Letters to the Bearcats: 12/15/22

Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy

For the remainder of this week, the LPJ will run letters and from community supporters for the Ruston Bearcats after their run to the Superdome. Submissions to lpjnewsla@gmail.com will be accepted through 12/15/22.

Dear Ruston Bearcats 2022, 

To everyone else you are known as “the most talked about team in the state” or “the group that brought the Ruston community together”, but to me you will forever be known as my sweet Ruston Junior High Bearkits!

I was there cheering you on the first day you put on that Ruston jersey for your first junior high football game.  I was there when you got your first glimpse of the “Ruston Spirit” at your first pep rally.  I was there when you had your first crush, when you nervously walked into your first dance, and all those awkward junior high moments in between.

But you aren’t little junior high boys anymore.  When I see you now, I see your grit and tenacity and your love for the game, your teammates, and your school.  You are now young men that have shown grace, respect, and dignity during extremely tough moments. You’ve grown up before my eyes, and you have made my heart full in the process.  There is nothing more you could have done this season that could have made me more proud to be a Ruston Bearcat. Hold your heads higher than ever–I think everyone can agree that we are Bearcats Forever! 

Coach Baugh said that you are not defined by the last football game you played, but I believe all the games- won or lost-  all the practices, all the coaches have helped form and mold you into the young men we see today. The lessons you learned this season will stay with you a lifetime. You have written another chapter in the rich history of the Bearcats and all will agree that it’s the best chapter written in a very long time.  

Seniors, I was there cheering you on the last time you put on that Ruston jersey, and I’ll continue to cheer you on as you become part of the Bearcat alumni and move into your future endeavors.  

For those Bearcats returning in 2023, I will be there loud and proud every step of the way cheering you on as you continue what was started this year. 

Thank you 2022 Ruston Bearcats for being such good role models to the current Ruston Bearkits that will one day follow in your footsteps.  Thank you for showing them the pride that comes with being a Ruston Bearcat. Thank you for rekindling the Bearcat spirit in all of us.  The memories made the last 15 weeks will always be cherished. 

Go Cats Go– 

Tatum Johnson Mitchell 

(Ms. Johnson / Mrs. Mitchell) 

Ruston Junior High Teacher/Counselor

RHS ℅ ‘05


Dear 2022 Bearcats,

The late hip-hop artist Nipsey Hussle once said dedication, hard work, and patience are the sum of all my sacrifices. Those words couldn’t be more accurate for you guys, as you’ll live by those words this season. The dedication was put back from spring and summer workouts, knowing that if you come together and be consistent, you would ultimately reach the goal of playing and winning the state championship game. After an overtime loss in week 1 to Louisiana powerhouse Warren Easton, you’ll put that game behind you and go on a 13-game winning streak, having arguably the most challenging schedule in the state and under Coach Baugh’s era here at Ruston High. Now that’s the true definition of hard work!

However, the hard work continued, as you guys finally did something that hadn’t been done in 30-plus years, defeating the 2-5A district foe, the West Monroe Rebels. Then two weeks later, the hard work continued as you’ll capture playoff wins against Ouachita in the regional round and Denham Springs in the quarterfinals and then knocked off defending 5A champions Zachary
in the semifinals, which finally led to patience and the sum of all the sacrifices throughout the season, the state championship game last Friday night against Destrehan. Seeing the whole Ruston community behind you and having half the Superdome in Bearcat red was a beautiful site. I’ve always heard stories from my mom about the championship runs to the dome in the mid-1980s, in which she was a cheerleader during that time. Then I would listen to my dad tell me stories about all the great players he has seen come through Ruston in the 80s and ’90s, but on Dec 9, I saw what Ruston football is about and should be. Now, in the future, I don’t have to live on my parent’s memories; I can tell stories about how the 2022 Bearcats set the standard for my generation and the teams to follow. Even though you fell short, Ruston football is back and here to stay because of you!

Firmly founded forever,
Jalon Grant

*Letters and notes will be reviewed by LPJ staff before publishing. Not every note is guaranteed to be published.

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