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Monday, December 31, 2007

More good wrestling comes north

Almost a week after Evangel hosted several regional and state powerhouse wrestling programs, Airline will do the same on a smaller scale Wednesday.

At 6 o'clock that night, the Vikings will host defending Division I state champion Brother Martin.

This is a nice state measuring stick for the Vikings, who have been one of the best teams in the area despite a roster chocked with underclassmen.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A little self-control please

Parkway girls coach Aaron Megee may have cost his team a chance at winning the Doc Edwards title tonight.

Megee drew a pair of technical fouls -- that's four free throws, three of which Southwood made -- and his team lost by three points to Southwood.

It's understandable when coaches get upset over calls that they believe hinder their team or are just plain wrong.

But picking up technical fouls can be costly, not to mention the cost to your reputation when profanities can be heard in the arena.

It's probably not something Megee is proud of, particularly at a time when his team played so well.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hoopin' it up

The Doc Edwards tournament finals are set for Saturday.

Mansfield is playing Huntington in the boys finals while Southwood is playing Parkway in the girls finals.

Both games are at the Gold Dome. It should be some good basketball. Tonight's games drew big crowds at Airline and more of the same should be expected tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

An early upset

Fair Park wasn't expected to defend its boys championship in the Doc Edwards Invitational.

But the Indians were expected to score more than 38 points in their tournament opener and defeat Mansfield.

As it was Fair Park lost to Mansfield,39-38.

That may be the biggest shocker of the tournament so far. Not the outcome as much as the low-scoring nature of that game.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Busy week for preps

There is no holiday week for high school athletics this week.

Evangel has a big wrestling tournament this week.

And the Doc Edwards Invitational will feature 15 boys teams and 16 girls teams in a basketball tournament played at four gyms.

If you can't find something to watch this week,then you may not be looking hard enough.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Big weekend for wrestlers

Area wrestlers had a big day Saturday in east Texas.

Benton won the East Texas Border Bash as four Tigers won their weight classes. Marcus Hudson was named outstanding wrestler in the upper weights after winning the 215-pound division.

Evangel's Matt Kimmbel won the lower weight class honor. The Eagles finished sixth in the event as they prepare to host their tournament this weekend. John Curtis is among the teams entered and they will square off with the Eagles in a dual match Thursday night on Broadacres Road.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Congrats to Paul Dupee

Byrd linebacker Paul Dupee was the only player from Shreveport-Bossier City to make the Class 5A All-State team.

From all accounts, the honor was deserved.

Dupee was the Defensive MVP of District 1-5A. And I talked to another district coach earlier in the week who raved about Dupee.

So congratulations are in order for the Byrd star.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Hoops talk

I covered the Huntington-BTW game tonight and got to see those teams for the first time since summer league.

You've got to give Huntington a lot of credit. The Raiders not only won the game, but they are 16-2 on the season. And they haven't played with point guard Shamir Davis this season.

Huntington coach Mack Jones said he hopes to have Davis back playing after the first of the year. Davis has been dealing with an ankle injury.

Kendrick Washington opens things up for Huntington with his ability to play inside.

James Hulbin had a nice game for BTW. The Lions just didn't have enough firepower in this one.

All in all, these are two pretty good teams.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A home for Homer's Casey

Congratulations to Homer's Richie Casey.

Casey, the Pelicans' quarterback, has committed to sign with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are projecting him as a cornerback.

Csaey also had a ULM offer and some smaller offers.

This should be a win-win situation for both.Casey will get to play Division I football and Tech gets an athlete with big-time speed and playmaking ability.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Return of the scorers

We've noticed an interesting trend this season. The big-time scorer is making a comeback.

We noticed when Springhill's Antonious Markray had a 55-point game.

Southwood's Louis Ellis has broken past the 40-point barrier.

So has Converse's Josh Ebarb.

That's just to name a few.

I was talking to a boys prep coach earlier in the week about this and he was marveling at the big scorers considering the gimmick defenses that can be used to slow down scorers as well as just slowing down the game.

Nobody around here is Greg Procell, but it's good to see the eyes light up when a 40-point game is achieved.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas break coming

After wall-to-wall tournaments each weekend since about mid-November, this weekend will be quiet except for the Ruston tournament.

But next week, after the Christmas break, the tournaments get cranked back up again with the annual Doc Edwards tournament. That'll be a good chance for area hoops fans to catch some of the best local teams.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A long season in Texas

How long can a high school football season in Texas be?

Consider that Elysian Fields High School opened its season on Aug. 31. The Yellow Jackets will end it on Saturday, Dec. 22, in Brownwood in the Class 2A state championship game against Canadian.

These are heady days in Elysian Fields.

I was talking to Yellow Jackets coach Ted Patton tonight and he was saying the magnitude of reaching the state title game hasn't sunk in yet.

"Not really. We had to travel a lot,'' Patton said. "Right after our game in Waco we had to go to Lubbock to scout our opponent. We got in about 4:30 in the morning and then we were working again today, trying to get everything prepared. But the reality of it hasn't sunk in yet.''

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Texas roll 'em

A tip of the hat to the Elysian Fields Yellow Jackets who rolled Alfair Rice, 46-3, in the Texas 2A state semifinals on Friday night.

The Yellow Jackets are headed to the state title game.

The Elysian Fields defense allowed only 103 yards offense in the one-sided victory.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tournaments aren't just for basketball

Basketball fans may flock to local weekend tournaments, like Loyola's this weekend, but don't overlook the soccer being played over at Tinsley Park on Saturday.

Parkway is the host for one of the largest soccer tournaments in the city. The boys' side has got 12 teams while the girls have 11 varsity and a JV squad.

There is some quality competition at Tinsley Park. The boys side features Parkway, Loyola, Caddo Magnet and Airline. The girls table has Parkway, Loyola, Captain Shreve and Airline.

The girls final is at 4 with the boys following at 5:15 on Saturday.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good people

A special thanks to the wife of Lakeside track coach David Kidd.

Mrs. Kidd took a late phone call Thursday night as we frantically tried to identify a photo of Lakeside boys basketball coach Jason Gould.

Despite her husband already being asleep, Mrs. Kidd took the time to check her e-mail and verify that the picture on page 2C of Friday's Times was indeed coach Gould.

Thanks again, Mrs. Kidd.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tournament time

There are some interesting tournaments going on this week.

Over in Minden, several of the top area boys and girls basketball teams are playing. Minden High School has a new gym so that should make for a nice setting.

In Shreveport, Loyola is hosting the Arby's Invitational beginning on Thursday. This is a boys tournament but it has several city schools playing along with Mansfield.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's All-State time

You may have noticed the All-State Class 1A football team that ran in the paper today.

Here is the list of release dates for the rest of the teams.

Class 2A -- Dec. 14
Class 3A -- Dec. 16
Class 4A -- Dec. 18
Class 5A -- Dec. 21
Mr. Football -- Dec. 23

And here at The Times, we'll have our All-City, All-Area and all-district teams on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Great game, fantastic atmosphere, poor sportsmanship

Two of the best soccer programs in the area (Caddo Magnet, Captain Shreve) faced off Monday night in another classic showdown. This time, it was Shreve upending No. 5 Magnet, 1-0.

Magnet head coach Radi Baltov gave all the props to Shreve for the win, but he knows his club is the better of the two...and it is. Sorry Shreve parents.

Magnet's club is better on several fronts - not Monday though.

Want to know how much this game meant to Shreve? Freshman Connor Randel, who scored the game-winning goal, was in tears over the accomplishment. The Gators faced a serious setback when it lost to Byrd last week and needed a great showing against their rival.

This isn't the U.S. hockey team upsetting the Russians in Lake Placid, but it's a pretty big upset for local soccer.

The atmosphere was absolutely amazing. Only the Shreve-Magnet game could have produced such an outpouring of support from fans, parents and students. I'll put it this way. It was like Shreve facing Byrd or Calvary meeting Evangel in football.

One thing that was upsetting was the number of times players challenged the officials' rulings on the field. Players on both sides grumbled vehemently at the head official throughout the game. A Magnet player even fired back after the game: "Hey ref, shouldn't you be leaving with Shreve?" Wow. Where are the coaches in that situation?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Still playing

We may be done with high school football in Louisiana but it's still going in Texas.

In fact, some classes in Texas are just to the state semifinals.

Why would someone from Louisiana care about Texas state playoffs? Here's one answer. A former Benton quarterback, Tim Curry, has Elysian Fields in the state Class 2A semifinals in Texas.

And, if you're a fan of ULM, ULL or Louisiana Tech, the 6-4, 191-pound Curry is also considering scholarship offers from those schools.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Congrats to the champions

The state championships have pretty much gone like I expected.

I should have figured John Curtis wouldn't lose twice in the same season to the same team. My bad there.

But South Plaquemines was dominant in 1A. Parkview Baptist did a great job all season in 3A and Bastrop -- 44 straight wins -- what more can you say in 4A.

Congratulations to all of the state football champions.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Former Times' All-City basketball MVPs faring well in college

Fair Park's Eric Tramiel and Emily Carter were the MVPs on the 2005-06 Times' All-City boys and girls basketball teams, respectively.

Tramiel is now a sophomore at Paris Junior College at Paris, Texas, and Carter is a redshirt freshman at TCU.

Tramiel, ranked the No. 72 junior college prospect in the nation by cstv.com, has helped Paris get off to a 10-0 start. He led Paris in scoring with 11 points in the team's 77-50 rout of Lon Morris on Dec. 5.

Carter, who sat out last season with an injured knee, has played in six of TCU's eight games and is averaging 4.7 points. She is a perect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Scouting the Superdome Classic

The Superdome Classic is this weekend and northwest Louisiana won't be in the house.

That being said, here are the five teams that I think will walk away with the winner's crown.

Class 5A - Destrehan. Destrehan is loaded with Jordan Jefferson, Tim Molton and Jericho Nelson. The only thing that concerns me about this one is that Acadiana just knows how to win big games.

Class 4A - Bastrop. I know both teams are unbeaten. But Bastrop has a swagger that is important at championship time.

Class 3A - Parkview Baptist. This has been the best team in 3A all season.

Class 2A - St. James. I like St. James because of its speed. I realize John Curtis is all about the championships and Curtis does have the motivation of having lost once. But I don't think that loss was the exception.

Class 1A - South Plaquemines. This has been a dominant team through most of the season.

We'll see how these picks come out.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Calvary's blooming cross country program

Calvary track coach Linzie Hebert approached the school's superintendent Ed Hearron this summer about starting up a cross country program.

Within the span of a few months, the Cavaliers already have two of the best runners in the state. Juniors Chase Rolland and Zac Overstreet finished in the top-10 at the LHSAA state meet down in Natchitoches in mid-November. Their finish gave them All-State honors despite taking up the sport only a few months ago.

Football may be king at Calvary, but the two quit the team to run cross country for Hebert. Hebert said the two have a natural talent for the sport.

It was fortuitous gamble for the harriers (haven't written that word in a long time), but one that paid dividends no matter what their coaches or teammates may have originally thought. They may not have received much scholarship talk for playing football, but Hebert said the pair could earn scholarships in cross country.

We'll have more about the pair later this week in The Times.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Honors time

It's that time of the year.

We'll be meeting as a sports staff on Wednesday night to hash out the All-City and All-Area football teams. Those are set to run on Christmas Day along with the all-district teams.

Then, our man Joel Anderson will drive down to New Orleans late Thursday for the LHSAA all-state meeting on Friday.

The fact that we have no area teams in the Superdome Classic won't help. But we have some talented athletes.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Back in town

Former Shreveport Mudbugs head coach Jean Laforest is coaching again in the area. Not with the Mudbugs, but the Bossier girls soccer program.

I stopped by Tinsley Park to catch the girls final in the Bossier Tournament on Saturday. Wearing a 'Hockey Night in Canada,' T-shirt, I wondered who was this stranger that recognized the shirt and shouted at me as I approached the officials' tent.

It wasn't until I was within 10 feet that it finally struck me who it was, and I still couldn't comprehend the fact that it was Laforest.

Laforest left the Mudbugs after taking them to back-to-back Western Professional Hockey League championships to pursue coaching/teaching options elsewhere. He coached at Division III Wisconsin-Eau Claire, but returned to minor league hockey to coach Youngstown in 2005.

It's a great hire for the Bossier program. Laforest is an enthusiastic coach with plenty of experience on several levels.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Hoop talk

Just talked to Red River's Keith Johnson.

It seems the Bulldogs are having trouble with chemistry and playing hard. Not surprisingly, the team is 2-5.

The good news is it's still early. There's time to recover.

It's something to keep an eye on.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Looking ahead

So what's next for our prep football teams in the area?

Calvary will have to replace Jake Booty, Khiry Cooper and others.

Evangel has several young players and Cerderrick Tyson returns as well.

Benton has proven that it is a solid program regardless of classification.

There is hope for a better season next year. Maybe we'll have some area teams back in the Dome.