State Championship ticket information, Ruston spirit calendar announced

Photo credit: Reggie McLeroy

Ruston fans that are looking to go to the Superdome to cheer on the Bearcats in the 2022 State Championship game against Destrehan Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

General admission tickets can be purchased online in advance for $25 and $30 at the gate on the day of the game.

Tickets are available for purchase by clicking here.

All week long, different spirit activities will be available for community members.

Monday: Paint the Town – 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Businesses that wish to have their windows painted can let the school know.
Tuesday: Car Paint Party – 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Car windows will be painted by various spirit squads in the school’s freshmen lot.
Wednesday: Pep Rally – 6 p.m. Community Pep Rally in “Hoss” Garrett Stadium.
Thursday: Dome Bound Send Off – 9:15 a.m.

Full spectator information for the Superdome is listed below.

Ruston artist, LPJ photographer selling Bearcat shirts

Artist and LPJ Photographer Reggie McLeroy

Ruston High alum and renowned artist Reggie McLeroy is selling his latest design as shirts in honor of the Bearcats making their march to the dome.

As a professional artist with a decades-long portfolio, McLeroy has partnered with Tommy Cline of Tommy’s Tees in Ruston to sell shirts with the design seen below (without watermarks).

T-Shirts will be available for purchase Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 11 a.m., and are priced at $20 for youth and adult small through XL, $22 for XXL, and $24 for XXXL. Sweatshirts will be available for purchase on Wednesday, Dec. 7, in the evening and are priced at $30 for youth and adult small through XL, $32 for XXL, and $34 for XXXL.

A Ruston graduate of 1980, McLeroy has designed multiple shirts, posters and other art media, including a 1990 National Championship poster for the Bearcats and an iconic painting of longtime Lady Techster head coach Leon Barmore.

Shirts are available at Tommy’s Tees for purchase at 2305 S Service Rd West in Ruston. More information can be found at  318.255.2907.

State troopers make arrests

Two individuals were arrested by Louisiana State Police Thursday morning in Ruston in separate incidents.

Larry T. Lucas 59, of Ruston was stopped on La. Highway 33 near U.S. 80 for failure to wear a seat belt.

During a license check, it was discovered Lucas was wanted in Mississippi on felony burglary charges. 

Lucas was arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center where he is being held awaiting extradition by Mississippi authorities.

A few minutes later, a second arrest occurred at the same location after a driver was seen without a seat belt. As a trooper was stopping the vehicle, a records check showed the license plate had been reported stolen to Ruston Police.  

Angelique J. Newton, 36, of Ruston could not produce a driver’s license or proof of liability insurance. 

Newton was booked at the detention center for illegal possession of stolen things, no driver’s license, no seat belt, switched license plate, and expired inspection sticker.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Column: A view from the press box

A packed stadium watches the 2022 Ruston Bearcats
Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy

By Kyle Roberts

It’s hard to tell when I first knew 2022 had the chance to be a special season for Ruston football.

Could have been the jamboree, could have been watching a random midweek practice, could have been a myriad of things that I’ve had the privilege to see from a bird’s eye view on the radio and Bearcat Nation Network video stream that led me to believe something that had felt so out of reach for decades was finally within grasp.

There was just something… different about this one.

After reflecting on Friday night’s win over Zachary, I remember waving to a few friends in the stands through the press box windows after the game was over, holding my hands over my head, finally breathing for what felt like the first time in three hours and realizing: The Bearcats are headed to the Superdome.

Growing up, never in a million years would I have dreamed that I’d have the chance call a game inside the Superdome– the home of my favorite NFL team and the place where high school legends are made– for my alma mater. Now, thanks to this 2022 team, I’ll cross a gigantic item off my broadcast bucket list.

So many schools play football in the fall every year. And only 16 total get to play for a state title.

Some schools have never won a title, much less have played for one. Luckily for us Bearcats, we’ve been there before, and quite a few times at that.

The last time Ruston played for the state title, I was a firmly-founded junior sitting in the stands in the Superdome in 1998, a literal generation ago, watching my classmates clash with the eventual national champion West Monroe Rebels in a 32-14 loss, and forever being scarred by inadvertent whistles (I’ll go to my grave knowing Jack Hunt’s touchdown would have tilted the game).

Watching this team compete week after week has been special, but it’s hard not to recognize the teams that I’ve seen year after year that led the way to this week.

When you’re in proximity to a program where students are happy for each other, smiling at you, playing hard and having fun, you desperately want to find a bottle and keep this atmosphere to use again in the future.

Because, to be honest, the real gem about this season is not just the talent on the field or the construction of an elite coach staff with signature wins. Instead, it’s something so simple and yet uncommon in athletics today: they’re great kids. That makes them that much easier to cheer for.

And you can look back at the numerous Bearcat teams that came before this year’s who paved the way for success. It’s one of the many things I respect about coach Jerrod Baugh: he pays tribute to the young men who laced up their cleats and fought hard to lay the foundation for today.

Regardless of the outcome Friday, this Ruston team has done so much to reignite a passionate fanbase and unite a community. Cars are painted, stores fly red and white banners, and business marquees cheer the Bearcats onward to victory in ways that harkened to ages we thought were long gone. We all want that last win, but I couldn’t be prouder of the team, staff, and school for what has already been accomplished.

It’s been 12 wonderful years for me, personally, in the press box at The “Hoss,” and while I’m looking forward to many, many more, the 2022 season already has enough signature moments to be forever memorable.

A heartfelt thanks to all of you. Now, go get one more.

I-20 driver arrested for second DWI

Grambling Police arrested a Minden man Thursday evening after a report of a reckless driver on Interstate 20.

A caller reported a white Cadillac eastbound on I-20 approaching Grambling was running vehicles off the road. GPD located the vehicle and stopped it near exit 81. The driver, Travis E. Barton, 45, of Minden, appeared confused and smelled of alcohol and had difficulty standing or walking. 

Field sobriety tests were administered, and Barton was arrested for DWI and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for a breath test. The test, administered by Louisiana State Police, indicated a blood alcohol content of 0.20g%, almost three times the legal limit.

Barton was booked for second offense DWI. Bail was set at $2,500.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

Park lights up with holiday spirit

By Spencer Drake

Driving around in the car with friends and family has become a Christmas tradition for many families in and around Lincoln Parish. Lighting Up the Pines, an annual event held at Lincoln Parish Park, provided a drive-thru Christmas light show that all members of the family could enjoy, as well as unifying the community.

“Lincoln Lighting Up the Pines is distinct due to its multi-organizational structure. The event seeks to unite the parish’s businesses, organizations, religious groups, schools and community members,” said park employee Andrew Pabon.

The light show includes lit up trees, decorated campers, and many local businesses showcasing their Christmas spirit. The participation of the local businesses is essential to the success of the show. 

“Not only do they help us build the overall beauty of the light show, but the light show gives them a chance to gain some recognition for how much they contribute to the Ruston community,” said gatehouse supervisor Rosemary Pilgreen. 

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce partners with the Lincoln Lighting Up the Pines to organize and execute the light show over the past eight years, with the first show being held in 2015. This year their goal was to attract 2,000 cars to come through the light show. 

Between gathering businesses to display, organizing the campers and making sure they are ready for the show and decorating the park, light show committee members like Lynne Gnemi have their plate full getting the park ready for the weekend. 

“Seeing the children’s heads out of the windows, peeking through moonroofs, screaming ‘Merry Christmas’ to everyone in the show, that is what it’s all about,” Gnemi said. “We do this for the kids and the community.”


BP executive Mark Crawford to serve as keynote for Grambling State Commencement Dec. 15 

Mark A. Crawford, Senior Vice President (SVP) for Legal People & Culture, and SVP for Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at BP will serve as the keynote speaker for Fall commencement exercises at Grambling State University (GSU). Set for Thursday, December 15 at 10 a.m., the event will be held in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center arena.  Degrees will be conferred from Graduate Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, and College of Professional Studies.  

Crawford has practiced labor and employment law exclusively for more than twenty-five (25) years.  Over his more than 20-year career with bp, he has worked in the US and the UK and has provided legal support to bp’s operations in the Americas and across the world.  

As the SVP for Legal People & Culture, Crawford leads a global team with responsibility for employment-related litigation, legal support for employee investigations and providing labor and employment legal advice on the full range of labor and employment legal issues, including employee benefits, the management of employee grievances, M&A activity, and employee discipline. In this role, Mark is a member of the leadership team for the legal department and reports directly to the Group General Counsel.  He oversees staff in the US, UK, AsPac, and continental Europe.   

As SVP for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, he leads bp’s global de&i team, with responsibility for both workforce and supplier diversity.  Crawford is responsible for developing and implementing bp’s global de&i strategy.  Mark has helped bp reshape its de&i efforts, with a focus on ethnic minority representation globally.  As the head of de&i, Mark reports to the global head of people and culture and is a member of the people and culture leadership team. Crawford previously served as US General Counsel, serving as bp’s legal representative on several external groups and committees. 

Additionally, he has led the Global Employee Relations and Industrial Relations team in the Human Resources function, with responsibility for overseeing HR and people-related investigations for bp’s global operations.  He was also responsible for managing the company’s relationship with trade unions globally, including the provision of advice and support for union negotiations and industrial action. 

Prior to joining BP, he spent six years in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was an associate with one of the largest labor and employment boutique law firms in the US.  A native of Louisiana, Crawford is a 1991 graduate of Grambling State University with a BA in History and a 1995 graduate of the Southern University Law Center, where he was inducted into the SULC Hall of Fame in 2015.  He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and resides in Houston with his wife and two sons. 

Bearcat hoops recap from Hamilton Christian Tournament

Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy

Ruston High’s boys basketball squad finished 2-1 overall in the Hamilton Christian tournament in Lake Charles, La., while the Lady Bearcats split games 1-1.

The Bearcats suffered their first loss of the season Sunday afternoon after three days of games in a row 54-46 to Madison Prep. Senior Braylan McNeal and sophomore Aidan Anding both scored 11 points apiece in the Sunday contest. Ruston had already beaten Hahnville Friday by a final score of 64-51 and followed with a win over Hamilton Christian on Saturday 50-43. 

“We played three quality opponents,” Ruston boys’ head coach Ryan Bond said. “We got better as a team.”

The boys are now 7-1 overall.

On the girls’ side, the Lady Bearcats won their first game 48-28 before losing 73-38 to Fairview. Junior A’Nyia Moore led Ruston with 9 points.

“You go to different tournaments to see different people and we got just that,” Lady Bearcat head coach Meredith Graf said. “We saw two very different teams with two very different styles. We handled one well, and the other not so much. We are continuing to figure out ourselves with every game.”

The girls are 5-4.

Both Ruston teams return to action tonight on the road against Winnfield.

Roberson recognized, Techsters win Saturday affair

Anna Larr Roberson (right) was presented with a honorary game ball in recognition of her 1,000th career point prior to Saturday’s 70-59 win over Alcorn State.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

After being presented a honorary game ball for her 1000th career point during pregame, Tech senior Anna Larr Roberson recorded her 19th career double double to lead the Lady Techsters to a 70-59 win over Alcorn State Saturday at the TAC.

Tech (6-2) won despite committing a season-high 24 turnovers, extending their regular-season non-conference winning streak to 18 games. 

“I thought there wasn’t much flow to the game with all the turnovers and fouls, it was a very choppy,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “That being said I thought we defended and rebounded really well in the first half but we didn’t do a good job taking care of the ball. We didn’t defend nearly as well in the second half, but we did a great job at the free throw line to close out the game.

In a game that saw a combined 45 turnovers, 46 fouls, and 57 free throws, LA Tech (6-2) used a 30-35 night form the line to keep a pesky Alcorn State team at arm’s length after building an 18-point cushion in the first half. 

Tech used a 12-2 start to the day thanks to 10 early forced turnovers but committed nine of their own, leading to six quick points for Alcorn State (2-4). The Braves used an 8-2 run to close the quarter with Tech up eight, 18-10. 

LA Tech would build their largest lead of the day (31-13) with 6:22 left in the first half off a Mackenzie Wurm jumper, but both teams would finish the final five-plus minutes without a field goal. 

Roberson hit one of her nine free throws on the day with 1:05 left in the half to give Tech a 32-16 advantage at the break. Roberson picked up her third double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds, including 9-12 from the line. 

Lotte Sant hit one of her three three-pointers en route to a season-high 13 points to give Tech another 18-point lead, but Alcorn State began their second half charge with a 90-second, 7-0 run at the four-minute mark and cut Tech’s lead to 10 by the end of the third, 47-37.

“I feel like we took a breath and relaxed,” said Stoehr. “You have to give credit to Alcorn for continuing to play and fighting the entire game. Winning is hard, no matter who you play or where you play them so it’s nice to come out with the win. We are excited about that and proud of our team for getting it done, but we will have to come back, get focused, and clean some things up to get ready for Vanderbilt next Thursday.”

The game reached single digits on two occasions in the fourth at 50-41 and 53-44, thanks to back-to-back threes by Alcorn State, but Tech’s composure at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, hitting 17-19 in the final stanza, kept Alcorn State at bay in the final minutes. 

Keiunna Walker and Salma Bates joined Roberson and Sant in double figures with 17 and 10 points, respectively. Walker and Bates combined for 14-15 from the line and were responsible for the Techsters’ final 11 points. 

Tech was held under 40 percent shooting for just the second time this season but held their opponents to under 38 percent for the sixth time and forced 21 turnovers while going plus-15 on the boards (38-23). 

The Lady Techsters are now just four wins away from No. 600 in Ruston.

Something other than toys for Christmas  

Not sure if anyone else out there is like me, but if there’s one thing my kids don’t need this year, it’s extra toys from Santa. 

They don’t need next year’s American Girl doll, they don’t need all the Hatchimals, and I will know who doesn’t like me if my kids are gifted slime.  

But it is Christmas, right? It’s the time for holiday gifting and Santa Claus and all the toys. 

This year, my younger daughter decided to take it up a notch and ask Santa for a pet bird, a pet turtle, and a pet fish. I told her Santa doesn’t fly with live animals. My older daughter, who is “in” on all things Christmas, asked if we could do an Elf on the Shelf this year. Even though she KNOWS.  

I really am not eager to have unhappy children this Christmas season, but I also don’t want to invite more pets in my house or toys until the house just explodes, so I have come up with some ideas for me – and for you – that will encourage more experiences and fewer additional toys. 

First up: Horse riding lessons. We have two (that I know of) places in the parish that offer horse riding lessons and horse riding experiences – Covenant Farms and Collins Natural Horsemanship, both in Dubach. My kids have had experience with both, and not only do they get what my elder daughter calls “fuzzy therapy,” but they also learn how to care for the animals, how to respect them and how to be responsible. 

Also, what about a membership to Champ’s Kids Club? This is such a good deal that keeps giving – to parents and to the kids. The kids get admission to all home games, a shirt, a neck lanyard and other neat goodies that can be unwrapped on Christmas morning. 

Another local idea is with Peachy Adventures (@peachyadventures318 on Instagram). This is a newer local business, and it’s adorable. Laura and Ryan set up indoor or outdoor tents that are perfect for any lounging, snoozing, or partying. Even I, who am not a fan of camping, would camp in one of these tents! 

Lastly, and this is not local, but I’m a little proud of finding it: animal tracking. Remember what my little girl wanted for Christmas? Well, I got her a sea turtle – sort of. I ordered bracelets from Fahlo that will allow us to track a sea turtle as it travels through the ocean. The bracelet will come with a card that has a picture of a sea turtle (possibly our sea turtle, not sure) and a story about the sea turtle, and I purchased a stuffed sea turtle as well so she can snuggle with it at night. I can’t fully recommend this, as I am not familiar with this company, but there are several others online, and I am super excited about this Christmas surprise. 

Here’s hoping your Christmas shopping is merry, fun, and bright! 

Lincoln Parish schools to close Friday

In an effort to allow community members drive down to New Orleans to support the Ruston High football team in the state title game Friday, the Lincoln Parish School Board announced that ALL Lincoln Parish schools and the central office will be closed Friday.

The Bearcats are making their first appearance in the state title game since 1998. Ruston will face Destrehan Friday at 7 p.m. in the New Orleans Superdome.

A look back: Ruston’s Cargill Building

The Cargill Building in the 100 block of North Trenton Street was built about 1905 to house John L. Cargill’s general merchandise store. For a time, it was home to the Lincoln Parish Bank. Ruston’s second bank opened on January 4, 1901, but struggled against the larger Ruston State Bank located across the street. 

A 1910 Shreveport newspaper article noted Lincoln Parish Bank had increased its deposits 33 1/3% in a year, but it always lagged behind Ruston State in assets. In 1916, it had to close for a time when the accounts of a cashier were found to be $46,000 short. Investors rescued the institution and in 1920 it converted from a state-chartered bank to a national bank, the First National Bank of Ruston. In 1958, First National boasted $8,177,505.80 in assets.

First National later moved to a facility at 300 N. Trenton. In 1986, First National of Ruston was bought out by Regions Bank. The later First National Bank in Ruston was a branch of the First National Bank of Arcadia, now called Louisiana National Bank.

The Cargill store, a landmark business in downtown Ruston, closed in 1934 after the death of John Cargill. A variety of businesses and offices have occupied the building since.

Weekly events

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of non-for-profit upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list or advertise your for-profit events, please email us at

Monday, Dec. 5
11:30 a.m.: Lunch on Us (Presbyterian Church, 212 North Bonner Street., Ruston) — everyone welcome
5:30 p.m.: Ruston City Council meeting (Ruston City Hall)

Tuesday, Dec. 6
2 p.m.: Ribbon cutting for Polaris of Ruston
5:30 p.m.: Trailblazer Tuesday: Your Farm and Your Taxes (Lincoln Parish Library)
6 p.m.: Lincoln Parish School Board meeting (410 S. Farmerville St.)
6:30 p.m.: Board and Bottle: Art auction and fundraiser for 4PAWS

Wednesday, Dec. 7
7-8 a.m.: Veterans Coffee Club (PJ’s Coffee)
11:30 a.m.: Lunch on Us (Presbyterian Church, 212 North Bonner Street., Ruston) — everyone welcome

Thursday, Dec. 8
4 p.m.: Reception for Greenwood East End Mural (1306 Cornell St., Ruston)
5-8 p.m.: Holiday sip and stroll (Downtown Ruston)
6 p.m.: La Tech women’s basketball v. Vanderbilt
6:30 p.m.: Holiday singalong (Railroad Park)

Friday, Dec. 9
4-6 p.m.: Christmas with Kappa Deltas (elementary aged children invited to attend; 904 Hestia Lane, Ruston)
7-10 p.m.: Downtown carriage rides

Saturday, Dec. 10
8:30-11:30 a.m.: Hazardous waste material and recycling collection (2609 S. Farmerville St.)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
11:30-1 p.m.: Cookies with Santa (Historic Fire Station, Ruston)
2-4 p.m.: Pictures with Santa (Lincoln Parish Library)
2-4 p.m.: Pictures with Santa (4Paws Dog Park)
7-10 p.m.: Downtown carriage rides

Lady Tigers fall at Mississippi State

Courtesy of GSU Athletic Communications

Jurnee McLaurin had a career night for Grambling State University, scoring a career-best 18 points as the Lady Tigers fell to Mississippi State 73-47 at Humphrey Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

McLaruin went 6-for-12 from the field, grabbing five rebounds with two steals.

Grambling state utilized the three-ball to keep pace with Mississippi State in the opening period. The Lady Tiger connected on 4-of-8 from behind the arc.

The Lady Tigers opened the scoring on a 3-pointer from Colbi Maples. Later in the quarter, she gave the Lady Tigers an 8-4 lead with at the 5:33 mark, when she connected on her second three of the game.

Maples was GSU’s second-leading scorer on the afternoon, contributing 16 points, five rebounds and a pair of assists.

Jurnee McLaurin also knocked down a pair of shots from behind the arc in the first quarter. Her second shot made the score 16-14 in favor of MSU with 1:33 to go in the first. The Bulldogs scored closed the first quarter on a 6-0 run to grab a 22-14 lead

GSU struggled to find consistency in the second quarter, shooting just 21.4 percent from the field (3-of-14). The Lady Tigers were held scoreless for the first 5:33 of the second period, while MSU built a 31-14 advantage. Maples ended the scoring drought with a layup with 4:27 left in the half. The Bulldogs led 44-21 going into the break.

MSU led by as many as 30 points in the 4th quarter, 70-40. Two Mississippi State players registered double-doubles. Jessika Carter scored 15 points with 14 boards, while Denae Carter posted a 13-point, 11 rebound outing. Debreasha Powe led the Bulldogs with a game-high 19 points.

Remembering Mary Pipes

Mary E. Pipes

Graveside services celebrating the life of Mary E. Pipes, age 91 of Ruston, LA will be held at 10:00 AM, Monday, December 5, 2022 at Douglas Cemetery in Ruston, LA with Bro. Andy Richardson officiating. Services are under the direction of Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home of Ruston.

Mary was born October 16, 1931 to Cecil and William Johnston in Monroe, LA, and she passed from this life December 3, 2022 in Ruston. She enjoyed tending to her flowers, feeding her birds, traveling and spending time with family and friends.  Mary especially loved her clients at Hair Associates where she worked with her son for 29 years. She is preceded in death by her husband of 45 years Wade Pipes.

Those left to cherish her memories include her children, son Jeff and wife Jennifer Pipes; daughter Cindy Draper; sister Nellie McKeithen; grandchildren: Josh Barr, Wade and wife Katie Pipes, Justin Pipes, Juliet Pipes, Janey Pipes; six great-grandchildren; and a host of family friends.

The family would like to thank Linda Mitchell for assisting with her care. Contributions in memory of Mary may be made to Douglas Cemetery or to New Hope Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 9:00-10:00 AM at the cemetery. To leave an online memorial message for the family, please visit

‘Dome’ward Bound: ‘Cats punch ticket with win over Zachary

Senior quarterback Jaden Osborne rushes 64 yards for a touchdown
Photo Credit: Reggie McLeroy

By Kyle Roberts

All season long, Ruston High football had shown why it deserved to be considered as one of the top teams in the state of Louisiana.

And now, the top-seeded Ruston Bearcats will be heading to the Superdome next Friday night after defeating the No. 5 Zachary Broncos in the semifinals handily by a final score of 37-22.

“These kids have earned every bit of it,” Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh said. “I want them to enjoy tonight, and then we’ll get back to work in the morning, just like we always do and try to put together a game plan for what we want to do. We’re going to try to simulate as much as we can to see what the Superdome is going to be like. It will be brand new for our kids, but you’d rather have that opportunity than not.”

Ruston’s ground offense took complete control of the ballgame early, keeping the ball out of the hands of Eli Holstein, the starting quarterback for Zachary and a commit for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Ruston led in time of possession in the first quarter by 9 minutes, 30 seconds, compared to just 2:30 for Zachary.

Early in the second quarter, senior tailback Dyson Fields scored his first touchdown of the night from 11 yards out with 11:54 to go before halftime.

Zachary answered shortly after with a run from Cameron Stewart off the outside edge from eight yards out to tie the game 7-7 with just over nine minutes left in the second quarter.

Ruston regained the lead 10-7 with a 33-yard field goal by senior kicker RJ Brown with 3:21 to go before the end of the first half.

The Bearcat defense once again shone on the following Bronco drive, forcing a three-and-out to get the ball back to Ruston near midfield. At one point of the drive, Ruston faced a 2nd down and 34 and needed to get to the Zachary 21 for a first down. Senior quarterback Jaden Osborne showed his mettle by completing passes to both junior wideouts Jamar Woods and Logan Malone on the ensuing plays to get the first down. The throws set up another Fields touchdown rush, and Ruston took a 17-7 lead into the halftime locker room.

“Our kids believe in what we’re doing,” Baugh said about the long down-and-distance before the touchdown. “(Offensive coordinator Earl) Griffin and the other offensive coaches try to put together plays to utilize the things our kids can do well. I don’t think they try to dream up a lot of things that may look good on a marker board; they’re trying to utilize what the strengths of our team are and what our kids’ abilities are.”

Ruston would go on to extend the lead after a ball that was rushed in by junior fullback Jadon Mayfield, who dropped the ball that would be recovered by tight end Zhy Scott for the touchdown to put Ruston up 23-7 with 6:23 to go in the third quarter.

The Bearcat defense would answer the call again and forced the Broncos to punt just a minute later. Osborne answered with his legs, rushing 64 yards to the house to put Ruston up 30-7 with 3:48 left in the third stanza.

Zachary answered with a touchdown pass to cut the lead to 30-14 near the end of the third quarter. As the fourth quarter started, however, sophomore Jordan Hayes showed his ludicrous speed on a 66-yard touchdown run to put the game ultimately out of reach. Ruston would go on to win by a final score of 37-22.

Once the final horn sounded, Bearcat students, fans, coaches, former players, and community members all rushed out to the field to celebrate the historic night. Baugh took a minute to reflect on just how special the night had been for the community.

“It’s a very special moment,” Baugh said. “God is good, all the time. I knew at some point we were going to be able to get this football program back where it belongs. It’s not necessarily yearly deal; you don’t know how they all are going to end. And I mean when I say, for all the kids that have come through this football program, they are a part of this, too. They bought into me and what it is that we needed to do to in order to win ballgames. And they set the tone for what things needed to happen. I appreciate the kids that have come through just as much. And there are some coaches that have been here, too, that have gone on to do different things, or gone on into administration or head coaches at different schools that are just as much part of this as the current staff is. I appreciate all of those people; it isn’t about me. There’s a lot of moving parts in a football program, and I’ve got a lot of good men that have been here coaching and still here. I appreciate the work that the kids and the coaches have put in.”

Osborne had a tremendous night at quarterback, throwing 9-of-12 passes for 89 yards and rushing for 70 yards with a touchdown.

Fields finished with 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Hayes finished with 115 yards and a touchdown.

The Bearcats will travel to New Orleans for a 7 p.m. kickoff against No. 3 Destrehan Friday, Dec. 9 in the Caesar’s Superdome. It will be Ruston’s first trip to the state title game since 1998 and its chance for the first state title since 1990.


Bearcats dominate trench warfare

Photo by T. Scott Boatright

By T. Scott Boatright

The Ruston Bearcats were on a mission Friday night and used trench warfare to accomplish their goal.

Ruston’s lines dominated on both sides of the ball as the top-seeded Bearcats defeated Zachary 37-22 to advance to the state championship game against Destrehan next Friday night at the Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans.

The Bearcats won this one in the trenches.

Ruston outrushed the Broncos 309 yards to 84 and while pressuring and pounding Zachary’s three quarterbacks throughout the game, knocking starting Eli Holstein out of the game early in the fourth quarter, sending a pair of backups into the game late.

But the domination in the trenches probably showed most on the game clock and on the final stat sheet, which saw Ruston possessing  the ball for 31:12 overall compared to 16:48 for the Broncos.

“We knew we needed to control the line of scrimmage,” Baugh said. “It was tough-sledding in there early on. I thought Zachary had a good game plan — their guys did a good job but I think our guys up front got after it and wore them down.”

But that wasn’t easy.

Not against the Broncos, whose lines on both sides of the ball were noticeably bigger overall than the Bearcats.

“We were outmatched size-wise in some areas, but our guys handled it pretty good,” Baugh said. “When you just keep plugging sometimes you end up chipping away at them and I think that’s what happened.”

The Bearcats averaged 5.8 yards per carry. Offensive line coach Chad Reeder said those numbers are something his players have been working toward since last spring.

“These kids have been working for this moment — putting in the work every week,” Reeder said. “They’re self-motivating and come ready to work every day. They’re just some guys that don’t mind grinding in the trenches. I told them just a couple of weeks ago, ‘Hey guys, what we have to do is to play above our ability down the stretch.’ I told them I needed three games with them playing above their ability. 

“And now we’ve got two of them down. One more to go. But these guys can handle it. They play as a unit. They love to get out here and practice, and I’m going to challenge them this week to just continue what they’ve been doing, find another gear and be ready to go next Friday night.”

Reeder said a turning point for the Bearcats’ offensive line came during a week three win.

“We had two games this year where we rushed under 40 yards,” Reeder said. “If you go all the way back to the jamboree we rushed for about 36 yards. And then a few weeks later, against Cabot (Arkansas), we rushed for under 40 yards. 

“From that point on these guys have taken on the challenge. They understand what their role is going to be for us to get where we want to go. I know it sounds a little cliche’ but it’s won in the trenches, on both sides of the ball. That’s the reality of this game.”

Ruston’s defensive line harassed Zachary quarterbacks throughout the contest in addition to shutting down the Broncos’ running game.

Bearcats defensive coordinator Kyle Williams was pleased with his players’ efforts.

“Our defensive line played great,” Williams said. “Really, I think our whole defense played really, really, well. We had a couple of issues there at the end of the game giving up late scores. I’d like to see us finish stronger. But when it was on the line with the playmakers Zachary has, the defensive line did a really great job of getting after them and helping us win tonight.”

Williams, a former Bearcat himself who went on to star at LSU and for the NFL”s Buffalo Bills, said while he’s proud to be headed to New Orleans with them, the state championship berth is all about the players.

“I’m excited to do it after being here and playing here myself years ago, but all of that really takes a backseat to what I feel about our kids, because they work so hard,” Williams said. “We challenged them a lot and they responded to every opportunity they had. 

“It’s just a really great night to be a Bearcat.”

Cougars, Lady Cougars post Friday wins

Connor Norris was one of four Creek players in double figures in the Cougars 77-52 win over Summerfield Friday. (photo by Darrell James)

By Malcolm Butler

It was a good night on the hardwood for the Cedar Creek varsity teams Friday as the Cougars and Lady Cougars both recorded wins at the Ruston Sports Complex as part of the second day of the Quitman Tournament.

The Lady Cougars (4-2) defeated Jonesboro-Hodge 53-33 while the Cougars (3-2) defeated Summerfield 77-53.

Allie Furr scored 21 points to lead the Lady Cougars while Lizzie McAdams added 9 points, Lillian Soto and Ellie Dickerson each added six points.

The Lady Cougars jumped out to an 18-11 advantage after the first quarter of play as Furr and Soto combined for 13 points. Creek then upped its advantage to 31-18 at the half with Furr leading the way with five points in the second quarter.

Creek never looked back as it coasted to its second straight win in the event.

Davis Walsworth netted 21 points for the Cougars in their lopsided win over Summerfield. Carter Hill added 16 points, Connor Norris scored 12 and Connor Johnson added 11 for the Cougars.

Creek built a double digit lead in the first quarter (23-13) with Norris and Hill combining for 14 points in the stanza. The advantage ballooned to 42-21 at halftime as Walsworth led the way with eight of the Cougars 19 second quarter points. Creek outscored Summerfield 17-15 in the third quarter and 18-16 in the fourth quarter to coast to the victory.

Marquez Tate led Summerfield with 13 points.

FLASH RECAP: Ruston boys’ basketball advances to semifinals in Showdown on the Lake

Photo credit: Reggie McLeroy

Ruston High basketball continued its winning streak Friday with a 50-43 win over host school Hamilton Christian at the Showdown on the Lake tournament.

The Bearcats were led in scoring by sophomore Joran Parker with 15 points; 10 of which came in the third quarter alone. Senior Braylan McNeal added 12 for Ruston, while sophomore Aidan Anding scored 11 on the night.

Ruston will play Madison Prep in the semifinals today.