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Friday, August 31, 2007

Calvary vs. Southwood, postgame

Calvary's demolition of Southwood at Independence Stadium on Thursday shows they have talent to play in Class 5A. Unfortunately, it may not be enough to win a District 1-2A title.

Jake Booty is the best quarterback in the city this year. Khiry Cooper is the best receiver. That's a lethal combination. They combined for two touchdowns against Southwood.

One coach told me he believes Calvary has enough talent to beat Evangel this year. He said Calvary players are physically bigger this year than last. That may be true, but I don't think they have enough athletes to compete with Evangel.

I watched an Evangel practice last week and those are some big kids across the line. Plus they have a lot of athletes - CerDerrick Tyson, Roderick Banks, Deleon Moss and Scrib Pipkins.

Calvary's defense was good against Southwood, but let's face it, the Cowboys don't have nearly as many offensive threats as the Eagles.

We'll have to wait and see how this one pans out.

Huntington's reeling

So much for Huntington High School being a surprise football team this year.

A long list of LHSAA violations will cost the school any chance of a trip to the playoffs. There's also a $13,000 fine coming to the school.

And, oh yeah, head football coach Mike Green will likely lose his job next week.

What a way to start a season.

This is a sad, sordid story. The only hope is that someone will learn from this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Coming to a computer screen

Times sports writer Brian Vernellis is editing some video as we speak.

How does this affect you, the PrepsBeat reader?


PrepsBeat is going to have a pregame video show on Thursdays during high school football season. Actually, there will be three video shows - one for the area, one for Bossier Parish and one for Caddo Parish. There will be a feature game of the week with interviews with coaches and staff discussion of other games.

It ought to be a good deal.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

It was only two quarters but...

BTW looked good on offense Friday. Bobby Mosley looked comfortable throwing the ball and Jessie Sheppard appears to be ready to take over the running back position.

Loyola's defense must be pretty good. The Flyers put up shutouts with St. Mary's and Many. Granted, neither team is going to be playing in the Dome in December, but shutouts are always a good thing.

Bossier and Benton look like they could be pretty good.

Calvary appears ready to make the next step up to Class 2A.

It's just a jamboree, but those are some thoughts after looking at scores and a game.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Can't get enough of the jamboree

Football season got off to a rousing start in Bossier Parish on Friday night, with the annual jamboree at Airline High School drawing thousands of fans from six schools.

If you're a fan of football, you couldn't help but get caught up in the pageantry of the event. The kids were rowdy (and were even ordered to sit down several times by the public-address announcer), the parking lot was full and the concession stands were humming with business.

Sorry, baseball. But football is America's real pastime. And even more so in the Deep South.

As a native of Texas and having spent much of my early professional years there, this was my first go-round with jamborees. I left quite impressed with the enthusiasm on the field and in the stands.

But the quality of the games left a bit to be desired. That's to be expected, however, since they were all glorified scrimmages.

I'll spare you the minute details of the jamboree here. You can get an update about the Bossier jamboree online: http://www.shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070825/SPORTS0101/708250344/1001/SPORTS

But three kids who really caught my eye last night were: Benton running back Bobby Thornton; Parkway running back Torian Lindsey; and Parkway defensive end Glenn Heard.

I expect to hear a lot more from them in the following weeks. Bet on it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Busy Jamboree Friday

Catholics have their Good Friday. Football fanatics have Jamboree Friday.

Usually each year, I'm at a jamboree covering a couple of teams, but this season, The Times is doing something different - shooting more video for the Web site.

So I logged plenty of miles driving from Airline High School to Independence Stadium back to Airline.

I'm really impressed with Byrd's students. That is one supportive bunch of kids. There was at least 200 of them. They've got cheers for their boys, jeers for the other team and are into the game. They were even cheering for the JV game. They might have the best student section of any local high school.

Best band from jamboree night? Airline. Any band that can play some White Stripes is OK by me. And whoever is in that Viking mascot outfit, my heart goes out to them. It's kind of funny to see this massive felt head of a Viking atop this petite 100-pound cheerleader's frame.

Best post-game pep talk? Southwood's Scott Abernathy. He was not a happy man following the Cowboys' 20-7 loss to Byrd. He was challenging everything about his players - their heart, their will, their determination. He said it best: The Cowboys have more athletes than Byrd, but Byrd had more leaders and heart on Friday.

Best play of the night? Darius Prelow's 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The kid juked out 3 Byrd defenders before racing down the sideline for the score. You can watch on the jamboree video on The Times' home page.

Ah, you got to love the start of high school football.

Jamboree time

There is a lot of prep football action on tap Friday with the jamborees.

Airline High School is the best bet if you want to see a lot of football all at the same place. Three scrimmages are set in the Bossier Parish Jamboree.

Caddo Parish jamborees are all over the place - Independence, Lee Hedges, BTW and Northwood.

None of the teams playing tonight are considered state title contenders, but you should get a decent gauge of which teams have what this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're all in this together

Here's a sneak peek of what the High School football section will look like before it arrives in Thursday's newspaper. The background should look look familiar to anyone with children or a TV set.

After deciding upon the High School Football cover, we had to decide which players to put on the cover. We decided that the players had to be returning All-City first or second team players. Then we wanted five players to represent five different schools.

Khiry Cooper, the top recruit in the city, was an easy selection as Calvary's representative. CerDerrick Tyson, who has been a huge figure in Evangel's last two state championships, represents the Eagles.

We wanted to make certain we had some defensive players and Tripp George of Loyola and Greg Blue of Southwood fit the bill.

Then there was Fair Park's Morris Claiborne who starred last year as a quarterback and running back.

Photographer Greg Pearson took the photos and put the cover together.

We're rather proud of it. We hope you like the section as well.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Long road

I saw University Christian Prep practice football today.

This will be UCP's first year in LHSAA competition after competing in MPSA until last year when the school didn't play football.

I realize numbers are small in Class 1A, but this is a program that will be more of a long-term challenge than anything. Losing last year from a competition standpoint probably doesn't help. Stepping up to the LHSAA will also be a challenge.

But you have to like the attitude of coach Eric Clark and his players. They seem intent on making the best of a tough situation, at least a tough one at the moment.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Game week

Yes, it's hard to believe but it's actually game week.

Well, it's game week for the MPSA schools.

And there has been quite a bit of turnover in the coaching ranks. Ronnie Powell is no longer at Claiborne Academy having gone to Riverdale Acadmey as head coach.

And former Ruston coach Tommy Reeder is at Claiborne Academy now.

For the LHSAA schools, it's jamboree time with games coming up the following week.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Year of the gap

Maybe it's always been this way and I've never noticed, but it certainly looks like a lot of teams are lacking in returning starters this year.

I talked to Logansport coach Durrett Woods tonight. He has two starters returning on offense and two on defense. He says he can't remember a time when he had so few returning starters.

Airline coach Mike Greene has no returning starters on defense.

This is stuff that is usually unheard of most years.

Either there is a gap in this class or it's a strange coincidence type of year.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Making $$$ on a scrimmage

I went out to Captain Shreve High School to shoot some video of Captain Shreve scrimmaging Minden Thursday night.

To my surprise, the Gators were actually charging admission ... to a scrimmage.

OK, it was $2 for adults and $1 for students, but come on. It's the idea of charging money to attend an event that has no bearing on the season that irks me.

This isn't the NFL where thousands and thousands of people would pay money to see preseason game. These are high school kids.

I don't know if it's a case of needing money for the improvement of the program, or if it's a case of Captain Shreve just being greedy. I certainly hope it's not the latter.

What it looks like is squeezing the parents, relatives and friends of the players for a few extra dollars.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Huntington has plenty of motivation

"We're gonna make it, one Winn at a time."
A simple creed; a complex hurricane of emotions.
After heading to the West Shreveport campus Tuesday, it's clear the Huntington Raiders football team has two things on its mind this year: Victories and fallen teammate Terrence Winn.
Winn was killed at 16 years old in May during a shooting on North Market. He was to be an integral part of Huntington's football team.
"In the spring game, he threw three touchdowns and intercepted two passes," Raiders coach Mike Green said.
To a man, the Raiders have dedicated this season to Winn.
Look for a story on the Raiders' thoughts of Winn coming soon in The Times.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Busy week ahead

It's a busy week down here at 222 Lake Street. We'll begin putting together our high school football section this week. The cover should be wrapped up soon and we have some players coming down for a photo shoot.

This week will include scrimmages for local prep teams with the jamborees coming up the following week.

The sure sign football is here? 100-plus degree temperatures outside.

Nothing says football in the South like sweating out two-a-days.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In tribute

Captain Shreve and Evangel started it in 2006 by winning state titles.

Calvary kept it up in the spring, winning the Class 1A state title.

Then came the gold rush known as summer baseball in Shreveport-Bossier. We have a national champion (Gametime Academy's 17-and-under select team) and a drought-breaking Legion title team (Bossier Cyclones, area's first titleists since 1950).

Yes, as Larry Reedy told me before the Legion state title game, we have some good ballplayers around here. We also have good coaches and good teams.

This summer, however, Shreveport-Bossier City teams were great.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Numbers game

I went out to BTW today to do some reporting for the Countdown to Kickoff story on the Lions.

This was going to be a rebuilding year for the Lions with the loss of running back Jeremy Jefferson to graduation. But then came the transfers of Scrib Pipkins and Eric Harris to Evangel.

So with all that as background, things are even tougher as the Lions' numbers are down this year. They've had between 19 and 25 players at practice.

Simple math says some guys will be playing both ways -- and that's not good, particularly in the first month of the season when it is hot enough to make cowards of us all.

Still, it looks as if there is some talent on hand.

But know this, the Lions have some challenges ahead of them.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

After all these years

It's been since 1950 that the American Legion state baseball champion has called Shreveport-Bossier City home.

The champ is back.

The Bossier Cyclones won the state title tonight doing something no team from here had done in the last 56 tries.

"I didn't think we would lose twice (to Gauthier&Amedee),'' Cyclones coach David George said. "I thought we had the better team.''

Indeed, they did.

This is a team that got timely hitting. It's a team that played good defense in the second game.

And it had a coach who basically sacrificed the first game to keep his best pitching for the second game.

"It feels pretty special,'' George said. "They did a great job. It's a good group of kids.''

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Challenge ahead for Airline

When we write these Countdown to Kickoff stories, one of the first things we usually do is ask the coach about returning starters.

It kind of makes sense. Those returning starters have experience. They should be the better ballplayers.

Well, at Airline, the Vikings have exactly zero returning starters back on defense.

I have to admit, that is the first time I've ever heard that from a coach.

In fact, after talking with Mike Greene and a couple of players, I'm thinking the Vikings will need to play over their heads to make the playoffs this year.

But again, it's the first week of August and I could be proven wrong come November.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Beginning to look a lot like football

Here's how you can tell football season is here: Temperatures are in the '90s.

I plan on getting out to Airline High School on Tuesday and see what the Vikings have for the coming season.

The bigger district could have a negative effect on power points if parity reigns.
It should be interesting to see what happens as we get into the season.