Grambling fire chief resigns following arrest, added charge

By T. Scott Boatright

Grambling Mayor Edward Jones confirmed the resignation of Grambling Fire Chief Patrick Conley Thursday night in the wake of his arrest for domestic abuse last week.

Conley, whose resignation was effective immediately, was arrested April 21 on charges of domestic abuse (child endangerment), false imprisonment and attempted sexual battery, and an additional second degree rape charge was added to his rap sheet on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old allegedly attacked his wife the night of April 20 after she reportedly tried to calm him down in the midst of a PSTD nightmare. Conley reportedly grabbed her hair and forced her head toward his pelvic region after she touched his arm trying to settle him.

She reported that after dropping their children off at school the following morning, she locked herself in their bathroom and told him she was planning to leave their marriage. Conley allegedly then became angry and reportedly began yelling after she took off her wedding ring.

Conley’s arrest affidavit says that during the incident, Conley’s wife attempted to leave the residence but that he refused to let her do so.

She said she locked herself again in the bathroom and called authorities. She reported Conley then forced his way into the bathroom but quickly fled after realizing she was one the phone with police.

Conley is reported to later have checked himself into Northern Louisiana Medical Center and was booked into the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

The City of Grambling placed Conley on leave without pay on Wednesday before his Thursday night resignation.


City, parish end mask mandate restrictions

By T. Scott Boatright

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker and Lincoln Parish Administrator Doug Postel says that facemasks are no longer required to be worn in city or parish buildings after Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted the statewide mask mandate earlier this week.

Edwards’ order, which went into effect on Wednesday, said that local governments and businesses can make their own decisions on whether or not to require protective face coverings.

While the parish has ended the required facemasks in public spaces in its buildings like lobbies, entryways and the Police Jury office, independent businesses operating in parish buildings such as the Registrar of Voters office, the Assessor’s office, the District Attorney’s Office and the LSU AgCenter can still require facemasks if they decide to do so.

Grambling Mayor Edward Jones said Thursday evening the his city’s mask mandate will remain at least until it can be discussed during next week’s Grambling City Council May meeting, which will take place on Thursday.

“I’m sure we’ll talk about it then,” Jones said. “But personally, I feel we need to continue wearing the masks, especially with the different variants and mutations of COVID-19 popping up and the fact that our children, some of whom are getting the illness, have not been vaccinated and are not protected.

“I just feel it’s better to be safe than sorry and would rather err on the side of safety. I don’t like wearing the facemasks and would love to take them off. But I don’t think it’s time yet with so many cases still out there and new variants still being found. We still need to learn more about this virus before we stop protecting ourselves against it.”

Edwards is still asking the public to wear face coverings and said that state government buildings and asked that others continue to do so, too.

“I will continue to wear a mask when in public when I am close to folks. I think it’s the right thing to do for public health. It’s also the respectful thing to do,” Edwards said. “We know that masks work. The science is clear.”

The statewide mask mandate was first issued in July 2020 following a summer surge in coronavirus cases after initially easing restrictions caused the governor to act with more stringent measures.


Bearcats football duo makes college choices

Ruston High School’s Caleb Phillips (second from left) and flanked by parents Gregg and Andrea Phillips) and Jeb White (flanked by parents Beck and Jeff White) announced where they’ll continue their football careers on the collegiate level Thursday in the RHS Auditorium. (Photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ)
 

By T. Scott Boatright

A pair of Ruston High School football players announced their decisions on their gridiron futures Thursday in front of family and friends in the RHS Auditorium.

Offensive lineman Jeb White signed on to become a Louisiana College Wildcat while kicker/punter Caleb Phillips and his big leg completed paperwork to walk on to the Louisiana Tech football team.

For Phillips, who said he intends to major in engineering, location played a big role in his decision.

“Staying at home is going to be really fun,” Phillips said. “I feel like I can really succeed there. The spot’s pretty open and the coaching staff and other people I know there really think that I have a chance to do something big there, so I’m really excited about that.”

Phillips becomes part of a Tech kicking group that includes Jacob Barnes, younger brother of former Tech kicking standout Jonathan Barnes, and Garin Boniol, son of former Tech and NFL kicking staff Chris Boniol.

“It’s going to be fun to have a lot of competition,” Phillips said. “I’m going to be doing everything, but I think they’re looking at me mainly for punting and kicking off.”

White also said location and playing home games as nearby as Pineville played a role in his decision.

“Location and being closer to family is big, and I really like the religion aspect of it,” said White, who said he plans to major in social studies education.


Celebrity Theatres reopens for first time in more than a year

By T. Scott Boatright

More than a year after Celebrity Theatres in Ruston closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment will reopen today.

The theatre announced it consider reopening at several points over the past year but opted out of doing so each time, saying the safety and health of its guests and staff remained the top priority.

There will be a reserved seating guideline,=.

Celebrity Theatres sent this message to potential moviegoers on Thursday:

“Please be mindful that we are participating in a national program called CinemaSafe. This is a program promoting protocols and guidelines developed and supported by leading epidemiologists to support a safe return to movie theaters. This includes wearing masks which are required in all areas of our theatre when you are not seated for your movie. Thank you for helping us stay compliant with these rules.”

Those CinemaSafe guidelines are as follows:
• Masks Required
All employees must wear a face covering or mask. Patrons must wear a face covering at all times, except as noted by the CDC and herein. Those who are unwilling to wear a face covering will be denied entry.

• Employee Health Training
All employees should be trained on the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 as well as local theatre policies and procedures.

• Modified Concessions
Minimize cash transactions and encourage credit cards or contactless payments whenever possible. Theaters will eliminate communal food and condiments that requires shared serving utensils or equipment.

• Mobile Ticketing
Tickets sales should be available online or via phone whenever feasible to reduce the need to stand in line for tickets. Alternatives to paper tickets should be used whenever possible.

• Not Feeling Well?
Stay at Home.
If you are experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, or other symptoms that could be related to COVID-19, please stay home and we welcome you to join us again in the future.


Bearcats baseball getting hyped for Saturday playoff doubleheader; HS roundup

Ruston High School track and field coach Allen Whitaker poses Wednesday with the Bearcats’ honorary assistant coach, Cam Murphy (at right). Photo by AMY VESSEL

Staff writer

While the Ruston High School track and field program is riding high after sweeping the regional team titles Wednesday and qualifying 25 entries for next Saturday’s state meet, the Bearcats’ red-hot baseball club is gearing up for a playoff series at home starting Saturday.

Cedar Creek’s trio of tennis competitors all posted wins Thursday in the LHSAA Division IV state championships before bowing out of their singles draws.

RUSTON BASEBALL: The Bearcats are on a terrific roll going into Saturday’s Class 5A regional round doubleheader at the Ruston Sports Complex against visiting Central of Baton Rouge.

Ruston (25-8) is riding a 13-game winning streak, including a 4-1 homefield victory Monday over Ponchatoula in a first round contest.

Now the playoff format changes to a best-of-three series, beginning with a Saturday doubleheder. The first pitch comes at 2 p.m., with the second game slated for 5:30 p.m. If the teams split Saturday, the decisive game three will be at 2 Sunday.

Fans are advised that the stadium will be cleared between games on Saturday and separate tickets will be needed for the second contest. Admission is $10 per game and $5 per game for students.

Ruston owns the No. 5 seed in the 32-team bracket. Central, which had a 12-game streak of its own until mid-April, is 21-10 and seeded 12th. Bearcats coach Toby White said the Wildcats are a stout opponent despite what the seedings might infer.

“You make it this far, you’re doing things right. They have an ace and two other guys on the mound who can get it done,” he said. “The power ratings (of RHS and Central) are not but 1 ½, 2 points different. At this stage, you’ve played some good teams and you’ve beat some good teams.

“They have a long tradition of having a strong baseball program and they expect to win in the playoffs.”

White and his staff haven’t settled on their pitching rotation. Sophomore righty J.R. Tollett has been stellar but Ruston has gotten strong outings from Isaac White, Dyson Fields and Blaine Rollins, so there’s plenty of options.

When Jack Whitaker led off the Bearcats’ first at-bat with a homer Monday, it set a tone White hopes to maintain.

“It’s always good to get that first one under your belt so you feel you’re doing something right,” he said. “You’re still playing at this time, and you just have to keep it going.”

RUSTON TRACK & FIELD: Two Region 1-5A championships Wednesday brought home by the Ruston track & field teams took on special meaning, considering the circumstances surrounding their last trip to Natchitoches in 2019.

Two years ago, the RHS teams left home with no power and heavy hearts. Senior teammate Cameron Murphy had lost his mother and younger brother to the EF-3 tornado that struck in the darkness about 30 hours before the team was planning to bus to the meet. He found the courage to continue and joined the squad for the trip.

“Cam” ran a relay leg and helped the Bearcats win the regional title, their first under coach Allen Whitaker. Now a student at Northwestern State, Murphy was at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex all afternoon to support his former teammates and alma mater.

Whitaker designated him as an honorary assistant coach for the meet, as an honor and to further motivate the RHS competitors. It worked wonders.

The Bearcats almost lapped the field, piling up 132 points to 71 for second-place Ouachita.

Ruston’s Lady Bearcats won their duel with Lafayette, 95-82, and nobody else was close. Ouachita’s 54 points were a distant third.

The state meet is next Saturday at LSU.

CEDAR CREEK TENNIS: All three Creek qualifiers won at least one match Thursday in the LHSAA Division IV state tennis championships in Monroe, with Margaret Gilmore reaching the state quarterfinals.

Gilmore rolled 6-0, 6-1 over Grace Hebert of Vermillion Catholic in the opening round, then battled to a 7-6, 6-3 second-round victory past Hafsa Mansoor of University Academy of Central Louisiana. Gilmore’s run ended in the quarters when Averis Lewis of Christ Episcopal School recorded a 6-0, 6-2 decision.

In the boys singles draw, James Black and Andrew Maxwell each notched first-round triumphs.

Black blanked Beaugh Lanclos of Westminster Christian 6-0, 6-0 while Maxwell advanced 6-1, 6-1 over Westminster’s Grayson Bourgeous.

The second round wasn’t successful for either Cougar, however. Black was ousted 6-0, 6-3 by Jesus Diaz of Houma Christian. Maxwell exited 6-0, 6-0 at the hands of Dunham School’s Michael Dudley.


Who Dat the Saints drafted this time?

The NFL Draft is an exciting time for me.

And while Thursday night’s draft seemed a little … well …. BIG to me .. as in socially-distanced, is this an NFL Draft or a WWE wrestling extravaganza kind of big? … But I was still pretty excited waiting to hear who the pick would be as the New Orleans Saints were on the clock.

I could feel the anticipation — the electric atmosphere — building as I waited for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to step up to the podium. I could hear the chants and cheers of the Who Dat Nation building in my head, threatening to drown out all other thoughts.

Then came the announcement of the selection of Payton Turner, a defensive end out of Houston. And suddenly, that thunderous roar in my head turned into crickets — the slow but steady drone of an army of chirping crickets.

Who Dat? … Notice the question mark … not Who Dat!, but Who Dat? instead.

Over the next few minutes, as my thumbs flew across my cell phone screen, I learned more about this stunning and unexpected draft choice named Payton Turner.

I’ve believed in Saints’ general manager Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton before, and I still do. The Saints have made some surprisingly successful picks in recent years. But I can’t help but wonder if Las Vegas had any kind of bet on Turner being drafted in the first round among the wagers they offered.

Crickets — just the slow but steady drone of an army of chirping crickets.

Cornerback, linebacker, wide receiver, another tight end or offensive lineman, and maybe even quarterback were seen as more glaring needs for the Saints heading into the draft. The Saints even exercised their fifth-year option on DE Marcus Davenport on Thursday. Who saw the pick of a relatively unknown pass-rushing specialist coming?

Not most of us Who Dats.

The Saints picking a defensive lineman didn’t surprise me. I texted a friend moments before the pick was announced saying that if I were making the selection I might go after defensive tackle Christian Barmore from Alabama at that point. But who is Payton Turner?

But as I studied, I began to realize that Turner is the prototype kind of pass rusher Loomis and Payton are known to love — long, rangy guys with high-end motors, much like Saints defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Davenport. Turner is a 6-foot-6, 270 pounder who explodes off the line, swimming past attempted blocks and steamrolling toward opposing quarterbacks.

Well, at least we know who will replace departed Saints DE Trey Hendrickson, one of the NFL’s sacks leaders during the 2020 season.

Turner recorded 25 tackles (10.5 behind the line of scrimmage), and five sacks in only five games played for the Cougars last season. He missed two games due to injury.

His 84-inch wingspan is reportedly the largest measured for an EDGE pass-rusher since 1999. He was timed at 4.25 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, registered a 35.5-inch vertical leap, and put up 23 reps on the 225-pound bench press, but did not run the 40 during Pro Day workouts.

Turner’s 3-cone drill time of 6.70 seconds ranked in the 99th percentile of historical NFL defensive ends, according to the Saints.

The Saints have taken risks on previously injured players in the past, so rolling the dice on Turner shouldn’t have been that big a surprise. In fact, not being surprised would have probably been more shocking considering the Saints’ recent draft history, which has worked pretty well for the Who Dat Nation, but the way.

So I’m just going to keep right on believing in Loomis and Payton. And hoping that the crickets chirping in my head eventually turn into the chants and cheers of the Who Dat Nation.


Opportunity: Courtesy Automotive Team

Opportunity: Courtesy Automotive Team

Sales Consultant – $2,500 a month
Courtesy Automotive Team is looking for highly motivated sales personnel. We are growing with the addition of a new store and both locations are in need of motivated team members. We offer a minimum pay of $2,500 a month to start. Training and all needed materials will be provided. There is also an opportunity to make more from the start with bonuses and commission. Five-day work week and vacation days provided. Health and Dental insurance offered. Daily training with experienced managers. Send in resume or apply in person at Courtesy Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac of Ruston. Full-time, $2,500.00 per month with benefits such as 401(k), Dental insurance, employee discount, health insurance, paid time off. 10 hour shift, commission pay, High school or equivalent education (Preferred), 1 year Sales Experience (Preferred), 1 year Customer Service (Preferred), Driver’s License (Preferred), Paid Training, Typical start time: 8 a.m., Typical end time: 6 p.m., Company’s website: http://www.buycourtesy.com Apply in person at either Courtesy dealership.

Service Advisor – $14 – $17 an hour
Opportunity to work for a great Family-Owned Business with Great pay and benefits. Base salary plus commission and bonuses. Customer service oriented. Family environment. Job Responsibilities: Communicates with Customers to schedule service appointments, Greets customers upon arrival for service appointments and checks in customer vehicles. Listens to customers concerns and vehicle symptoms, clarifying description of problems, inspecting vehicles Prepare Repair Orders for technicians by describing problems heard from customers. Communicates with technicians about vehicle, repair status and develops estimates of materials, supplies and labor to present to customer. Present customer estimates and obtain customer approval for services required and recommended. Maintains a positive relationship with the customer throughout the entire process from scheduling up to delivery of vehicle after completed repairs. Recommended Skills: Problem solving, Customer Service, Communication skills, Automotive Knowledge, Experience Highly Encouraged. Full-time position Benefits: Dental insurance, Health insurance, Paid time off, 10 hour shift, Commission pay, High school education equivalent (Preferred) 1 year Customer Service (Preferred), Driver’s License (Preferred) Typical start time: 7 a.m. Typical end time: 5 p.m.. Apply in person at either Courtesy dealership.


NFL Draft Q&A with Grambling’s David Moore

The LPJ caught up with former Grambling All-SWAC offensive lineman David Moore, who could be picked Friday night or Saturday in the 2021 NFL Draft. Moore (6-2, 330) had a breakout week at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and expects to be chosen sometime from the late third round to early in the fifth, based on feedback from pro teams and draft analysts.

After doing 31 reps of a 220-pound bench press and running a 5.0 40-yard time at his Pro Day, Moore validated favorable impressions from his performance in Mobile. He hasn’t played in a college game since the 2019 Bayou Classic, declaring for the draft last fall, and spent most of his time recently working out in Houston.

LPJ: With your emergence at the Senior Bowl, and the Pro Day performances you had, were those the most important days to put you in position to be drafted?

MOORE: Every day has been important because every day is an opportunity to get better. The key days were (in practice) at the Senior Bowl, and on Pro Day, because a lot of pro personnel were watching. But it’s also about what you are doing when nobody’s watching. It’s about the grind to become an NFL player, and I take pride in that, working hard and trying to benefit every day.

LPJ: What has been the most unusual part of your preparation for pro football?

MOORE: The time off (from school and football) has left me with not much to do other than work out. It’s allowed me to be stress free and work on my craft. I’ve really enjoyed the process and haven’t had any distractions.

I’ve worked on bulking up and getting more lean at the same time. I needed to drop weight but add strength to play at the next level. I just take it day-by-day through the whole process. I haven’t gotten caught up in worrying about what’s going to happen. I’ll have my opportunity.

LPJ: Have you gotten any indications of what team might call your name?

MOORE: I’ve heard from most of the NFL, about 80 percent of the league. I can’t single out one particular team, because I’ve had a lot of interest from a lot of them. I’ve been told to be prepared for anything, and I might be picked up by a team that might not have talked to me a lot. I’ll be ready.

LPJ: Who has provided you with the most beneficial insight into your draft preparation and what to expect this weekend and going forward?

MOORE: Grambling alumni Trent Scott plays for the (Carolina) Panthers (a four-year OT). To have somebody I know who’s been through this process, and has made it in the NFL, has been really helpful. Just having somebody there telling me not to make certain mistakes, I’m very grateful.

LPJ: Draft projections have you at any of the three interior OL positions. Are you a center, a guard, or what?

MOORE: I’m whatever I need to be. Whatever a team needs, I can do. I can play center, I can play guard. That’s something I take pride in. I’m an athlete and can switch it up. I’ll go and do what they ask me to do, whatever’s necessary. I’ll give it my all, to the best of my abilities.

LPJ: What team would you love to hear call your name?

MOORE: My entire family would love for me to go to the Cowboys. I’ll play for any team, but my family, they are some hard-core Cowboy fans for life. If I had a choice, it would be Dallas, for them.

LPJ: Watching the reaction of players hearing their name called is priceless. How are you going to react when that childhood dream is realized?

MOORE: I’ve never thought about that. I just got back home (in Arkansas) from Houston this week. I’ll be with my family and some friends, not too many, and I’ll be sitting there, and they’ll probably be going crazy, especially my parents. I’ll enjoy their company. The next day, it’s time to get back to work.

LPJ: You made a business decision early last fall to enter the draft, ending your college career. This spring didn’t pan out for your former team. What are your thoughts?

MOORE: It’s been tough, especially knowing the history of Grambling and how we play Grambling Tiger football. You just need to take this season as a different kind of spring practice, scrimmaging against other teams, a practice season. I know the guys are young, for the most part, and I know we’ll be fully loaded in the fall, so I’m not worried about it. Getting the experience this spring will help. I hope they’ll keep their heads up, work hard and play Grambling football and they’ll get back on top this fall.


First two cases of Brazilian COVID variant found in Louisiana

By T. Scott Boatright

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) on Thursday confirmed the state’s first two identified cases of the SARS-CoV-2 virus known as the Brazil P.1 variant.

Neither of those cases was found anywhere near Lincoln Parish. One was reported in New Orleans and the other in southwestern Louisiana.

The LDH said that neither person that has tested positive for the Brazilian variant reported doing any traveling, and that neither person has received COVID-19 vaccinations.

LDH officials said they believe there are likely other cases of the Brazilian COVID variant in the state.

According to the LDH, the Brazilian variant is the third variant of COVID-19 detected in Louisiana. The B1.1.7 variant, known as the U.K. variant, and the B.1.427/429 variant, known as the California variant, were both determined to be in the state earlier this year.

The U.K. variant is thought to be as much as 50% more transmissible than others that are widely circulating and studies have suggested it is also more likely to cause severe illness of death. According to Center for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky, the U.K. variant is the most common COVID-19 strain circulating in the U.S.


Ponderings – April 30, 2021

“Eight dollars and five cents!”

I said it loudly and with all the patience I could muster without using unforgivable four-letter words. A commentary on the American educational system was playing out right in front of me.

They both looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.

I repeated myself, “Eight dollars and five cents! You owe the man eight dollars and five cents in change.” I was thinking that this was not brain surgery nor rocket science.

I was shopping at a grocery store, which shall remain anonymous. The nice lady at the register was exasperated. She was telling everyone who would listen that she needed a break. It was time for her break. She was late for her break. “Someone needs to come relieve me, so I can take a break.” Meanwhile the nice man in front of me made a purchase. He bought several packages of bottled water. His total came to $11.95. He did something rarely seen in grocery stores across America. He paid cash.

He gave her a $20 bill.

She tapped in the amount tendered and the machine gave her the answer for how much change he would receive. But before she gave him the money. She tapped in another set of numbers so that she could go on her break. Her “taking a break” numbers erased the man’s change numbers.

A nice manager walked over and said, “Why don’t you go on your break.”

She said, “I will as soon as I give this man his change.” Then she looked at the register which she had now “erased.” She looked down at the twenty like it was some creature that was going to bite off her arm. She started fumbling for a piece of paper to do some mathematical computations. While she was fumbling for the paper and pencil. The manager was pulling out her phone and trying to get her calculator program up and running.

The customer was distracted. He was talking to a guy two checkout lanes over. He couldn’t see the mathematical mayhem brewing at the checkout line.

“Eight dollars and five cents. That is what you owe the man in change.”

“Oh.”

About that time calculator girl finished punching in her numbers and said, “You owe him eight dollars and five cents in change.”

I had done the math in my head two different ways. I also “counted the change” back to the nice man in my head. My brain is slow. I don’t have a high-powered processor up there. But counting change, c’mon man! The year I went to work at Sears they introduced electronic cash registers. They trained us on those marvels, which would do a transaction and “tell” the clerk how much to give in change. Our store manager insisted that all the employees needed to be able to “count back” the change to the customers. He was especially insistent that all his High School part-timers learn the “right way” to make change.

These two didn’t know how to “make change.”

I was struck at that moment by the awesome responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of teachers.

Even those of us who teach scripture know, “Not many of you should become teachers… for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” James 3:1.


Still Top-20 ranked Bulldogs hope to bounce back vs. Blue Raiders

LA Tech catcher Jorge Corona and his teammates are on the road at Middle Tennessee this weekend. (Photo courtesy LA TECH ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS)

Staff writer

It’s a gut check weekend for Louisiana Tech.

Following its first subpar performance in Conference USA action after losing a pair of games to last place Marshall in Ruston, the Bulldogs (28-11, 14-6 C-USA) travel to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, for a four-game series against Middle Tennessee (21-17-1, 10-9-1).

The schedule includes today’s 6 p.m. opener, Saturday’s 1 p.m. doubleheader and Sunday’s 2 p.m. finale at Reese Smith Jr. Field.

Tech skipper Lane Burroughs knows the road weekend series is vital and expects his veteran group to respond in a positive way.

“At the end of it all, we’re still first place in our division,” Burroughs said. “We’ve got to get our edge back and play looser. We have a good team. We’ve got an older team. You have these weekends, and it’s good to face some adversity and see how you respond.

“You don’t want to face adversity once you get to the postseason because there’s not time to respond. We’ve got time to respond, and our guys will be ready to go.”

Despite the two losses against the Thundering Herd, Tech is still ranked in the majority of Top 25 polls: D1Baseball (16), Baseball America (18), USA Today Sports Coaches Poll (18), NCBWA (18).

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with Middle Tennessee, 14-11, dating back to April 20, 2001. The last time the Blue Raiders and LA Tech played was March 22-24, 2019, when Bulldogs took the series 2-1 in Murfreesboro and outscored the Blue Raiders 16-10 over three games.

This year’s Blue Raiders team is led by its pitching staff that boasts a 3.87 earned run average and has combined for 327 strikeouts and only 84 walks.

“Their pitching numbers are really good,” said Burroughs. “They don’t walk people. They throw strikes. One of their guys, Aaron Brown, is tied for fifth in the nation in strikeouts (with 87), so we’ve got to put this past weekend behind us.”

Brown (5-2, 4.28 ERA, 87 strikeouts, 11 walks) is just one of a number of solid arms, including David Zoz (6-0, 1.41 ERA, 5 saves), Zach Keenan (2-3, 2.85 ERA, 53 Ks, 11 strikeouts) and Peyton Wigginton (3-2, 2.90, 46 Ks).

The Bulldogs have shown this year the ability to hit top-notch pitching, winning five out of eight against Southern Miss and defeating the likes of Arkansas and Ole Miss. Tech is ranked in the top three of 10 different offensive statistical categories in Conference USA.

“We have an older club, and it’s baseball,” Burroughs said. “There are going to be peaks and valleys during a season, and this weekend was a valley. One way to look at it is to keep it in perspective. Number one, we didn’t lose the series. Number two, our program is at a point where we’re expecting to not only win these series, but to sweep them.”

Tech fans can hear all four games on the LA Tech Sports Network on 97.7 FM or watch them streamed on CUSA.tv.


Bulldog basketball adds new coach, player; Softball at USM, golf done

Former UL Lafayette assistant and Sam Houston standout Josten Crow is a new Bulldog basketball assistant coach. (Photo courtesy UL-LAFAYETTE)

Staff writer

Louisiana Tech men’s basketball added more pieces to its roster this week – on the bench and on the floor.

Head coach Eric Konkol announced the hiring of Josten Crow as assistant coach, replacing Talvin Hester who left for Texas Tech.

Crow comes north to Ruston having been in Lafayette since 2015 with the Ragin’ Cajuns, first as a Director of Student-Athlete Development for one year then as an assistant coach for the last five seasons.

“I am humbled and blessed for the opportunity to join coach Konkol and the Bulldog family,” Crow. said “Louisiana Tech has an awesome history with a winning culture and I am eager to work alongside a great staff to focus on the continued development of our student-athletes on and off the court.”

Konkol also announced the addition of LaDamien Bradford, a Jonesboro-Hodge High School standout who played his freshman year at Texas A&M this past season.

The 6-foot-4, 223-pound guard saw action in 14 games, including appearances in eight SEC games. He ended up totaling four points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five steals on the season for the Aggies.

He played his high school basketball less than 30 minutes away from Ruston and was a two-time All-State pick and one of Louisiana’s more highly-recruited prospects in the class of 2019. “As my granny would say, ‘Sometimes the best place to be is home,'” Bradford said. “So I am coming home.”

SOFTBALL: After winning a 15-inning marathon on Tuesday night at Northwestern State, Louisiana Tech hopes to have plenty left in the tank against Southern Miss in a four-game series in Hattiesburg this weekend.

The Lady Techsters have momentum on their side, having won three straight and five of their last six. LA Tech (19-24, 7-5 C-USA) currently sits in third in the West Division with two conference series remaining.

USM (20-25, 2-10 C-USA) is headed in the other direction, having lost 12 straight.
Game one is set for 6 p.m. today. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. and the series concludes on Sunday at 1 p.m. Links to the live stream, live audio and live stats can be found at LATechSports.com.

GOLF: Louisiana Tech had its worst round of the C-USA Championships on the final day, shooting +7 (295) as a team to finish at +10 for the tournament.

LA Tech was in fourth after day one, then slid to seventh on day two, only to finish in ninth place and have its season come to an end.

“We were very disappointed to finish the way we did,” said Tech head coach Matt Terry. “It’s definitely not the way we wanted to see our season end. I am eager to get back to Ruston and back to work. The 2021-22 season will be here quickly and that means it starts now.”

Individually, the Murphy brothers were the top two Bulldogs. Sam led the team with a -1 (t-13th), followed by Mac at +1 (t-23rd).


Tigers host Prairie View in battle for SWAC baseball West Division lead

Grambling baseball photo by T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT/LPJ

Staff writer

Grambling’s baseball team carries the lead in the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division into its weekend series with visiting Prairie View, which is a game back.

The plan is to start the series at 6 p.m. Friday at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park, with a 3 p.m. game Saturday and the series finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Weather could likely scramble that slate, so fans should keep an eye on the @GSU_Tigers Twitter account or GSUTigers.com website for updated game times and info.

Coach James Cooper’s G-Men are 14-19 overall but 11-4 in the SWAC, coming off a lopsided sweep last weekend at Texas Southern followed by a shutout loss Tuesday at LSU. Grambling has won 14 of its last 22 overall.

Prairie View is 10-15 overall, and 10-6 in the SWAC.

Jackson State has run away with the East Division, owning an 18-0 SWAC mark and an overall 24-8 record.

SOFTBALL: The Lady Tigers dropped a SWAC single game at Jackson State 3-1 Wednesday night and have the weekend off. Grambling (10-15, 7-7) will play at Prairie View in a SWAC series beginning Tuesday.

Radjahnae Dupont-Barlow had two of Grambling’s four hits at Jackson State, and the only RBI.


State senate passes concealed carry bill

By T. Scott Boatright

The Louisiana Senate voted Tuesday to end the requirement for people to need to have and carry a concealed handgun in the state.

Now the proposal has been sent to the state House for debate on what is expected to be a near party-line vote.

If made into law, the legislation would end Louisiana’s current requirement that gun owners who carry concealed weapons need a permit that requires them to take several hours of training on gun safety and pay a fee to the Louisiana State Police.

Permits would still be available to those who want to get one, including as needed to carry concealed weapons in other states that maintain reciprocity agreements with Louisiana.

Louisiana Gov. Joh Bel Edwards has voiced his opposition to the legislation — Senate Bill 118 — and should he do what he says he intends to do if it’s passed and veto it, Republicans don’t have enough members in the House to override the rejection without picking up support from Democrats or the chamber’s two members without party affiliation to reach the two-thirds vote by both the state House and Senate need to override a veto.

Senate Bill 118 as authored by Sen. Jay Morris (R-Monroe), who represents part of Lincoln Parish. Another senator who represents another part of Lincoln Parish — Jay Luneau (D-Alexandria) — voiced concerns during debate over the bill, asking why hunters are required to have training (Louisiana’s Hunter Safety Course), while if passed Morris’ bill would require no training for concealed carry.

“Our freedom and liberty should be exercised with a good dose of common sense, and that’s what we’re lacking here,” Luneau said.

The Senate voted 27-11 in favor of Senate Bill 118.