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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Summer league wrap up

The Huntington boys defeated the BTW boys to win the summer league championship on Thursday night.

There was a good crowd at the game. And even Huntington coach Mack Jones remarked about the intensity of the game for a summer contest.

A lot of teams helped themselves this summer.

Here are the teams I expect to contend next year out of the summer league: Huntington, BTW and Fair Park are no-brainers. Loyola could be a team to watch just because of Charles Winborne.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kudos to Huntington girls team

The Huntington girls basketball team wrapped up the summer league championship with a 40-31 win over Woodlawn tonight.

The bigger question now is will Huntington be able to contend in District 1-5A with perennial power Southwood.

“I think we’ve got the ingredients to mix and match with the best of them,’’ Huntington coach Bobby Rusley said. “You’ve got to see when the time comes if the girls’ heads are on straight.’’

Southwood did not participate in the summer league.

But history would indicate Southwood will be a strong challenger any year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Calvary's got big plans

Calvary unveiled its new field recently, and giving the team the look of a NFL squad.

The school spent $850,000 to have FieldTurf artificial surface installed. It's the start of many projects athletic director Johnny Booty has for the program.

The FieldTurf surface is the same as what the Patriots and Seahawks use, and a higher quality field that what was installed at the Independence Bowl. The Cavs met Byrd for 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday night, and despite a brief rain shower, the field was perfect to play on. It's also a softer synthetic blade of grass. One complaint of other artificial surfaces was their proficiency at creating turf burn on the arms of falling or diving players.

There are big changes in store for Calvary. It could be the foundations of a program ready to knock Evangel off the map.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A name to remember

UCP will be in just its second season of Louisiana High School Athletic Association competition. So there isn't much known about the school's athletic teams.

But this summer, UCP has had a star of its own on the girls basketball team.

Artesia Edwards scored 37 of her team's 42 points tonight in a loss to Fair Park in the summer league.

Edwards has been a consistent scorer this summer and she'll be someone to remember in the winter.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Coaching vacancies

Summer - at least on the school calendar around here - is nearing the halfway point and there are still some vacant coaching positions.

Byrd is apparently getting close to naming LSUS assistant Al Cantwell as its new baseball coach.

Northwood is closing in on naming a boys basketball coach and North DeSoto is looking for one as well.

There's been quite a bit of turnover this year and some of it is taking longer to shake out than in some past years.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More from the summer league

You can just about put together an All-City boys basketball team from the summer league this month.

Loyola's Charles Winborne has cemented his spot in the city this month. Fair Park's Morris Claiborne appears to be a given. Southwood's Louis Ellis has carried the Cowboys. Huntington's Shamir Davis and Kendrick Washington look like the real deal as well.

Now, that being said, there are some players pushing for consideration including BTW's James Hulbin. And we still don't know what Bossier City and the outlying area will offer.

Still,it's a good start on next season.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer star

Charles Winborne was a good player for Loyola's Flyers basketball team last season.

But if the summer league is any indication, Winborne could be the school's best player since Billy Thomas.

He has been an offensive force in the summer league scoring in the 20s and 30s with regularity. And remember, that's with a running (40-minute) clock until the final two minutes.

Winborne will be one of the players to watch next hoops season.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Supremes make right decision

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling against Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy Thursday was a victory for high school sports.

The case invovled a dispute between the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association and football power Brentwood over the association's rule barring schools from contacting prospective students about sports programs, according to The Associated Press.

According to the AP, the Court ruled athletic associations can enforce limites on recruiting without violating coaches' free speech rights.

"Hard-sell tactics directed at middle school students could lead to exploitation, distort competition between high school teams and foster an environment in which athletics are prized more highly than academics," the court said in the unanimous ruling.

Said Justice John Paul Stevens: "The dangers of undue influence that exist when a lawyer chases an ambulance are also present when a high school coach contacts an eighth grader."

Wow, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Maybe this will give more teeth to the Louisiana High School Association's recruiting rules and allow for better enforcement. Of course, this is not just directed at private schools but public as well.

Schools can continue to advertise their sports programs, using things like billboards and brochures so everybody has the same opportunity.

To read the Supreme Court's decision click on the link below. The case is Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Assn. v. Brentwood Academy

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Steroid testing gains momentum

Florida became the latest state to agree to testing high school athletes for steroids today.

Granted, it's a one-year trial, but it's a start.

New Jersey has been testing. Texas is on the verge of testing. Now Florida is testing.

Steroid testing is picking up steam. Unfortunately in Louisiana, dollars may come ahead of students' health. That is, who is going to pay for testing? The schools are in no position to take on the cost and the state isn't doing much better.

Still, the hope is one day steroid testing will come here as well.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Greene's tree grows

Airline's Mike Greene is getting pretty good at turning out head coaches.

For the second time in two months, another school has turned to a Vikings assistant to take over its football program. This time it is parish rival Bossier, which tabbed Michael Concilio to replace the retired Billy Don McHalffey.

Concilio worked for seven years under Greene, which is the same amount of time Lindsey Bruno, now the Northwood High coach, did. Concilio and Bruno were hired at the same time and Concilio had replaced Bruno as the Vikings' offensive coordinator before heading to Bossier.

With Concilio -- the son of former Bearkats coach Dick Concilio -- at the helm, the Bearkats won't lack for storylines this season. Bossier opens with Airline on Aug. 31 and faces Northwood in a District 1-4A game in late October.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Sharp choice at Shreve

Captain Shreve baseball is in good hands with the hiring of Todd Sharp.

Sharp spent three years coaching under Ronnie Coker and the familiarity should help smooth the transition and keep the Gators among the city's elite teams.

Sharp already has head coaching experience at a Class 5A school, doing so at Huntington for two years. He will be able to help the Gators as they move back up into Louisiana's highest classification next year.

He also brings the baseball mind only a former catcher can. The Airline High product is a sharp, no pun intended, baseball thinker and he should see success from the beginning at Shreve.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

All-Sports trophy

The Southern Quality Ford Cup is given to high schools with the best overall athletic programs.

In northwest Louisiana, Ruston was fourth in Class 5A, Cedar Creek was third in 1A, Calvary was fourth in 1A, Quitman and Choudrant were 3-4 in Class B and Pleasant Hill was second in Class C with Calvin third.

Perhaps the most interestng school on that list is Calvary. The Cavaliers just completed their second full season in LHSAA play. It appears Calvary will be a player for years to come.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Three in a row

Let the Texas blowhards talk all they want about high school football. But tonight's Bayou Bowl is three in a row for Louisiana over Texas.

The Louisiana all-stars took a 31-15 victory over Texas tonight in a game that wasn't as close as the score. Texas got a touchdown and 2-point conversion midway through the fourth quarter for the final margin.

As if Louisiana folks didn't already have enough reason to pull for their team, imagine the reaction of LSU fans when a Fox Southwest reporter on the sidelines finished the interview with Chad Jones by telling him she hoped to see him in an Astros uniform.

I'm sure that went over well with LSU fans since Jones signed a football scholarship with LSU.

But Jones' decision -- he was a 13th-round pick of the Astros -- apparently is a done deal for Texas folks.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Bayou Bowl blues

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of northwest Louisiana flavor to the Bayou Bowl's Louisiana roster.

The game between the Louisiana and Texas all-star football teams will be played on Saturday at Stallworth Stadium in Baytown, Texas.

Ruston quarterback Ben Alsup, Evangel cornerback Pat Chitman and Ruston offensive guard Justin Frasier look like it for the area in this year's game.

I know it was a down year for northwest Louisiana but, man, that doesn't look good.

I'm going to guess that Texas wins this one because last year wasn't a stellar year in the state for prep football.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Goodbye to Billy Don

Bossier High School football coach Billy Don McHalffey is retiring after 16 years as the school's head coach.

He is leaving as the coach with the most wins in school history with 108. He had 11 winning seasons, including a 10-0 season in 1999.

McHalffey was a rarity in that you don't find many coaches staying at the same school for 16 years.

He provided stability and leadership and helped develop the Bearkats into a solid, year-in and year-out contender.

High school football fans will miss McHalffey.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Not surprised

Is anyone surprised that Evangel got busted for LHSAA violations involving transportation, admittance and feeding of two prospective student-athletes during a trip from Shreveport to the Superdome Classic?

I'm not one of these people who think Evangel is knocking on every door. But when one of the top freshman athletes in the city - Scrib Pipkins - just shows up at Evangel, well, I'm a little more cynical about that.

About the only way this could have been more blatant or galling would have been for Morris Claiborne to leave Fair Park and show up at Evangel.

Hopefully, this episode will result in a renewed commitment to following the rules and staying out of LHSAA trouble.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Southwood's new coach

New Southwood boys basketball coach Norman Picou Jr. is a familiar name to area sports fans.

He played his high school basketball at Ruston High School for his father, Norman Picou Sr.

He played for the Bearcats against Southwood in the early '90s. There, he had his first encounter with Southwood.

"That was my first taste of Southwood,'' Picou Jr. said. "And in coaching, you keep up with it. I know coach (Chad) McDowell when he was there. I watched them in the quarters when they played Denham Springs.

"The tradition and the history, I knew about. That really made it enticing. Then getting up there and meeting coach (Chad) Abernathy and Mr. (Ken) Wood, and just looking at the facilities and the situation there made it even better.''

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ensminger next at Minden?

It looks like the folks at Minden High School are prepared to act quickly in replacing David Feaster as the Crimson Tide head football coach.

Alan Ensminger appears to be the favored candidate and sources say he could have the job as early as the first part of the week.

Ensminger is currently the defensive coordinator for the Tide. A promotion to head coach would allow for some continuity with the program.

We'll keep an eye on this one.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Big loss for Minden

The departure of David Feaster from Minden to Sabine High School in Gladewater, Texas, is not a good thing for the Crimson Tide's athletic program.

Feaster took an 0-10 football team and went 6-5 in back-to-back seasons and 13-1 last season. He had Minden poised for another successful season this year.

Feaster did not elaborate on his reasons for leaving Minden to take a job at a Class 3A school in Texas that was 0-10 last year.

If anything, Minden should have tried to keep Feaster instead of watching him make, at best, a lateral move.

We may never know the real reason here, but on the surface, it doesn't look good for Minden athletics.