboard

Wednesday

College Baseball

NAIA World Series (Lewiston, Idaho)

Lewis-Clark State 5, LSUS 1

Golf

AJGA Shreveport Junior Open (At Querbes Park)

BOYS

T1, Alejandro Fierro Saul, Howey I. the Hills, Fla., 66
T1, Carson Cooper, Spring, Texas, 66
T3. Joshua Achord, Abita Springs, La., 67
T3, Noah McWilliams, Benton, La., 67

LOCAL FINISHERS

T5, Charlie Bell, Shreveport, La., 68
T18, James Holtsclaw, Shreveport, La., 71
T29, Peyton Johnson, Shreveport, La., 72
T29, Grant Reagan, Shreveport, La., 72
T42, Madden Sawrie, Bossier City, La., 74
T48, Hudson Greene, Bossier City, La., 76
T49, Shep Smith, Shreveport, La., 77

GIRLS

T1, Nicole Iniakov, Prunedale, Calif., 68
T2, Anna Kate Nichols, Little Rock, Ark., 70
T2, Sydney Moss, Shreveport, La., 70
T4, Summer Lee, Plano, Texas, 71
T4, Jasmine Do, Cypress, Texas, 71

Volleyball Nations League (Brookshire Grocery Arena)

Poland def. Canada (3-1), 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-20
Japan def. Korea (3-0), 25-17, 25-16, 25-11

Photo by JOHN JAMES MARSHALL




Young, Schmidt net All-Metro girls tennis honors

JOURNAL STAFF

With her performances in the Division I regional and state tournaments, Byrd’s Bella Young has been named Outstanding Player on the 2022 SBJ All-Metro Girls’ Tennis Team.

Young, the regional singles champion, cruised through the first three rounds at state before falling in the semifinals to eventual runner-up Ella Mancuso of team champion St. Joseph’s Academy. Sisters (and two of the three “Young triplets”) Sydney and Morgan Young also made it to the state semifinals in doubles, which helped Byrd secure third place in the team competition.

“Bella is a true competitor in every sense of the word,” said Byrd coach Stevie Schmidt, Coach of the Year on the inaugural All-Metro team. “No matter the situation, she always can dig deep and raise her level of play.”

The All-Metro team, chosen with input from Shreveport-Bossier coaches, consists of six singles players and three doubles teams and is based on their performance in the regional and state competitions. The “Best of the Rest” is for those who were given strong consideration for the first team. All players are listed in alphabetical order according to their school.

2022 ALL-METRO GIRLS’ TENNIS TEAM

Singles:

Raelee Craft (Sr.), Benton: Division II regional quarterfinalist

Bess Hubble (Sr.), Byrd: Division I regional quarterfinalist

Bella Young (Jr.), Byrd: Division I state semifinalist; regional champion

Thuy Chau (Sr.), Caddo Magnet: Division II regional semifinalist

Natalie Sin (Fr.), Caddo Magnet: Division II state quarterfinalist; regional runner-up

Faith Quarles (Sr.), Captain Shreve: Division I regional semifinalist

Doubles:

Sydney Young (Jr.)/Morgan Young (Jr.), Byrd: Division I state semifinalists; regional champions

Tuyen Chen (Sr.)/Neelie Lim (Sr.), Caddo Magnet: Division II regional semifinalists

Taylor Nash (Jr.)/Mary Elberson (So.), Loyola: Division III regional runners-up

Outstanding Player: Bella Young, Byrd

Coach of the Year: Stevie Schmidt, Byrd

BEST OF THE REST

Singles:

Addison Yarbrough (Fr.), Haughton: Division II regional quarterfinalist

Stella Marie Hobley-Depestre (Sr), Loyola: Division III regional quarterfinalist

Tristin Knox (Sr.), Loyola: Division III regional quarterfinalist

Doubles:

Katherine Ferrier (Sr.)/Baylor Thornton (Sr.), Captain Shreve: Division I regional quarterfinalists

Mallory Benton (So.)/Shelby Haley (So.), Haughton: Division II regional quarterfinalists

Addison Knox (Fr.)/Cassidy Kirk (Fr.), Loyola: Division III regional quarterfinalists

Julia Hancock (Jr.)/Katelyn Pavlick (Jr.), Loyola: Division III regional quarterfinalists




Graf, Mawhinney lead SBJ All-Metro boys tennis

JOURNAL STAFF

After defending his Division III regional doubles championship with Brannigan Bissell and then getting to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, Loyola’s Sanders Graf is the Outstanding Player of the 2022 SBJ All-Metro Boys’ Tennis Team.

“Sanders combines good groundstrokes with great court awareness, which makes him an exceptional doubles player,” said Loyola coach Mike Mawhinney.

Mawhinney, who led the Flyers to the regional championship and a tie for fourth place at the state tournament, takes the Coach of the Year honors on the inaugural All-Metro team. All of the Loyola boys’ team qualified for the state tournament. Players who made it to the quarterfinals of the regional tournaments qualified for their state championships.

“We had pretty good depth on the boys’ team,” said Mawhinney. “Everybody went to state. They all made it. I was very pleased to take the whole team to state.”

The All-Metro team, chosen with input from Shreveport-Bossier coaches, consists of six singles players and three doubles teams and is based on their performance in regional and state championships.

The “Best of the Rest” is for those who were given strong consideration for the first team. All players are listed in alphabetical order according to their school.

ALL-METRO BOYS’ TENNIS TEAM:

Singles:

Drew Kolniak (Fr.), Airline: Division I regional champion

Cayden Simmons (Jr.), Calvary: Division IV state quarterfinalist

Hayden McFarlain (Sr.), Captain Shreve: Division I regional quarterfinalist

Alex Jayroe (8th), Evangel: Division I state quarterfinalist

Zach Haley (Sr.), Haughton: Division II regional runner-up; state quarterfinalist

Ravi Ahuja (Fr.), Loyola: Division III regional champion

Doubles:

Zach Hicks (Sr.)/Jake Brown (Jr.), Calvary: Division IV state runners-up; regional champions

Brannigan Bissell (Sr.)/Sanders Graf (Jr.), Loyola: Division III regional champions; state quarterfinalists

Patrick Gooszen (Sr.)/Charles Valiulis (Jr.), Loyola: Division III regional runners-up; state quarterfinalists

Outstanding Player: Sanders Graf, Loyola

Coach of the Year: Mike Mawhinney, Loyola

BEST OF THE REST

Singles:

Madden Sawrie (So.), Airline: Division I regional quarterfinalist

Alex Gonzales (Sr.), Benton: Division II regional quarterfinalist

Stander Olsan (Jr.), Loyola: Division III regional quarterfinalist

Doubles:

Ronit Ahluwalia (So.)/Carter Priestly (So.), Airline: Division I regional quarterfinalists

Ethan Hood (Sr.)/Daniel Wright (Jr.), Caddo Magnet: Division II regional quarterfinalists

Thach Chau (Jr.)/Marshall O’Callaghan (So.), Caddo Magnet: Division II regional quarterfinalists

Chase Stripland (Sr.)/Miles Williams (Sr.), Calvary: Division IV regional quarterfinalists

Mason Batts (Jr.)/Bryce Colvin (7th), Calvary: Division IV regional quarterfinalists

James Auer (Jr.)/Mark Quarles (Fr.), Captain Shreve: Division I, regional quarterfinalists

Bo Bowman (Jr.)/Gregor Ghali (Jr.), Loyola: Division III regional quarterfinalists




The 2019 Flyer of the Year lets one fly, just in time

WESTBOUND FLYER: Loyola graduate Luke Jackson, competing for Duke at the NCAA East Regional track and field championships, earned a spot at the NCAA Outdoors in Oregon with a personal best javelin throw Wednesday.

By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports

This was it. The moment of truth was at hand for Luke Jackson.

All of the throws in the javelin competition at Wednesday’s NCAA East Regional in Bloomington, Ind., had been made. Except one – Luke Jackson of Duke University.

The Top 12 competitors would advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., and Jackson stood at No. 16.

But he still had that one last throw, in a series of six attempts in the competition. If he did it, no one could knock him out.

To make the scene even more dramatic, rain began to fall. Jackson, a Bossier City native, figured it might be a good idea to seek out Duke’s throwing coach, Angelo Posillico, for some advice.

“Only weak people let this bother them,” Posillico told Jackson.

“Once he said that, I just felt ready,” Jackson said. “I knew I could do it.”

And he did.

Jackson threw a personal-best 70.54 meters (231 feet, 5 inches) and placed eighth overall. The former two-time state champion at Loyola will be at the NCAA Championships in two weeks.

“I set it as a really broad goal at the beginning of the year,” said Jackson ,who is a redshirt sophomore. “I knew that if I did my best, I could make it.”

But injuries have slowed down his progress. Jackson has fought elbow pain throughout the year so he wasn’t sure qualifying for the national meet was in the cards.

“The competition was stacked (at the regional),” he said. “I knew I had to be at the top of my game to be able to even compete with all of those guys.”

To avoid a recurrence of the injury, Jackson did not throw much leading up to the regionals. “When I was warming up, I started feeling some tightness in my arm,” he said. “Coach got me to relax and get my mind right before I competed.”

His first two throws were in the 64-65 meter range – not nearly good enough to get in the Top 12 – but he noticed an interesting development in the competition. “Some of the guys who were supposed to throw really far didn’t and some of the others who I didn’t think could were throwing far,” he said. “I had seen a ton of great throws. I knew I had to put something together.”

Just like when a batter hits a long home run or shooter knows instantly when a 3-pointer is going in the basket, Jackson knew he had done something special when the javelin left his hand on that final throw.

“I knew it was far, I just didn’t know how far,” he said. “As soon as that number came up, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.”

Jackson had thrown 70 meters twice during the season but “I didn’t think I would at this competition,” he said. “I thought maybe I’d throw 67 or 68 (meters). I just wanted to make it (to the national meet). That’s all that mattered to me.”

As he prepares to go to Eugene, Jackson said not much will change. “I’ll probably just go do the same things I have been doing to try to stay healthy,” he said. “Really not throwing at all because I know how to throw at this point in the season. I just want to make sure my arm is healthy.”

At Loyola, Jackson took the javelin because he liked the analytical approach. He studied all of the numbers involved and was technically very sound. “I’m way less like that now,” he said. “It’s more art to me now than science.”

He had a personal best of 65 meters (210 feet) in high school and went to Duke for the combination of academics (he was the 2019 Flyer of the Year at Loyola) and track opportunities.

“I wouldn’t have believed for a second that I would be here now,” Jackson said of qualifying for the NCAAs. “I’m super excited.”

Photo courtesy of Duke Athletics




SPOTLIGHT: Alan Carter can’t just settle into retirement

COMEBACK KID:  Alan Carter started coaching high school football locally in 1977. He’s tried to kick the habit twice, but can’t, and his love for the game has him back in the business at Red River HS.

By JERRY BYRD JR., Journal Sports

Welcome back, Carter…again! And for the Bulldogs on the Red River High School football team’s defense, that’s Coach Carter as in longtime, hall of fame coach Alan Carter, who will — once again — be on the sidelines (or in press boxes) this fall as the new defensive coordinator in Coushatta.

“He was the first call I made when I was hired,” Red River head coach Jeff Harper said. 

The two had become friends working on the Loyola staff in 2015 and had stayed in touch ever since, even after Carter retired in 2017. Harper took over at Red River about this time last year.

“When I talked to him the first time he said he had too many plans for the summer and spending time with the grandkids,” Harper said.

But Harper didn’t take ‘no’ for a final answer. He wanted his friend, who is in the C.E. Byrd High School Hall of Fame for his successful tenure (51-33 from 1990-97) as head coach of the Yellow Jackets, coaching alongside him in Coushatta.

“I talked to him again in December,” Harper said. “He is so humble. He said, ‘The first thing I want to tell you is there are better people out there.’ I told him our schedule, and told him to give me a (salary) number.”

It is the first time Carter, who started his coaching career at Jesuit as an assistant to Anthony Catanese in 1977, is back in the game since he was the defensive coordinator for Loyola College Prep. 

“I didn’t do good with retirement,” Carter admitted. “I’ve been blessed with good health, and I knew that if I was ever going to do it again that now is the time. You never know when you’re going to get another opportunity.”

Carter didn’t have to meet with Harper. They had spent enough time together during two years in the press box coaching for LCP. He did meet with Red River superintendent Alison Hughes and Red River principal J.C. Dickey.

“The administration cares about athletics,” Carter said. “That makes a huge difference. The facilities are incredible.”

But the biggest draw for Carter wasn’t his coaching buddy, the administration, or the facilities.

“All that other stuff is great, but the kids are the main reason,” Carter said. “I had the opportunity to meet a few of them. They love to play the game.” 

“I told Alan when he came that our kids are faster than any defense he has ever coached, they play violently, and they’re coachable,” Harper said.

 After eight practices and a spring game against Cedar Creek, Carter has gone from retired to revitalized. 

With the speed Red River has, Carter installed the 3-4 defense. Carter called Scott Abernathy, who retired in January from his defensive coordinator position at Huntington High School.

“He really helped me a lot,” Carter said. 

Carter, who was then the head coach at Byrd, gave Abernathy his first coaching job in the summer of 1993. Carter retired from Byrd, then was drawn back to coaching several years later.

He’s 92-75 overall as a head coach at Loyola (11-9, 1982-83), Parkway (20-13, 1987-89), Byrd and Loyola again (10-20, 2013-15, then two more years as the Flyers’ DC). He’s also been influential in the careers of many coaching colleagues, not to overlook those of kids he’s coached.

While he learned a new defense this spring, he said not much has changed since he last coached in 2017.

“When I came out of retirement the first time, I remember the spread offense – and playing fast – had really become commonplace across the board,” Carter said. “That was a big change, but not much has changed in the last five years.”

Another thing that hasn’t changed is the support Carter has received from his wife, Cindy.

“She has always been a great coach’s wife,” Carter said. “She told me if this is what I wanted to do, she supported me. I think she was more excited than I was.”

Nobody has been more excited to have Carter in Coushatta than his new boss.

“The first thing he asked me for was more individual time with his players,” Harper said. “We usually have one – maybe two – periods for that. Coach Carter wanted three, so I gave him three. Seeing him teach our guys about keys and reads and the importance of their eyes, it’s been great to see the players soaking up the knowledge. We value his attention to detail.” 

With the spring honeymoon period in the books, it’s now time for the real work of contending for district championships to begin for the Bulldogs — as well as for their new defensive coordinator.




SPOTLIGHT: Little things mean a lot

FLYING TIME AGAIN: Before junior college and Louisiana Tech, Riggs Easterling was a four-time baseball letterwinner at Loyola in Shreveport.

By TEDDY ALLEN, Journal Sports

Louisiana Tech’s Riggs Easterling is a 5-9, 170-pound infielder who has one hit, two runs scored, eight putouts and four assists in two starts and nine games played for the 38-18 Bulldogs.

So while the sophomore isn’t a cornerstone, he’s a piece of the puzzle with a chance to be a bigger piece at any moment, depending on what mood the Baseball Gods are in as Tech heads into the Conference USA Tournament today at 12:30, weather permitting, against Charlotte in Hattiesburg, Miss.

After two years at Mississippi Delta Community College, the former Loyola College Prep star has “helped us become the team we are,” coach Lane Burroughs said of his Tech team that finished 20-10 in the league, second only to a record-setting Southern Miss team ranked 14th nationally by DI Baseball.

Even in the big things, it’s always the little things that get a player or a team there.

“Everybody’s played a role,” Burroughs said. “Each player is a piece of the puzzle, a link in the chain, and Riggs has earned his link.”

With no offers, Easterling went to juco for playing time and earned it as Mississippi Delta’s everyday shortstop. In the 2020 virus-shortened season, he hit .300, scored 12 runs and stole eight bases in 14 games. Last year he had 20 RBI, eight doubles and three homers in 31 games.

“Riggs can run,” Burroughs said. “One of the biggest games of the year, we may not win it if Riggs is not in the game at that moment.”

That was at LSU in late March when Easterling found himself with the ball on the third-base line, the Tigers’ best player, Dylan Crews, caught in no-man’s land after his teammate had failed to bunt on a suicide squeeze. Catcher Jorge Corona threw to Easterling to trap Crews.

Oh … and it was bottom of the 11th, one out, tie game.

“Should I throw it back to Jorge?” Easterling said, remembering “everything” about the play. “Do I try to get him with my speed?”

The race was on. “I thought, ‘I’ll chase him.’ Then he got almost to the plate and I dove.”

So did Crews. Easterling won.

The game continued, and Tech won in 12, 7-6, for a two-game home-and-home 2022 sweep of the Tigers.

“I had to get him,” Easterling said. “I wasn’t too amped emotionally on the outside, but in my head … well, things were different.”

Things started getting really different for Easterling when he came to a Showcase at Tech last summer.

“He’s a good defender, good with the bat, solid in the classroom, a hard worker and a great young man who pushes our starters at practice and never has a bad day,” Burroughs said. “Everybody on the team loves him. He just wanted a chance; we seem to have had some success with guys who’ve just wanted an opportunity.”

“Everything I wanted was here,” Easterling said. “Great program. Great new facility. Great teammates; I knew some already. Coach said I could walk on in the fall and compete for a spot. That’s all I wanted. He told me to stay on my toes, do your work, be ready.”

He’s had four fellow Shreveporters to talk shop with, all Byrd High grads: fifth-year guys Jonathan Fincher and Steele Netterville, and freshmen Jackson Walker and Slade Netterville, who he’ll play ball and share a host family with in Indianapolis this summer.

“It’s been a bit of a humbling year for him, but he told me it’s the most fun he’s had playing baseball,” said mom Stephanie. “It’s more about the friends he’s made than the innings he’s played. He’s with such a group of leaders; I think it says a lot about the type of players and coaches he’s with and the culture of the program.”

Easterling said the seniors have been “preparing us and guiding us the right way” with an “aura around them that rubs off on us and carries the team. The energy’s great.”

But even after last year’s 42-20 season and this spring’s success, Easterling feels his team is “still underdogs in everyone’s eyes,” he said. “I’m not sure we’re recognized for how much talent this team has. We still haven’t really ‘gone on a run,’ so to speak. We really haven’t gotten hot yet. To win this many games not playing our best, that’s the sign of a great team.

“I like where we are,” he said. “Now it’s ‘go’ time.”

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu