‘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.

Techsters host Alcorn with Toys for Tots promotion

Photo by Kelsey Chanler

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

The Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters return home after five straight games on the road to face Alcorn State Saturday 2 p.m. inside the Thomas Assembly Center on Karl Malone Court.

Tech fans can earn a $5 ticket when bringing a toy for the Toys For Tots promotion. 

The contest can be heard on  107.5 FM and the LA Tech Athletics app as Kyle Roberts will provide the call of the game.

Louisiana Tech (5-2) won third place in the UNLV Las Vegas Tournament last week with wins over Stetson and George Washington.

Keiunna Walker made the UNLV All-Tournament team after averaging 16.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, and 2.3 assists per game over the three-game weekend. Walker now sits at No. 21 on the all-time on the scoring list after passing Belinda Jones with 1,505 points. 

Anna Larr Roberson etched her name in the LA Tech record books after reaching the 1,000-point club at SMU and now sits at No. 42 on the all-time scoring list with 1,040 points. Roberson picked up her second double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Stetson. She has 18 for her career.

The Techsters boast a top-30 scoring defense in the country at 53.4 ppg and allow just .345 shooting for opponents, which ranks top-35 in the NCAA.

Tech has also gotten great production from their bench, averaging 24.7 ppg from their reserves, who have reached double digits in all seven games this season and posted 20-plus in five of seven.

Tech is looking for their third straight 6-2 start to the season.

Alcorn State (2-3) comes into Ruston with back-to-back wins over Arkansas Baptist (100-51) and New Orleans (65-56) after starting 0-3 with trips to Tulsa, Wichita State, and Illinois.

The Braves had a game slated with Central Arkansas postponed due to weather. 

Alcorn State is led by head coach Nate Kilbert in his third year and are coming off a three-win season in 2021-22. The Braves were selected 11th (out of 12 teams) in the SWAC preseason poll. 

Destiny Brown and Zy’Nyia White lead the offensive attack for Alcorn with 10.6 and 8.4 ppg, respectively.

Alcorn is averaging 62 ppg as a team while shooting 35 percent from the field and 25 percent from three. Defensively, the Braves are posting 8.6 steals and 4.2 blocks per game.

Saturday’s matchup will be the 10th all-time between LA Tech and Alcorn State and the eighth in Ruston. LA Tech is a perfect 9-0 all-time and 7-0 in Ruston. 

The series dates to the 1981-82 season, which marks the largest margin of victory for the Techsters at 61 points (108-47).

Tech registered their second 100-point game and highest single game points mark in 1992-93 (110-70). The 180 combined points is the most in series history. 

The closest game in the series came in 2005-06 in Lorman, Miss., in a one-point meeting, 62-61. Tech and Alcorn last played during the 2017-18 season in Ruston with the Techsters winning 87-50.

Season and single-game tickets are on sale and can be purchased at LATechSports.com/Tickets or by calling the LA Tech Ticket Office at (318) 257-3631.

Short-handed Dogs down Southern

Keaston Willis (0) scored 16 points to help lead the Bulldogs to their 31st straight home non-conference win. (Photo by Kelsey Chanler)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

A pair of standout scoring halves by Keaston Willis and Cobe Williams helped Louisiana Tech set a new program record by claiming its 31st straight non-conference victory inside the Thomas Assembly Center as the Bulldogs defeated Southern, 74-59, on Friday night. 

“We only turned it over 11 times, which was a big focus for us against their pressure,” said Tech head coach Talvin Hester. “We won the rebounding battle as well and we had more assists to turnovers. All of that is a good recipe for success. We had a “next man up” mentality again with Isaiah being out. Injuries are part of the game. We do not want to be strapped by one individual. We try to celebrate each other and play together.”

Willis scored all 16 of his points in the first half, draining shots from all over the floor.  Williams then came alive in the second half, tallying 15 of his game-high 21 points in the stanza. 

Most important though, LA Tech (6-2) was able to record its fifth straight win by taking care of the basketball.  The Bulldogs tied their season low with just 11 turnovers, a massive point of emphasis going up against a Southern (3-5) squad that came in ranked in the top 10 in the country in forcing TOs.

The Bulldogs were the first team to get some separation, breaking a 10-10 tie with 16:03 to go by going on 12-2 run that included nine straight points by Willis. 

The lead gradually grew throughout the first half as the defense allowed just 10 more points by the Jaguars, building a 37-20 advantage at halftime.

The lead maxed out after the opening bucket of the second half as Williams’ driving layup made it 39-20.  Southern slowly chipped away though, getting the deficit down to 10 at 53-43 with 8:01 to play. 

Coming out of a timeout, the ‘Dogs got a little breathing room by making a 7-0 run that included a pair of dunks by Quandre Bullock and Kenny Hunter

The Jags countered used the three-ball though to get back right back into it, trailing by single digits, 65-56, at the 3:19 mark, but Williams came up big by sinking a three-pointer of his own from the wing.  He also collected his fourth steal down the stretch and tacked on four more points to seal the win.

Dravon Mangum and Bullock were two other Bulldogs in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, as the team shot 48.3 percent from the field (28-58) while making nine total threes.

“You do not have to be great as individuals all game, but we have to be great as a team all game,” said Hester. “Keaston was unbelievable in the first half. He could not miss. He got a little fatigued there, but then Cobe stepped up in the second half. We want to continue to have multiple guys step up like that.”

Southern was limited to 34.9 percent shooting from the field (22-63) and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc (5-20).  The Jaguars were led in scoring by Brion Whitley who had 16 points.

Tech won despite the absence of David Green and Isiaah Crawford.

Deadline 10 a.m. to enter Week 13 of Karl Malone Toyota NFL Pick’em Contest

Participation is very simple. Just click on this link below. No entry fee. It’s FREE to play. One entry per contestant.


Don’t wait. You have until 10 a.m. today to enter this week’s Karl Malone Toyota NFL Pick’em Contest presented by 511 and BRCC.

It’s easy. Each week pick the 10 NFL games that we list and have a chance to win cash and gift cards.

One lucky (or smart) pick’em guru will walk away with $150 worth of cash and prizes. The weekly deadline is Saturday at 10 a.m. (prior to Sunday’s NFL games). 

Anyone is eligible to participate (only one entry per contestant). Each week the winner will be the participant with the best record out of 10 selected NFL games (ties will be broken by two separate tiebreakers consisting of guessing the total points scored in two of our weekly contests).

There is no entry fee, just like there is no cost to subscribe to the Lincoln Parish Journal. 

It takes 20-30 seconds to sign up and not much longer than that to make your picks.

All contest decisions by LPJ management are final. Weekly winners will be notified Monday and are will be requested to take a photo that will run in the following week’s LPJ.

Every participant will receive a FREE subscription to the Journal, if you’re not already signed up for the easily-navigated, convenient 6:55 a.m. daily e-mail.

Weekly Winners

Week 1: Barry Morales

Week 2: Zoe Collum

Week 3: Joe Peel

Week 4: Linda Fowler

Week 5: John Wakeman

Week 6: Lee Garrett

Week 7: Shawn Payton

Week 8: Don Griffin

Week 9: Charlton Garrett

Week 10: Kevin Watson

Week 11: Doc Hoefler

Week 12: John Price


No. 1 Bearcats host home semifinal game

Photo credit: Reggie McLeroy


It’s finally come down to the last four teams in the Non-Select Division I playoff bracket.

And thanks to earning the top seed, the Ruston Bearcats will play the semifinal matchup tonight against the Zachary Broncos at James Field at “Hoss” Garrett Stadium in front of what is expected to be an electric crowd and community atmosphere cheering on the red and white.

“It’s really nice to be at home,” Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh said. “The kids did a great job in the regular season earning an opportunity to host a semifinal game. To me, that’s the only bonus coming in as high of a seed as we did, which earns you an automatic home game in the semifinals for your school and community. I’m really proud that the kids have earned that opportunity.”

Ruston made its way back home following a chaotic win over the Denham Springs Yellowjackets last Friday by a final score of 49-31 that saw a Yellowjackets team sting its way back up from a 21-0 deficit late in the first half. The Bearcats proved too much in the second half by keeping Denham Springs out of reach for the remainder of the night to reach the semifinals for the first time in 23 years.

For Zachary, the Broncos finished with the No. 5 overall rating in the playoffs and won their contest last week against Southside from Lafayette, La., by a final score of 48-37. The Broncos are the reigning 5A state champions and have won three titles in the last six seasons. In 2019, the Broncos got past the Bearcats in Ruston in the quarterfinals 35-27 with a controversial ending that saw the clock run out while the officials sorted out whether Ruston scored a touchdown that could have potentially sent the game into overtime.

“A lot of people that may be intimidated by the big atmosphere that we will likely see here (tonight),” Baugh said. “That’s not what you’re going to see from that group. They’ve been a part of a lot of semifinal games and championship games. They’ve got kids on that team who have played in the Superdome. They’re not going to be overwhelmed by the situation. They’re going to play four quarters. Whatever happens at the beginning of the game depending on who has the lead, they’re not going to ease up. It’s going to be a four-quarter ball game for them and hopefully us. Since we are playing at home, we’re going to be comfortable with that situation, but we’ve never been in this situation where you need to win this ball game to make it to the state championship, and they have. They’re comfortable with all of that.”

Ruston defensive coordinator Kyle Williams suited up for the Bearcats in 1999, the last time Ruston made it to the semifinals, and talked about the team approach heading into tonight.

“It’s the same things it’s been all year when we’ve played really good football teams,” Williams said. “The things it requires to win this game is the same that were required to win those games. Not your emotion, but your focus. Make sure you know what you’re doing and playing one play at a time. They are a good football team with good football players. They are going to make some good plays, but you can’t let one good play turn into two good plays, or a scoring drive or a long series. Really, to me, we’re going to have to focus that way and do our job. And no matter what comes up, we’re going work through it and make adjustments if we need to. And play each play for what it is.”

Kickoff between Ruston and Zachary is set for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on KPCH 99.3 FM with the Jerrod Baugh show starting at 6:30 p.m. The live videostream will be available at BearcatNationNetwork.com.

City of Grambling headed toward 2023 without approved budget

Pictured from left to right are Toby Bryan, Yanise Days, Phyllis Miller, Edward Jones, Sandra Dupree, Earl Griffin and Cathy Holmes. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright


GRAMBLING —  Grambling’s new mayor and City Council will enter 2023 without an approved budget.

That’s after Grambling’s current City Council voted against approving a proposed 2023 budget during Thursday’s monthly meeting held at City Hall.

Alvin Bradley picked up 50..86% of last month’s mayoral race, giving him a majority of votes to avoid having to face incumbent Edward Jones (32.80%).

Bradley’s inauguration ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Jan. 1 in the Black and Gold Room of Grambling State University’s Favrot Student Union.

Cathy Holmes will be Grambling’s only returning City Council member next month. She’ll be joined by new Council meetings Delores Wilkerson, Davaria Ponton and John Brown..

Jerry Lewis and Karen Ludley will face off in a Dec. 10 runoff election for the Council’s final spot.

After approving ordinances to continue 2023 City Council meetings at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month and to amend the 2022 city budget, the Council moved on to vote on adopting a 2023 budget.

Councilwoman Phyllis Miller made a motion to bring the ordinance to a vote, but was the only one in favor of approving a 2023 budget with Holmes, Yanise Days and Toby Bryan voting against the proposed budget. G. Denise Dupree was out of town and couldn’t vote remotely, but Bryan said she too was against approving the proposed budget.

“I guess after it’s happened before, you’re not surprised when it happens again,” Jones said about the Council’s 2023 budget vote. “But they have a right to do that. I know that in passing it they could have always come back and amended it, but evidently they had their reasons why they did not pass the proposed budget.”

This time last year, Grambling’s City Council declined to approve its then-upcoming proposed budget for 2022, voting against it four times before it was finally approved in March. 

Jones did say he was proud of the budget he proposed, adding that when he came into office 12 years ago the city was in a $892,000 deficit with 32 audit findings and that the city now has a budget surplus with no findings.

But Jones declined to give even a ballpark estimate of what that surplus will be heading into 2023 once the 2022 budget is finalized at the end of the fiscal year.

Jones said he received no prior indication that the budget was an issue and would not be approved.

Bradley said he had seen the  2023 proposed budget and admitted he was surprised it was not passed.

“It looks in order,” Bradley said. “I don’t know why it didn’t get approved tonight, but we’re not going to let that stop the city from operating. I was anticipating that it would be passed, so I’m as shocked as anyone else that it didn’t pass.”

Holmes said she needs more information before voting in favor of approving the 2023 budget.

 “I can’t speak for everybody, I can only speak for me,” Holmes said. “There were some things I questioned about the budget, so I need to do further study.”

Holmes added that she had concerns over salaries but didn’t mention any specifics.

“It’s going to come out,” Holmes said. “And it will be worked out. We’re just trying to do the right thing for the citizens of Grambling.”


Grambling pursuit ends in Ruston

A Clayton, La., man faces numerous charges after he allegedly fled from a Grambling police officer who attempted to stop him for a traffic violation.

At about noon on Wednesday a Grambling PD officer saw a black Chevrolet Camaro traveling east on U.S. 80 with no visible license plate. When the officer attempted to stop the Camaro, it continued east at reckless speeds, endangering others. The suspect crossed the double yellow line, passing five vehicles causing them to run off the road almost causing a crash. Several westbound vehicles had to pull off the road to avoid being hit head on.

The vehicle continued east on U.S. 80 in excess of 100 miles an hour. Inside the Ruston city limits, the Camaro turned north on Barnett Springs Road, running another vehicle off the roadway.

Another Grambling PD officer was able to block the roadway at Barnett Springs and Courtney Ave. The driver, Louis Matthews, III, 23, stopped and was arrested. A search of the vehicle located a bag of suspected marijuana.

The Grambling State University football team roster lists Matthews as a junior linebacker.

Matthews was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for reckless operation of a vehicle, aggravated flight from an officer, possession of marijuana, driving under suspension, no license plate, and other traffic offenses.

Bail was set at $17,150.

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. 

Semifinal ticket information update

Photo Credit: Josh McDaniel

General admission tickets are still available for tonight’s semifinal matchup between Ruston and Zachary.

Fans can purchase tickets from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the ticket office on campus and then at the gate before the ball game. Tickets are $15 apiece. Once general admission has been sold out, standing room only tickets will be sold.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. tonight.

Grambling State team places second at BizTech competition with device that detects air pollutants 

Grambling State University’s Vizio-Air Bayou Classic Biz-Tech Challenge team. From left to right are Dr. Prasanthi Sreekumari, Sonelle Casimir, Shay-Ann Audain, Caesar Catin Jr., and mentor Bukky Awoyemi. 

Three Grambling State University (GSU) students brought home a $5,000 cash prize after placing second at the 2022 Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge, a competition presented by Louisiana Economic Development. 

The STEM-based pitch competition, developed by Nexus Louisiana, gives students the opportunity to present a technology-based business plan and receive mentorship from industry leaders and win funding for their idea.  

Under the guidance of their coach, Dr. Prasanthi Sreekumari, an Assistant Professor and Interim Head of the university’s Department of Computer Science and Digital Technologies, the team was one of two from GSU competing against teams from other Historically Black Colleges and Universities including Southern University, Dillard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Southern University at New Orleans and the Southern University Law Center. 

Members of GSU’s second-place Vizio-Air team were Shay-Ann Audain (team lead), Caesar Catin Jr., and Sonelle Casimir, who were assisted by Sreekumari and mentor Bukky Awoyemi from the BASF corporation. 

Vizio-Air is a miniature device designed and created by the GSU team of students that detects a wide array of air pollutants and shares the results with users in real-time via a mobile device. 
The device makes it easy for users to determine surrounding air quality, alerting them of harmful, illness-causing pollutants and ways to eliminate such potential dangers. 

“This is the result of their hard work and I am very proud of my students,” Sreekumari said. 
Audain said he felt confident about his team’s performance before the results were announced. 
“We were excited to participate in this year’s BizTech challenge and took advantage of the networking opportunity to meet and connect with other professionals and fellow competitors likewise,” Audain said. “I think that we did an excellent job with the presentations, in my opinion. 
Audain said the diversity of the Vizio-Air team played a role in their success.   

“We started planning for this competition early on and given that we came from diverse academic backgrounds (mathematics and physics, accounting and engineering), we were able to divide the tasks between ourselves very easily,” Audain said. “In preparation for the BizTech Challenge, we put in a lot of time and effort to make this concept a reality. Many late hours were spent putting the finishing touches on the presentation, ensuring that all the deadlines were met, and also having productive meetings with our faculty coach, Dr. Prasanthi Sreekumari, and mentor Bukky Awoyemi, while also trying to keep up with regular coursework.” 
Grambling State has dominated the BizTech competition since its 2016 start, taking first-place finishes in 2021, 2019, 2018, and 2016 while finishing second in 2017. 
GSU President Rick Gallot gave a quick introduction before the competition and talked about what the BizTech Challenge has meant to Grambling State University. 
“We’re extremely proud to see the ingenuity and hard work pay off,” Gallot said. “Their successes in these competitions prove that innovation begins the day our students step foot on campus. Their bright ideas from the classroom become more than thoughts, growing into viable business concepts that can change the world.”  
Grambling was also represented by team Nutreni. 

Under the guidance of Sreekumari and mentor Christiana Davis, a small business development consultant at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, GSU’s Nutreni team was headed by Jahres Peter along with teammate Dennis Telemacque and pitched an e-commerce website designed to connect consumers that desire access to organic, fresh plant-based products with local small-scale farmers selling such produce. 

Celebrity Pickers Standing

Teddy Allen
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Malcolm Butler
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Ronny Walker
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Santoria Black
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Kyle Roberts
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James Necaise
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Ruston hoopers take care of business down south on first day of tournament

Photo credit: Reggie McLeroy

Ruston’s girls varsity basketball team won their first round matchup against Madison Prep by a final score of 48-28 in the Sunday Players Showdown in the Lake Girls Basketball Classic, while the boys won their game 64-51 over Hahnville.

“Today was a good first game for us,” Ruston Lady Bearcat head coach Meredith Graf said. “We got rid of our bus legs, played hard and had some success. I liked our energy and effort levels. I’m hoping to continue that tomorrow versus a very scrappy Fairview team.”

Junior Jaliyah McWain led Ruston scorers with 15 points on the night.

On the boy’s side, Bearcat head coach Ryan Bond was pleased to get the victory and recognized that the competition will get stronger as the weekend goes on.

“You’re happy when you win,” Bond said. “It was a little sluggish; we had a four-hour trip down here. We were up 27-20 at halftime, even after missing some shots. We came out second half and got up 17 and we felt good. I had hoped for a bit of a push, but Hahnville is a good team and got closer. They kept chipping away and cut the lead to five in the fourth quarter, but we found a way and got the stops that we needed to. Overall, a win is a win, and we have a lot to learn from.”

Sophomore Joran Parker scored 19 points, while senior Braylan McNeal finished with 18 points.  Juinor Jay Lillard added 11 points.

The Bearcats will play the host school Hamilton Christian tonight at 7 p.m., while the girls will play against Fairview at 5:30 p.m.


New Frontiers to host talk on medical innovation, treatment development 

Louisiana Tech University will host a Zoom lecture from Dr. Rachel Humphrey, founding Chief Executive Officer of Normunity, at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 19 as a part of this year’s New Frontiers in Biomedical Research Seminar Series.

As a medical doctor, Humphrey has over 25 years of experience in clinical drug development, particularly in the field of cancer treatments and immunotherapies. Currently she leads efforts at Normunity, a Boston-based biotech focused on immune-oncology.

Humphrey’s presentation is titled “Jim Allison: Breakthrough – Driving Innovation in the Development of New Medicines.” Allison received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018 for his breakthrough work in cancer immunotherapy and development of a drug that has cured thousands of people.

Through her lecture, Humphrey hopes to share the concept of alternative approaches to cancer treatment and how innovation can continue to occur in the creation of new medicines.

Humphrey was an oncology fellow and staff physician at the National Cancer Institute. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and her MD at Case Western Reserve Medical School; she completed her residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Event attendees will also receive a link to watch the documentary, “Breakthrough: The Jim Allison Story” free of charge. 

To register for the event, visit community.LATech.edu/new-frontiers.

Enter Week 13 of Karl Malone Toyota NFL Pick’em Contest presented by 511 and BRCC

Participation is very simple. Just click on this link below. No entry fee. It’s FREE to play. One entry per contestant.


With Week 13 of the NFL season brings another opportunity for our readers to try to win $150 of cash and prizes in this week’s Karl Malone Toyota NFL Pick’em Contest presented by 511 and BRCC.

It’s easy. Each week pick the 10 NFL games that we list and have a chance to win cash and gift cards.

One lucky (or smart) pick’em guru will walk away with $150 worth of cash and prizes. The weekly deadline is Saturday at 10 a.m. (prior to Sunday’s NFL games). 

Anyone is eligible to participate (only one entry per contestant). Each week the winner will be the participant with the best record out of 10 selected NFL games (ties will be broken by two separate tiebreakers consisting of guessing the total points scored in two of our weekly contests).

There is no entry fee, just like there is no cost to subscribe to the Lincoln Parish Journal. 

It takes 20-30 seconds to sign up and not much longer than that to make your picks.

All contest decisions by LPJ management are final. Weekly winners will be notified Monday and are will be requested to take a photo that will run in the following week’s LPJ.

Every participant will receive a FREE subscription to the Journal, if you’re not already signed up for the easily-navigated, convenient 6:55 a.m. daily e-mail.

Weekly Winners

Week 1: Barry Morales

Week 2: Zoe Collum

Week 3: Joe Peel

Week 4: Linda Fowler

Week 5: John Wakeman

Week 6: Lee Garrett

Week 7: Shawn Payton

Week 8: Don Griffin

Week 9: Charlton Garrett

Week 10: Kevin Watson

Week 11: Doc Hoefler

Week 12: John Price

Ponderings by Doug

Week of November 28, 2022

I hope you gave thanks for all your blessings on Thursday. It is my prayer that in these days of natal preparation you will discover that God has blessed your life. I was thinking about being blessed and my mind wandered to Matthew 5, where Jesus gave a list of those who are blessed. We call that list the beatitudes.

Nadia Bolz-Weber in her book Accidental Saints offers a list of “blessed people” if Jesus were here today to bless them. Some of these blessed folks caused me to ponder them and that is the point.

“Blessed are the agnostics.

Blessed are they who doubt. Those who aren’t sure, who can still be surprised.

Blessed are they who are spiritually impoverished and therefore not so certain about everything that they no longer take in new information.

Blessed are those who have nothing to offer.

Blessed are the preschoolers who cut in line at communion.

Blessed are the poor in spirit. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are they for whom death is not an abstraction.

Blessed are they who have buried their loved ones, for whom tears could fill an ocean. Blessed are they who have loved enough to know what loss feels like.

Blessed are they who don’t have the luxury of taking things for granted anymore.

Blessed are they who can’t fall apart because they have to keep it together for everyone else. Blessed are the motherless, the alone, the ones from whom so much has been taken. Blessed are those who “still aren’t over it yet.”

Blessed are those who mourn. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are those who no one else notices. The kids who sit alone at the middle school lunch tables. The laundry guys at the hospital. The night shift workers working while the world sleeps.

Blessed are the forgotten.

Blessed are the unemployed, the unimpressive, and the underrepresented.

Blessed are the teens who have to figure out ways to hide the new cuts on their arms. Blessed are the meek. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

Blessed are the wrongly accused, the ones who never catch a break and the ones for whom life is hard, for Jesus chose to surround himself with people like these.

Blessed are the foster kids and the trophy kids and the special needs kids and every other kid who just wants to feel safe and loved.

Blessed are the burned out social workers and the overworked teachers and the pro bono case takers.

Blessed are the kids who step between the bullies and the weak.

Blessed are they who hear that they are forgiven.

Blessed is everyone who has ever forgiven me when I didn’t deserve it.

Blessed are the merciful, for they totally get it.”

It is a blessed time for soon we tell the story of one who came down to the manger, kept descending to the cross so that He might reach down in the mess of our lives and lift us up.

We are blessed! Could our Christmas calling be to become a vehicle for God’s blessing to those who don’t feel so blessed?

Driver sleeping in roadway booked for DWI

A Mississippi man was arrested on his second DWI in less than a year after a Lincoln Parish deputy sheriff found him asleep behind the wheel in the roadway.

Early Wednesday morning, Alberto Hernandez, 34, of Horn Lake, Miss. was found asleep in his Ford pickup in the northbound lane of La. Highway 33. When the deputy attempted to wake the driver, Hernandez drove off, traveling a short distance before stopping again.

A Louisiana State Police trooper responded to the scene and administered field sobriety tests. Hernandez was arrested and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for a breath test.

Hernandez submitted to the test with a result of 0.172g%, over twice the legal limit in Louisiana. A records check showed Hernandez was arrested for DWI in July and he did not possess a driver’s license.

Hernandez was booked for DWI-second offense and no driver’s license. Bail was set at $5,500.

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. 

Lady Cougars open Quitman Tourney with win

Lizzie McAdams (44) shoots over a Calvin defender during the Lady Cougars 52-24 win Thursday night. (Photo by Darrell James)

Cedar Creek opened the Quitman Tournament in dominating fashion as the Lady Cougars defeated Calvin 52-24 Thursday night at the Ruston Sports Complex.

Senior Allie Furr led Creek (3-2) with 22 points, 9 rebounds, six steals and six assists while Lizzie McAdams added 9 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals.

Creek led 14-4 after the first quarter and then 29-12 at halftime. The Lady Cougars extended their lead to 40-24 at the end of three before pitching a shutout in the fourth quarter, outscoring Calvin 12-0 to finish the game.

Elli Dickerson added six points and Lillian Soto and Leah Sutherland four points each.

The Lady Cougars face Jonesboro-Hodge tonight at 7:45 p.m. at the Ruston Sports Complex.

The Creek boys dropped a heartbreaker to Jonesboro-Hodge 53-48 in their first round game.

Davis Walsworth led Creek with 21 points while Connor Norris added 13 and Carter Hill chipped in with seven.

J-Hodge led 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and 30-18 at halftime before the Cougars cut the deficit to 37-30 at the end of the third quarter. Creek scored 18 points in the final stanza, led by nine from Walsworth, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit.

The Cougars face Summerfield tonight at 6:15 p.m.

Dogs host Jaguars tonight at TAC

LaDamian Bradford and the Bulldogs host Southern tonight.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech rides a four-game winning streak into December as they open up the new calendar month with a home matchup against Southern.

Tipoff at the Thomas Assembly Center is set for 6 p.m. and the game can be heard on 107.5 FM and seen on ESPN+.

LA Tech (5-2) ended up going a perfect 3-0 in the Samford MTE last week, winning on the road against Alabama A&M and Samford before closing it out with a convincing 91-47 victory over UT Southern in a neutral site game.

All 12 Bulldogs that suited up scored in the win over the Firehawks, led by Keaston Willis and Dravon Mangum who each had 17 points. They combined to make eight of LA Tech’s 15 three-pointers, which set a new single-game program record for made threes in a non-home game.

Cobe Williams continues to lead the charge offensively, averaging 17.8 points per game, followed by Willis (13.7 points per game) and Isaiah Crawford (13.0 points per game). The Bulldogs currently have three of the top 11 scorers in Conference USA.

Defensively, LA Tech has now forced 138 turnovers this season, the most by any league team and the 24th most in the country. They have forced 20+ turnovers in five of the seven games, including the last three.

Not only are the ‘Dogs forcing turnovers, they are turning them into points having recorded at least 20 points off TOs in all seven games this season (averaging 22.7 points off turnovers per game).

After dropping its first three games of the sea­son (all on the road on the west coast), South­ern (3-4) has won three of its last four games against California, Loyola-MD, and most recently a 112-52 demolishing of Champion Christian in what was their first home game of the season.

The Jaguars, who were picked to finish third in the SWAC preseason poll, are one of four SWAC schools to defeat Pac-12 opponents this season. South­ern won on the road at Cal while Grambling State defeated Colorado, Texas Southern downed Arizona State, and Prairie View A&M got past Washington State.

Bryson Etienne, one of two Jaguars voted to the Preseason All-SWAC team, has been the star for Southern so far this season. He is av­eraging 13.4 points per game, having knocked down a team-high 15 three-pointers. He is also averaging 3.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 steals per game.

Southern ranks in the top 10 in the country in steals per game (11.6) and turnovers forced per game (21.43). In two of their last three games, they have forced 31 turnovers.

Friday will mark the eighth meeting between LA Tech and Southern with the Bulldogs leading, 7-2. The two teams played a home-and-home in 2006 and 2007 and then played three consecutive years from 2013-15.

The ‘Dogs have won three straight in the series and are a perfect 4-0 at home against the Jags. The last meeting was an 83-76 victory in Ruston in 2015.

Weekend 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 lpjnewsla@gmail.com

Friday, Dec. 2
5:30-10 p.m.: Light up the Pines (Lincoln Parish Park)
6 p.m.: Christmas Movie Night at the Park (Choudrant)
6 p.m.: Louisiana Tech men’s basketball game v. Southern
7 p.m.: Ruston High semifinal game
7 p.m.: Ruston Community Theatre presents: Elf the Musical (Dixie Center for the Arts)
7-10 p.m.: Downtown carriage rides

Saturday, Dec. 3
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Winter holiday Bazaar (9325 Hwy. 80, Simsboro)
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Christmas in Dubach (Scott Hamilton Warehouse, 139 E. Hico St., Dubach)
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Christmas on the Farm (Outdoor Wilderness Learning Center, Dubach)
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Christmas in the Village (Choudrant)
2 p.m.: Lady Techster basketball v. Alcorn
4 p.m.: GSU basketball v. Incarnate Word
5:30-10 p.m.: Light up the Pines (Lincoln Parish Park)
7 p.m.: Ruston Community Theatre presents: Elf the Musical (Dixie Center for the Arts)
7-10 p.m.: Downtown carriage rides

Sunday, Dec. 4
2 p.m.: Ruston Community Theatre presents: Elf the Musical (Dixie Center for the Arts)