Barmore statue unveiling, documentary premiere set for Homecoming weekend

Louisiana Tech will honor legendary Hall of Fame coach Leon Barmore during a couple of events on Homecoming Weekend 2021. 

On Friday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m., the Leon Barmore statue will be unveiled on the front steps of the Thomas Assembly Center, the building where Barmore’s teams dominated opponents – with a record of 300-17 – during his time as Tech’s coach. The statue was funded through private donations in Barmore’s honor.

 Tech Athletics partnered with world-renowned sculptor Brian Hanlon to create the tribute. Hanlon has created more than 550 public and private art pieces during the past 35 years and is the official sculptor of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In addition to the statue unveil ceremony, the premiere of Coach: The Leon Barmore Story, an 84-minute documentary will be held the night before (Thursday, Oct. 21) at 7 p.m. in Howard Auditorium. Admission is free.

The film celebrates the legacy of a Ruston native who starred for Tech’s Bulldogs as a player, then coached himself into enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2003), the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame (2003) and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame (2004).

(Watch the trailer, produced by University Communications and University Videographer Carter Carroll.)

Barmore joined the Lady Techster coaching staff in 1977. During the next glorious 25 years until his retirement in 2002, he built a record of 576-87, the highest winning percentage in the history of both men’s and women’s college basketball. He guided Louisiana Tech’s Lady Techsters to 13 Final Fours, eight national title games, and three national championships.

He served as the assistant coach from 1977 through 1982, co-head coach from 1982 through 1985, and head coach from 1985 through 2002. He was a part of 24 national postseason tournaments, made national championship appearances in 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1994 and 1998, and earned national championships in 1981 (AIAW), 1982 (NCAA) and 1988 (NCAA).

The Ruston native coached 16 Kodak All-Americans, 14 WNBA players, four Olympians, and three Wade Trophy winners. He was a nine-time Conference Coach of the Year, the 1988 Naismith National Coach of the Year, the 1990 and 1996 United States Basketball Association (USBWA) National Coach of the Year, and the 1990 USBWA co-Coach of the Decade.

Photo: LA Tech Athletic Communications

Dubach School art celebrates Chicken Festival

The Chicken Festival returned to the town of Dubach, and the students at Dubach School created chickens in a variety of ways with art teacher Mrs. Lauren Dixon.

Each class started working on their chickens in anticipation of the Chicken Festival’s return.

Five judges from the community came and judged each grade’s art work after school one evening. The judges selected their top three choices and an honorable mention for each grade.

The judges had a hard time deciding on the winners, as each student was able to put his or her own artistic creative touch into designing his or her chicken.

Some classes drew their chickens on paper using paint to color them, others used canvas and paint, and some created paper mache chickens. Students in fourth and fifth grades also wrote a story about their chickens. 

The winners are pictured and their art work will be displayed at First Guaranty Bank in the near future.

Creek hosts River Oaks Friday

Cedar Creek may be one of the better 1-2 teams in the state entering this weekend’s home contest against River Oaks. Kickoff from Cougar Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Friday night.

Head coach Matt Middleton’s Cougars are coming off a 33-22 loss to No. 1 ranked OCS in a game that saw the Cougars hold the lead with less than two minutes to play in the game.

And although it was a heartbreaking loss for Creek, Middleton believes it could give his team some added confidence and momentum.

“I will be honest Monday’s practice was not what I expected or wanted,” said Middleton. “But I thought (Tuesday and Wednesday) we came out with our hair on fire. I thought we practiced really well. I do think we have some confidence now. I believe that. I think we are in a situation where we could get on a run if some things go our way.”

The Cougars two losses have come to No. 1 OCS and No. 7 St. Frederick’s (7-6 final score). This week’s opponent is the Mustangs from River Oaks, who enter 2-2 with wins over Tensas (34-12) and Montgomery (48-42) and losses to Glenbrook (59-28) and Delta Charter (30-16).

“They are going to be really well coached,” said Middleton. “Robert Hannah has been there for 35 years. He has been the head coach since 1994. They are going to be extremely sound and coached well. They are just going to be short on numbers. I think they have 24 they are dressing out; somewhere around there.

“They have some young guys playing. I think he does a really good job. That’s not coach speak. I think he is a real good coach. I just think he is in a tough situation right now.”

Cedar Creek has been led by its defense this season, especially tough against the run. The Cougars did give up big pass plays last week in the loss to OCS. Middleton thinks River Oaks will try to line up and run the football.

“They are going to line up in the I-formation,” said Middleton. “They are going to run counter, power, and get after it a little bit. They will get in some spread sets but they are going to try to ground and pound and control the clock.”

Offensively, the Creek has been mostly a run-oriented team led by Jed Worthey, Lane Thomas, AJ Thomas and Lawson Lillo. Worthey rushed for over 150 yards and two scores last Friday night against OCS.

“River Oaks is going to base out of a 4-3 or a 4-2-5 with four down lineman and play cover four,” said Middleton “They will go cover 3 against two back sets. They are pretty sound.”

Middleton does hope the Cougars will start to click a little more through the air, although he is concerned about the weather forecast for Friday night.

“In the past places I’ve been we have thrown it and we have thrown it very effectively,” he said. “That’s what I would really like to do. (Caden) does a really good job of doing that. We have struggled up front O-line wise. But we have gotten better. I think we are in a position to (throw it more). We have been through one really bad rain game, and to be honest it looks like we are in for another one. We just can’t seem to catch a weather break.”

The contest can be heard on 101.9 FM with Kevin Bayles and David Cole providing the call of the action. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Photo: Darrell James (

Speeding car leads to firearms arrest

A traffic stop by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Department Monday afternoon led to an arrest and seizure of some heavy weaponry.

Deputy D. Johnston was monitoring traffic on Interstate 20 when the deputy clocked a white Ford at 103 miles an hour in the 70 mph zone. During a subsequent investigation, three firearms were located in the car including a Glock pistol with an extended magazine, a .223 rifle, and a pistol with a drum magazine. All the weapons were loaded.

The Glock was under the seat of a passenger, Courtney Da Quan Milton, 22, of Shreveport, who was identified as a convicted felon. Two other two firearms were also within Milton’s reach.

Another passenger, Devoris Hardy, of Shreveport, was found to have a second-degree murder charge pending from the Dec. 6 shooting death of 24-year-old Jacoby Ware in Shreveport. 

Milton was arrested for possession of firearms by a convicted felon and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. Bail was set at $20,000.

The driver was issued traffic citations.

Carter Carroll: Going behind the scenes of the Barmore documentary

 By Alexis Newman

A new documentary by Louisiana Tech videographer Carter Carroll seeks to both remind fans and introduce newcomers to Lady Techsters’ basketball Coach Leon Barmore’s legacy. 

The documentary, titled “Coach: The Leon Barmore Story,” will have a public premiere at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at Howard Auditorium, which is one day before a statue of Leon Barmore placed in front of the Thomas Assembly Center will be unveiled. Admission to the public viewing of the documentary will be free, but it will also be released on the Louisiana Tech YouTube channel Oct. 23 for anyone who is unable to attend.

The film will include highlights from archived footage of games coached by Barmore and multiple interviews that together tell the story of how Coach Barmore made women’s basketball history by leading the Lady Techsters to victory at a record pace, earning a .869 winning percentage. 

Despite planning to make the documentary since last fall, the filming of the interviews didn’t start until July of this year. Carroll said the two biggest challenges were getting everything finished by the deadline and also having to reduce the number of interviews that he had originally hoped for. Thankfully, the star, Coach Barmore, delivered his story in an open and authentic way that will give the audience a crucial perspective into how history was made.

“Getting to interview Coach Barmore in what people call the house that (Leon) built, being the Thomas Assembly Center, really was incredible,” Carroll said. “I’m really just looking forward to people being able to hear from him and also to hear from Coach Kim Mulkey who also was here for almost all of Leon’s years.”

A major motivator for Carroll in the creation the documentary was his personal connection to it. Ruston is his hometown, and his family has connections to both Louisiana Tech and Barmore. It is this personal factor that Carroll feels allows him to tell the story in the best way possible.

“I think has just made me want to tell it correctly and tell it in a really genuine way because I think that it’s very important to me to tell authentic stories about Louisiana Tech and its people,” Carroll said. “Telling his story was always something that was really important to me whenever people would ask me what stories around Ruston I would want to tell.”

The Lady Techsters and Barmore’s success was a big deal at the time and had a significant impact on the community and the game of women’s basketball. His hard work and record-breaking number of wins is an important part of the history of Louisiana Tech, and Carroll felt that it was important to commemorate that.

“When you look at the Lady Techsters, especially during the ’80s and ’90s, it was such a big force of love and appreciation and support from the Ruston community,” Carroll said. “They gave us one of the best basketball teams in the country for (more than) 20 years, and that’s something that we should celebrate as a community and something that we should still celebrate today.”

FIRMLY FOUNDED: Early settlers laid foundation for Ruston’s educational excellence

By Wesley Harris

The first words in Ruston High’s alma mater, “firmly founded,” offer an apt description of the bedrock on which local educational institutions were established. When Ruston was created in 1884 on the new east-west railroad, towns bypassed by the trains lost some of their most progressive leaders to the up-and-coming settlement. Seeking opportunities offered by the rail line, the new arrivals brought with them a commitment to education that endures in Ruston and Lincoln Parish today.

The town’s namesake, Robert Edwin Russ, shrewdly negotiated the sale of property to the railroad in exchange for the establishment of a depot and a new town. Russ donated land for churches, schools, and other public facilities. Ruston’s first school was near the current farmer’s market location beside the railroad. Passing trains likely drew young eyes from their lessons.

On the current City Hall site, a small college named Ruston Male and Female Academy was launched, offering instruction from grade school through collegiate studies. After a couple of years, the school became known as Ruston College.  

From 1891 to 1905, the Louisiana Chautauqua played an important role in Ruston’s cultural and educational life, making the town the intellectual center for the region. In choosing Ruston for their annual summer educational retreat, Chautauqua leaders noted the “refined culture of the people, their public spirit, their hospitality, their intense interest in all forms of thought and learning…” 

A shady sanctuary known for its mineral springs a mile and a half north of town hosted the annual event. A massive two-story hotel along with cottages housed participants and an open-air auditorium permitted seating for up to 2,000. Typical features ranged from lectures by national personalities in the fields of religion, literature, and politics to community singing and theatrical productions. Lecture subjects included poetry, art, and languages. William Jennings Bryan, three-time Presidential candidate, became one of the most popular of all Louisiana Chautauqua speakers. Toma Lodge Estates and The Bridge now occupy the old Chautauqua site.  

Ruston’s support for the Chautauqua stirred interest in obtaining a state college for the town. In 1894, the Chautauqua reached the height of its popularity and the recognition it brought to Ruston aided in bringing the Louisiana Industrial Institute, now called Louisiana Tech, into existence. 

Tech continues to grow in stature and prestige from the one student graduated in its first class in 1897 to nearly 13,000 students enrolled today. National accolades for affordability and academic excellence roll in routinely for Tech.

In 1900, Booker T. Washington of the renowned Tuskegee Institute sent Charles P. Adams to organize a school for African Americans just west of Ruston. Adams was more than a leader and teacher—he had to cut down the trees to clear a lot for the school’s early buildings. He would serve for 36 years as president of one of the nation’s most familiar historically black colleges, now known as Grambling State University.

Local schools have received state and national recognition and provide a range of unique educational opportunities. The public school system consistently rates among the best in Louisiana. 

Ruston’s longstanding dedication to educational excellence began with visionary pioneers and continues today through the efforts of educators and leaders who follow those early examples.

GSU student releases third book

A GSU student, known for making waves across social media with daily inspirational posts, released her third book.

Jada Starks, a senior studying psychology and sociology from Farmerville, uses her social media platforms to inspire Grambling students and people across the country.

After months of preparation and many long nights writing, Starks released her third devotional book titled “Mirror, Mirror.”

Starks said that this book is her favorite published work, because it was different from her previous books.

“This is such a big moment for me because I worked so hard for this,” she said. “I’ve gone through a lot of trauma in my life. I’ve been judged and criticized. Seeing people purchase my book makes me feel like all of the hard work paid off. Although I am proud of myself, this is just the beginning.”

Starks said this book is very different from her previous books because she has be- come a better writer and she was more transparent with her experiences.

“It’s a lot more personal,” she said. “I’m opening up more from a few personal experiences rather than just providing a daily devotional so that my readers can relate. I included a lot of illustrations and metaphors as well. God really ministered to me as I was writing each devotion.”

Starks said she hopes to inspire others to do more self reflection and healing.

“I want to inspire people to look beneath the surface. I was judged, criticized, before I be- came the person I am today. I was going through something no one understood.

“My book is about seeing the real you in order to become the real you by taking a look deep within yourself,” Starks said.

Starks said that “Mirror, Mirror” is a special book to her because during the process of writing she healed herself from the past.

“This book is so special to me because through the process of writing this, I allowed God to fully knit my open wounds. I stepped more into my calling and I took a look deeper into my life,” Starks said. 

Stark’s book is available for purchase on all platforms. She will also host a book signing soon. For more information about the book signing email her at jinspiresmotivations@

All of Starks books will be available for purchase on her website on Sept. 27.

“I plan to connect with my audience one-on-one and answer questions about my book. I will be hosting a book signing and inviting everyone to come. I appreciate all of the support I’ve received so far and I know more is in store,” Starks said.


Stewart joins GSU staff

Grambling State University Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Trayvean Scott, announced on Wednesday the addition of Taylor Stewart as the Associate AD for External Relations and Chief of Staff. 

Stewart comes to Grambling from Southern University and A&M College where she worked as the Director of Marketing and Development/ Head Cheerleading Coach. 

“Taylor Stewart has proved to be an invaluable part of our administration over the last three years and has earned the role as Chief of Staff, in addition to her role as Associate Athletic Director for External Relations,” said Scott.

“This role is perfectly suited for someone of her immense talents and problem-solving skills. I look forward to working with her more closely on our executive team as we implement our strategic objectives and goals in an effort to move Grambling State University Athletics forward.” 

As the Director of Marketing and Development she spearheaded the Stand United Individual Giving Campaign as well as oversaw all development areas including Lacumba Kids Club, S-Club, and Jags Unlimited.

She was also charged with creating digital content for the Department’s social media platforms. As the cheerleading Coach she led the Southern University Cheerleading program to a 2nd place finish at the 2021 NCA College Nationals in the Small Coed D1 intermediate division.  

Stewart is no stranger to Grambling State University as she was a GSU TV sideline reporter for Football, Men’s and Women’s Basketball as well as a former Miss CoverGirl and Grambling State Cheerleader. While also in college, Stewart became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Student Ambassadors, and the Student Government Association. Prior to graduation Taylor had internships with WDSU, Reach Media, and the Tom Joyner Foundation.  

Stewart is a native of Columbia, Maryland and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in 2017 from Grambling and her Master’s of Science in Communication specializing in Public Relations from Syracuse University in 2020.  

‘Birds of Paradise’ leaves less than idyllic impression

By Alexis Newman

“Birds of Paradise,” a recently released drama on Amazon Prime, delivers on its promise for drama, and the synopsis hints at potentially entertaining intrigue, but the question is whether the execution meets the expectations.

The movie centers around Kate Sanders (Diana Silvers), an American girl who dreams of being part of the Opéra national de Paris despite coming from modest means. While training at a ballet school in Paris for a chance to win a competition that will make her dreams come true, she meets Marine (Kristine Froseth), another ballet dancer who is known for excellent dancing skills and is seemingly Kate’s polar opposite. After a violent first impression, the two are rivals for a short time before becoming friends due to them sharing a room and going to a nightclub together. 

As the competition progresses and the stakes rise, Kate becomes desperate. She initially entered into a pact with Marine that dictated that the two work together and either win together or lose together, but Kate finds other methods that send her to the top faster: doing drugs, having affairs and taking advantage of any opportunities that arise— even if it means pushing others down in the process.

Meanwhile, Marine struggles with the death of her twin brother, the lack of support from her family for pursuing her real passion in interpretive dance, and the betrayal of her new closest confidante Kate. Marina and Kate both, throughout the movie, seem unable to pinpoint exactly where the boundaries of their relationship lie, whether they’re friends, sisters or lovers.

Overall, “Birds of Paradise” is too full of clichés and the protagonist is too frustrating for it to be a smash hit. While the film has a high-quality look, the shiny veneer is simply a façade for moderately interesting version of a plot you’ve probably seen in dozens of other movies. 

This certainly isn’t the worst movie to watch, and it has some redeeming qualities like beautiful dance sequences, a realistic dose of French speaking and an easy to follow narrative. Unfortunately, though, the cons just may outweigh the pros in this case. Anyone looking to form their own opinion should make sure to mind the R rating as some content may be upsetting to some viewers.

Notice of death

Cecil F. “Buddy” Gilmore 
June 21, 1926 – September 28, 2021 
First Baptist Church, Calhoun 
Saturday, October 2, 2021, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm 
First Baptist Church, Calhoun 
Saturday, October 2, 2021, 3:00 pm 
Roselawn Memorial Gardens 
Saturday, October 2, 2021 

Zilla Ann Doughty Cone 
February 22, 1955 – September 27, 2021 
Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston 
Sunday, October 3, 2021, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm 
Temple Baptist Church Chapel 
Monday, October 4, 2021, 2:00 pm 
Pleasant Grove Cemetery 
Monday, October 4, 2021 

Demerious Jones (Poppy) 
October 7, 1999 – September 24, 2021 
King’s Funeral Home 
October 1, 2021, 3-5 p.m. 
Mt. Sinai Baptist Church 
October 2, 2021, 2 p.m. 

John Bel Edwards speaks at Marbury Ethics Lecture

By Thomas Stodghill, IV

Louisiana Tech’s College of Business hosted the 15th Annual Marbury Lecture Series in memory of William Ardis Marbury Jr. and Virginia Lomax Marbury. The event was kicked off by the dean of the College of Business, Dr. Chris Marten.

The guest speaker for the conference on Sept. 28 was Gov. John Bel Edwards, who discussed via Zoom ethical leadership amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edwards talked about some things he did before the pandemic started, such as expanding Medicaid and taking ethics training, which he said is required for all state employees.

When the pandemic started, he said he wanted to make decisions that would balance everyone’s decisions, including deciding who is an essential worker, what businesses are essential, dealing with a food crisis and Internet access.

He also talked about that Louisiana was open about the disparity of the COVID-19 pandemic in African American communities. He discussed that they were more affected than other groups.

“Be honest about what you do and do not know, and be transparent,” Edwards said.

He talked about listening to health officials about the COVID-19 pandemic and the mask mandate in Louisiana, which he said he was thankful had returned.

He also spent his time talking about preparing for hurricanes Laura and Ida, which affected Louisiana greatly. He believed that making decisions about natural disasters need to be just right.

“A good decision timely made is better than a perfect decision at a poor time,” Edwards said.

After his main discussion, the floor was open to questions. People asked about evacuating hospitals and potential jobs in Louisiana.

He said that he is meeting with people to hopefully bring more jobs to Louisiana, bringing up examples of new plants in Columbia and East Baton Rouge Parishes.

He also acknowledged the decision to end unemployment benefits in Louisiana. He accepts that although that was a controversial decision, he could not have expected another surge of COVID-19.

He concluded his time with some advice. He said he believes in making decisions timely that will help you sleep at night and acknowledging your mistakes.

Active and Aware: Recognizing the signs 

It just takes a little light to shine in the darkness. 

Ann Thompson, Lincoln Parish Coordinator with the Youth Empowerment Program, shared ways teachers can recognize, prevent and report child abuse to Louisiana Tech’s College of Education’s Teacher Residency Program. 

Dr. Amy Vessel, an associate professor and director of clinical and professional experiences, said the workshops Thompson delivered were very informative. 

“Our goal as educators is always to provide a safe learning environment,” Vessel said. “We hope these workshops are extremely beneficial to our future teachers.” 

Thompson said her goal is to teach all individuals, not just teachers, how to recognize signs of abuse. 

“Potential signs of abuse can be physical, emotional and behavioral,” Thompson said. “However, some children show no signs of being abused. We don’t have to leap to suspicion of abuse with one sign, but it means we should reach out to a child and play the role of a safe and caring adult.” 

Thompson facilitates the Darkness to Light’s Stewards of Children training. This two-hour training teaches adults practical ways to prevent child sexual abuse or intervene if abuse is suspected, discovered or disclosed. Stewards of Children upholds that sexual abuse prevention and response is an adult’s job. The foundation of the training is five steps to protecting children. These five steps form a framework for preventing child sexual abuse. 

“The first step is to learn the facts,” Thompson said. “Understanding the facts about child sexual abuse enables adults to break through denial and fear, so that they can better protect the children in their life. Child sexual abuse is any sexual act between and adult and a minor, or between two minors, when one exerts power of the other. Forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act. It also includes non-contact acts such as exhibitionism, exposer to pornography, voyeurism and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or internet.” 

One in 10 children will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday, Thompson said. Ninety-three percent of those victimized children are abused by someone they know and trust. 

“If a child discloses sexual abuse, that child has taken a huge risk in telling you,” Thompson said. “Listen calmly. Do not overreact. Let the child know you believe them, and what has happened to them is not their fault. Praise them for being brave and courageous. 

“Report the sexual abuse to Child Protective Services or any law enforcement agency. Less than 8% of child sexual abuse reports are false. If an adult discovers child sexual abuse, meaning the adult had witnessed a sexually abusive act by an adult or youth with a child, or you know by another way that abuse has taken place. Report the discovery immediately.” 

If adults have suspicions of abuse, Thompson said to reach out to that child with sensitivity and patience. Ask what is bothering them. Adults have to consider sexual abuse when they see any signs of distress in a child.  

Adults who suspect abuse can describe the behavior of the child and include an open-ended question about what is bothering them. They might ask, “I have noticed that you seem sad lately, and you are usually so happy. Is something bothering you that you want to talk about?”  

After the abuse has been reported to the authorities, contact your local child advocacy center. Pine Hills Children’s Advocacy Center covers Ruston, and The Center for Children and Families covers Monroe. 

For more information or to schedule a training, contact Thompson at You can also call or text her at (318) 548-1353. 

Worth(ey) enough? Creek relies on star tailback

Jed Worthey (3) overcame an ankle injury to rush for over 150 yards against No. 1 ranked OCS last weekend.

By T. Scott Boatright

Deception can be a big part of football.

It can come in the form of deceptive scores, deceptive plays and deceptive speed.

That later is significantly true of senior Cedar Creek running back Jed Worthey, who stands 5’8” at most and only weighs around 135 pounds.

But he’s played like a big, and deceptive, offensive weapon for the Cougars so far this season.

“He plays extremely hard and is very aggressive,” said first-year Cedar Creek head coach Matt Middleton. “It’s kind of one of those deals where you look at him and you don’t realize, but he’s a player. He plays much bigger than he is. He runs extremely hard and gets after it. He runs wide open, and the more he plays the better he gets.”

Fittingly, Worthey’s season got off to a somewhat deceptive start. After Cedar Creek’s first game scheduled to be played against Liberty Magnet was cancelled due to Hurricane Ida’s strike on south Louisiana, Worthey rolled his ankle in the Cougars’ second game against St. Frederick.

Then he played sparingly in Cedar Creek’s second game on a rainy field at Delhi.

But then the Cougars faced arch-rival OCS last week, a game which Cedar Creek led 22-21 in the final minutes before a couple of late touchdowns allowed the Eagles to escape with a 33-21 win.

“I first hurt it in the game against St. Fred’s,” Worthey said of his ankle. “I tried to go against Delhi but it was raining and I could feel the ankle wasn’t working too good. I got hit and tweaked it and ended up sitting out the rest of that game. 

“Then I really wasn’t too sure going in against OCS how long it would hold up. But it was a good game and I guess the adrenaline kind of kicked in and held it together. At the beginning of the week I knew it was going to be OCS and I was going to play no matter what, no matter how hurt it was. The fact it was OCS really drove me to stick through it.”

Stick it out he did, to the tune of 160 rushing yards and two scores on 25 carries

That kind of intestinal fortitude hasn’t been lost on the Cedar Creek coaching staff and especially Middleton.

“He’s been beat up all season long but still finds a way to play,” Middleton said. “There was a little panic that first week or two. It’s been something really. He’s taken a lot of punishment. I was worried, and I hate to say this in a way, but when I saw him in the spring make all of the cuts he made, I knew he was ‘The Dude.’ I knew he had something special. He’s got great vision. He can cut on a dime and be at full speed two or three steps later.

“Lane Thomas has really come on lately to give us a better chance to rest Jed a little bit. We weren’t able to rest him at all at first.”

As some who played primarily at receiver the past two seasons, Worthey feels he fits in much better with the new Cedar Creek offense installed by Middleton.

“It’s completely different,” Worthey said of the new Cougars’ offense. “This offense has a lot more player option, not just ‘you’re going to run this and that’s the only way.’ It’s more like the player on the field makes the decision about where the ball is going to go. That goes for the quarterback and for me as running back. (Caden Middleton) gives me the ball, and I get to pick where I run based on how it sets up on the field. It just works out. We kind of click. It just came naturally and keeps getting better every day.”

Matt Middleton said Worthey is the perfect fit for the new scheme.

“He’s what I call a true 1-back,” Middleton said. “My background is a 1-back offense. He’s a guy that sees a cut and makes the cut. He does a lot more reading than people might realize. It’s not old school where you run to this hole through that gap. He’s got really good vision and is only going to get better as the year goes on.”

Middleton also appreciates the quiet leader Worthey is for the Cougars.

“He’s a good leader,” Middleton said. “He doesn’t yell a whole lot — he leads by example. But when he does say something his teammates listen. But the biggest thing is that he leads by the way he plays.”

Worthey said part of his improvement this year is because of the position change.

“I like running back a lot more,” Worthey said. “I really wouldn’t say that I’ve had the best hands. I much rather have someone just hand me the ball and let me do what I do and run with it.”

Worthey used to run track but said that switching to powerlifting, where he won an individual state championship last year in the 132-pound class, has also helped.

“That definitely has made me way more explosive,” Worthey said. “I’m a lot stronger in my lower body, so I can explode. And I can take more and bigger hits than before and keep fighting through them.”

Worthey, a strong student and member of the National Honor Society, said he’s been playing football since elementary. And he knows that with the chance of getting a football scholarship at his size not being guaranteed, he’s just concentrating on one day and one play at a time.

“I know it’s unlikely I’ll play college ball, so I just work hard and make sure to focus on my education,” Worthey said. “I know there’s a good chance this is my last year of playing, so I have to make it the best one. “

Photo: Darrell James (

Lincoln Prep faces tough test at Calvary Baptist

By T. Scott Boatright

The Lincoln Preparatory School football team faces its toughest test so far this season as they play at Calvary Baptist on Friday at the season’s midpoint.

Maybe even worse for the Panthers, they’ll be facing a Cavaliers team, ranked No. 2 in this week’s Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 1A Prep Football Poll, coming off a 23-14 loss to Class 5A Rummel, which stands at 2-0 in a season shortened by Hurricane Ida’s August strike on south Louisiana.

Calvary (3-1) opened the season with wins over Logansport, Glenbrook and Arcadia by a combined score of 167-26. That’s an average win of 56-9 before the Cavaliers fell to Rummel.

Rummel, the defending Div. IV state champion, held a three-point lead over Calvary heading into the fourth quarter, when the Raiders went on a 12-play, 75-yard drive to go on top 23-14 after the missed extra point, with all 75 yards of the drive coming on the ground. 

The Raiders sealed the win away on the ensuing series as they picked off a pass thrown by Cavaliers quarterback Landry Lyddy for a second time in the second half of the contest.

The Cavaliers can successfully throw the ball, too, as Lyddy, a Louisiana Tech commitment, showed by firing a pair of scoring strikes against the Raiders. 

Lincoln Prep (3-1) is coming off a big 33-6 win at Arcadia last week. It marked the first time the Panthers had defeated the rival Hornets since 2015.

But the prior week the Panthers played their worst game of the season in a 48-14 loss at Glenbrook.

Lincoln Prep head coach Glen Hall said he’s been reminding his team in practices this week about that Glenbrook loss for specific reasons.

“I’m just reminding them of what happened the last time we didn’t prepare mentally,” Hall said. “Because both of those teams are mirror teams. Glenbrook does the same thing Calvary does. Those teams are mirrors of each other. They both run the spread. They both throw the ball. They both run draws and both run screens.

“But of course, Calvary is a well-oiled machine. They have more and better weapons and truly have the ability to beat schools much bigger than they are and that have many more talented players. They’ve proven that. Calvary is one of the best programs in the state on any level.”

But Hall also knows what his team needs to do to play better than it did against Glenbrook and possibly give themselves the chance to shock the Louisiana prep football world.

“We just need to go in there and when we get the ball, we need to control it,” Hall said. “We have to focus on time possession drives. We want to rush the ball. We want to run behind my big line and get first down after first down. We’ll need to execute on the play action pass and score. If we can do all of that, we can make the game shorter and maybe give ourselves a chance.”

The fact that the Panthers were playing short of a pair of key linemen against Glenbrook, including blue chipper Imani Marcel, is a reason to feel a little more hopeful against Calvary.

“Not having those guys against Glenbrook showed,” Hall said. “Glenbrook spent the night in our (offensive) backfield that game. We can’t let that happen again. But the fact we have our line back completely healthy is crucial. That showed in the way we played against Arcadia last week.

“We know what we’re up against. All I want to see is for us to play a better game than we did against Glenbrook. I want to see us execute and play competitive football — Lincoln Prep Panthers football. That’s all I can really ask for. But if we can do that, who knows. I promise one thing. We’re going in with the mindset of fighting to beat Cavalry and surprise people. We have something going this season and we don’t want to stop now.”

Photo: Tony Valentino

Teacher Feature: 5 Questions with Ashton Guin

Ashton Guin is the new head softball coach and math teacher at Ruston High School. Guin is a graduate of Louisiana Tech, where she was a manager for the Lady Techsters softball program.

1. Has softball always been part of your life?

My dad was a Little League Baseball coach when I was in elementary, but I didn’t pick up a softball until I was in the seventh grade. Since then, softball has been my passion through high school, travel ball, college and into coaching. 

2. When did you decide to become a coach?

I started coaching at 17, right out of high school, for the 14u team in my organization. As those kids moved up, so did I and I continued to coach that group through to 18u. During that time, I realized it wasn’t just a hobby, but something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Most coaches I knew went the kinesiology route, and so I moved out of secondary math to physical education. P.E. was fun, but it wasn’t fulfilling for me, so I ended up moving into the classroom. Now, ironically, I am teaching high school math and I am just as passionate about teaching as I am coaching. 

3. You were coaching at Byrd, your alma mater. What convinced you to come to Ruston High as a math teacher and head coach?

I always wanted to return to Byrd and to turn it into the program it deserved to be. There were so many coaches over the past 10 years, and I thought with some stability and the potential of the current players, I could turn it around. The program has so much potential.  When the position at Byrd originally came open, I didn’t think I was ready, so instead I passed up on the opportunity and served as the assistant coach for four years. After the fourth year, I knew I was ready to move up. Byrd’s position wasn’t open. I did, however; have opportunities at other high schools and a D3 college in Texas. I was tempted to take the college route until I became aware of Ruston’s open position. Without a doubt, RHS can be a softball powerhouse. Their facilities are beyond anything in the area, the school has an A rating, and they even had a math opening. I couldn’t have found a better opportunity than becoming a Ruston Bearcat. 

4. What has been the biggest surprise or change you are experiencing since joining the RHS faculty?

I will say, the last school I taught at didn’t have stairs! The faculty at RHS has been very welcoming and helpful during my transition and nothing has proven to be difficult thanks to their support. The biggest change is being away from my family, but my softball players and parents are a very close second. I have many coaches I can rely on for assistance and my content and team teachers have my back in the classroom. Principal (Dan) Gressett runs a tight ship here and I couldn’t ask for a better school, colleagues, students, parents or players.

5. Tell us about your coaching and/or teaching philosophy.

My philosophy is to develop players/students who give 100% in everything they do in life AND enjoy doing it. In the end, athletes who aren’t having fun won’t be contributing, and it takes every player to be successful at any level of softball.  I believe in giving everybody the chance to succeed. We focus on working from the ground up, understanding the intellectual and psychological part of the game, and hope that the mentality it creates will lead to winning on the field.

GSU student among artists at HBCUs who created murals interpreting themes in film

Ja’Marcus Willis, a junior visual and performing arts major at Grambling State University, is among student artists at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who brought film to life through art. 

HBCU Buzz, a multi-media company, teamed up with Universal Pictures and Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions for the Candyman HBCU Artist Showcase. Six student artists at HBCUs around the country were selected to interpret the social impact and artistry in the film by creating murals.  

The recently released movie is a sequel to the 1992 horror classic. It featured the bee-infested and hook brandishing Candyman character, who frightened movie goers and illustrated the treatment of marginalized people in inner city Chicago. 

The sequel is again set in Chicago – this time at the location of the original Cabrini Green housing projects now gentrified. An unsuspecting artist learns the sad and unjust story of urban legend Candyman and wants to bring the story to life through his art. However, it may prove to be a momentous mistake. The film touches on the present day social climate and injustices. 

Willis’ artwork, titled “Candyman Vision Perspective”, is on display at the campus bookstore. He describes it as “a bee’s reflection of its eyes inside the eyes that show symbolism and descriptions of what the movie is overall about and consists of.” 

Willis, of Springhill, said he got interested in art at a young age.

“It has always been a part of my life and was first a hobby but now it’s my best passion,” he said. “I want to make it a career somehow.”

Willis said he enjoys the creativity and uniqueness of being an artist and feels thankful and blessed for his gift.

Rodrecas L. Davis, head of the GSU Department of Visual & Performing Arts, said Willis is “heavily inspired by graphic design, and street art aesthetics.”

“There’s an immediacy in his work that was perfect for the emotional content of this fil,” Davis said. “The opportunity, which required that students work within the confines of a deadline, collaborate remotely, and synthesize the broader concerns of a topic into a singular image – all things that we push for our majors to experience.” 

Holtz returns to familiar place Saturday

Skip Holtz returns to a familiar setting this weekend.

Holtz and the Bulldogs will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend to face No. 23 ranked North Carolina State. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT and the game can be seen on the ACCN+ or ESPN+.

The Wolfpack (3-1) are coming off a 27-21 double overtime win over previously No. 9 ranked Clemson this past Saturday and Holtz knows his team is in for quite a challenge.

“The task doesn’t get any easier this week,” Holtz told reporters during his normal Tuesday press conference. “Dave Doeren does a great job with that program. He’s been there quite a while and he’s done a really nice job. Right now, he has one of his better football teams that he’s had.

“They had a huge win last week against Clemson. When you look at this football team, the word solid comes to mind. They’re just really solid in everything they’re doing. They’re playing with a lot of upperclassmen.”

Tech (2-2) is coming off a 24-17 win against North Texas Saturday in the Conference USA opener for the Bulldogs. This Saturday’s game marks the final non-conference contest for Tech, which will then have a bye week before playing seven straight league games.

Holtz’s first game as the Bulldogs head coach in 2013 came in Raleigh (NC State won 40-14). Coincidentally, it was the first game for Doeren as head coach of the Wolfpack. Both coaches enter their ninth seasons with their respective programs, tied for the 14th longest current streak among FBS head coaches.

Raleigh holds a special place in Holtz’s memories as his father Lou served as the head coach of the Wolfpack from 1972 through 1975. Lou is still the all-time winningest coach (percentage-wise) in the history of the NC State program.

“There are memories there,” said Holtz. “I was eight to 12 years old when I grew up in Raleigh. I remember the Wolfpack and the huskie dog, and those are great memories for me. It was kind of weird to go back there (in 2013). All of a sudden, I am on the visitor’s sideline. I’m on the other side after spending so much time (on the home side) as a little boy growing up in that program. Great memories for me, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to go back.”

That excitement will turn to competitiveness comes Saturday when the Bulldogs take the field at Carter-Finley Stadium (57,500).

“When you look at it, it’s going to be a tall order for us going to Raleigh,” said Holtz. “But it’s one we’re really excited about getting into this week, stepping back out of the conference, learning a little bit more about our football team. I look forward to watching us compete on the road in a very loud, energetic stadium.

“It’s a great challenge for us this week. After this week, we’ll get into the open date and really have a time to look back and review the first five games and some things we have to do in the second half as we really get into the conference race.”

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus looks to grow its numbers, increase local support

By Alexis Newman

Veterans of the singing community and newcomers alike may find interest in the local singing group Piney Hills Harmony Chorus.

The Piney Hills Harmony Chorus is a part of a global organization called Sweet Adelines International. The chorus is a singing group located in Ruston that does barbershop harmony, which has a 4-part a capella musical structure.

While the members are primarily singers, the group does much more than sing. Sallie Rose Hollis, the assistant director for visual expression, explained the importance of choreography and other forms of nonverbal communication that make the performance entertaining.

“Beyond that, it’s just getting the whole face involved, the expression, and the whole body movement so that we present an interesting image to the audience, and the audience can connect with us,” Hollis said. “We can sell the message of the song through visual expression.”

The Piney Hills Harmony Chorus gets involved in multiple activities, including performing at booked events, the annual regional competition, and educational seminars and events hosted by the regional level of the organization. There are also leadership and social opportunities for members. Hollis said that there’s a saying in the community that goes “come for the music, stay for the friendships.”

“There’s kind of a pull and a tug at peoples’ heartstrings really when they get involved with it,” Hollis said.

Despite all of the opportunities to get involved in, new members are not required to have any musical knowledge or previous experience. The Piney Hills Harmony Chorus accepts members of all ages, and according to Hollis, there’s a part for every voice.

“Each chorus has its own personality, and I think Piney Hills Harmony is a welcoming, friendly chorus— that if someone does want to visit we are just very open to that,” Hollis said.

Any women interested in joining the chorus or learning more about the organization can contact Sallie Rose Hollis at or visit their website Local community members are also invited to support the group by purchasing blizzards from the Dairy Queen on Cooktown Road this Thursday.

Techsters open up team workouts

Louisiana Tech began official team workouts Tuesday as head coach Brooke Stoehr and the 2021-22 Lady Techsters hit Karl Malone Court.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr. “It’s always exciting to start official practice. Everyone has an extra bounce in their step and it’s something new from what they’ve done throughout the summer access and preseason workouts.”

The Lady Techsters return it’s top two scorers from a season ago, in Conference USA second teamer Keiunna Walker (16.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Anna Larr Roberson (11.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg). LA Tech brings back four ladies from last year’s squad and welcomes in nine newcomers, including four transfers: Gabbie Green, a Pittsburgh transfer; Salma Bates, Tulane transfer; Jadona Davis, South Alabama transfer; and Kate Thompson, Wisconsin transfer.

“I was pleased with the approach of our group today,” said Stoehr. “The energy and effort was there, and they were excited to be out on the court in a full practice together. This group has been very positive from day one, and it has been fun watching them compete and grow.”

Stoehr, in her sixth season with the Lady Techsters, will try to guide Tech back to a third postseason tournament since returning to Ruston in 2016. LA Tech finished the 2020-21 season with a 14-10 overall and 8-8 record in Conference USA play.

“We have several things to clean up as far as execution and game conditioning goes,” said Stoehr. “However, I was very pleased with the way the first practice went today. We have healthy competition at every position and it brings out the best in the group. I am excited to watch this group continue to grow together as the year progresses and they compete for a championship.”

The Lady Techsters opens regular season play on Nov. 9 as LA Tech battles Jarvis Christian College inside the Thomas Assembly Center at 6:30 p.m.

GSU adds King to athletics administration

Grambling State University Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Dr. Trayvean Scott, announced on Tuesday the addition of Karmen King as the Senior Associate AD for Compliance. 

King comes to Grambling from Southern University and A&M College where she served as the Associate AD for Student Services and Title IX. 

“We are excited to welcome Karmen to the Grambing State University family,” said Scott. “She has a strong history of success as an innovative leader in collegiate athletics, and she will immediately elevate our program with her comprehensive knowledge on NCAA matters and the student-athlete experience. At each stop of her career, she has been relentlessly committed to advancing the well-being and success of young men and women in the classroom, in the community and in competition.” 

King, who worked at Southern from 2015-2021, helped spearhead an unprecedented academic recovery of Southern Athletics as it relates to the Academic Progress Rate (APR).  

Prior to her position at Southern, King, who earned Honorable Mention at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association of on-site editorial writing, worked at Southeastern Louisiana University from 2014-2015 as Compliance and Title IX.  

A member of N4A and NAAC, King, who grew up around athletics as her father was a retired fastpitch softball and basketball coach, graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Middle East Studies.  

LPJ publishes engagement, wedding announcements

The Lincoln Parish Journal will start publishing paid engagement and wedding announcements for couples who reside in the parish, who have relatives in the parish or who are getting married in the parish. Students who are enrolled at Louisiana Tech or Grambling State but who do not live in the parish will also be able to submit. These announcements will be published each Friday morning. 

This move by the Journal allows couples to showcase their announcement on social media outlets. 

“This is a fabulous way for couples to have a traditional engagement and wedding announcement and reap the benefits of the digital age by posting it on social media,” said Judith Roberts, publisher of the Journal. “As the Journal continues to expand and increase its reach in the community, this will allow more people to see your happy announcement.”

Information for engagement announcements include: 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • The couple’s hometowns 

  • High school and/or college of the couple 

  • Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

  • Ties to the parish 

  • Wedding time, date, and place 

  • An interesting fact about the couple 

Information for the wedding announcements include: 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • The couple’s hometowns 

  • High school and/or college of the couple 

  • Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

  • Officiant  

  • Attendants 

  • Ties to the parish 

  • Wedding time, date, and place 

“We all love the happy news of an engagement and a wedding, and this is a great outlet for that positive information,” Roberts said. “I still have copies of my own engagement announcement and wedding announcement, and my husband Kyle and I will celebrate our 16-year anniversary Sept. 3. I’m so glad we’re able to offer this service to couples today.” 

For engagement and wedding announcement fees and/or to submit information for publication, please email