Ponderings with Doug

Did any of you get up on the “wrong side of the bed” this morning?

There is something even worse than “getting up on the wrong side of the bed.” It’s eating breakfast across from someone who “got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Nothing starts the day off on a more sour note than a crabby crash encounter with a wrong-side-of-bed person while you are both still in your pajamas.

These days the overwhelming scapegoat for our a.m. bad behavior is “sleep deprivation.” All the talk shows and on-line docs decry the blood-shot, bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived state of our Union.

But are we really sleep deprived? Or are we just waking badly?

Before the comforts of electricity, central heat and/or air conditioning, sleeping “through the night” was unheard of. Especially in the wintertime when someone had to keep the fire going so the family would not freeze to death.

Let’s think back a century or more. . . when houses were smaller, the number of young children typically large, and the continual needs of livestock on a farm more demanding than anything we can comprehend. Live like our ancestors and the myth of a good night’s sleep seems even more distant. Half of Indiana still refuses to go on the government-standard “daylight savings time” because milk cows just “don’t get it.” Farmers know that Washington D.C. can say “spring forward” all they want. But Bossy still needs to be milked at 5 a.m. — HER 5 a.m., or everyone will “fall backward.”

Ask farmers. Ask big families with small children. Ask central heating challenged households. All have never known about some magic “eight hours” of sleep.

In fact, earlier cultures embraced the night, accepting that while it might be a time of different activities, or even of “rest,” it was not necessarily a time for sustained sleep. In fact, our ancestors most often lived out of a tradition of “two sleeps.”

Every 24 hours used to be divided into a day of “work” and a night of “two sleeps.” When the sun set and the warmth left the air, it was time for the “early sleep.” But the demands of keeping a warm house, tending to children, or just keeping an attentive ear out for intruders, necessarily meant this “early sleep” might be brief. After waking from a couple hours of “first sleep,” this gap of time in the midst of the night was a traditional moment for personal prayer and meditation, tending the fire, reading by candlelight (for those wealthy enough to afford candles) and quiet contemplation. This “personal time” in the middle of the night brought meaning and purpose to a life crowded with noise and people and duties.

But then it was time for “second sleep,” the second shift of sleep that hopefully took the sleeper to just before dawn.

The question upon rising for our ancestors, then, was not “How did you sleep?” but “Did you wake well?” And which “waking” was better, our first waking or your second waking?

Perhaps “waking well” is an endangered species. But it seems scripture is filled with the admonition to “wake up.” Perhaps there was something to the gap between the sleeps.

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Grambling looks to get on winning track in SWAC starting with Prairie View

Who: Grambling State (1-2) vs. Prairie View A&M (1-1)

Where: The Cotton Bowl Stadium (Dallas, Texas)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Radio: 96.3 FM (Ruston), 103.1 FM (Monroe)

Radio Talent: Santoria Black (PxP), Ossie Clark (Color), Nick Harrison (Sideline), T Lay Collins (Sideline)

By T. Scott Boatright

It’s not Christmastime, so Ebenezer Scrooge isn’t around. And Halloween is still over a month away.

Still, the ghost of “future recent” has tormented the Grambling State Tigers football team for at least the past year, if not longer.

But GSU coach Broderick Fobbs is hoping that “ghosts of the past” will help inspire and propel his Tigers to a brighter future starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, when GSU kicks off against Prairie View A&M in the Texas State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

The game will be the 2021 fall season Southwestern Athletic Conference opener for the Tigers.

After not playing in the fall of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic before going 0-4 during the virus-shortened season last spring, and then defeating Tennessee State in the season opener before dropping the last two games, albeit to FBS opponents, getting his Tigers back on a winning track in the SWAC is on Fobbs’ mind.

Fobbs was a GSU running back in the mid 1990s, when the G-Men dominated the Panthers in the annual Texas State Fair Classic.

But that hasn’t been the case in recent years.

After the short-term disbanding of the Prairie View football program in 1990, the State Fair Classic featured Grambling and Elizabeth City State that year. 

Although Prairie View brought football back in 1991, that season Grambling played North Carolina A&T, so it was not until 1992 that the State Fair Classic returned to the annual showdown between the Panthers and Tigers.

Grambling won every contest between the teams until that changed with the 2009 edition won by the Panthers.

Since then, Prairie View has won seven of 12 games against GSU, including the last three.

Between 1950 and 1964, Prairie View won five black national titles and eight of its 11 Southwestern Athletic Conference titles, defeating the legendary Eddie Robinson’s Grambling teams 10 out of 15 times.

Then, after going 5-5 1972, Prairie View only once finished above .500 over the next 17 seasons, going winless in 1974 and 1979 before losing 28 straight games in the early 1980s.

Because of internal problems and financial struggles, Prairie View dropped football in 1990 before bringing it back the next season. 

The Panthers went 0-11 every year from 1991-96 before going 0-9 in 1997. Combined with the two losses at the end of the 1989 season, the Panthers began the 1998 season with the longest losing streak in college football history at any level — 77 games.

But eventually things slowly and surely began turning around for Prairie View’s football team. Grambling won every game between the teams from 1999 until 2009. Since then, Prairie View has won seven of 12 games against GSU, including the last three.

“Wow it has been three years since we’ve won this ballgame,” Fobbs said. “(Panthers coach Eric) Dooley has done an exceptional job of really coaching his team and being prepared and ready to play. We’re looking forward to this and looking forward to this challenge.

 “We feel really good being back here in the Cotton Bowl where all the ghosts of the past, the great players have played. We’re just looking forward to playing Grambling Tiger football.” 

Dooley and Fobbs are no strangers. Before taking over as head coach of the Panthers, Dooley was offensive coordinator under Fobbs at GSU.

And Grambling hasn’t defeated the Panthers since Dooley took over at Prairie View,

“We don’t normally talk,” Fobbs said of his current relationship with Dooley. “He participated here. And, he was really instrumental in us being successful. He’s got his opportunity to be a head football coach. We do speak when we see each other. At the end of the day, we’re focused on our programs and running our programs.”

GSU (1-2) enters Saturday’s conference opener following back-to-back losses to Southern Miss and Houston, while Prairie View A&M (2-1) is coming off a 37-27 victory over Houston Baptist last Saturday.

“It was good to get back out there and play last week and we played against a really, really tough University of Houston football team — a very deep football team that can really throw the football and run the football really well,” said GSU coach Broderick Fobbs. “I thought for a quarter and a half we played really good defense. Offensively we struggled and we weren’t able to sustain any drives or put any points on the board.

“Those are the types of games where you’ve got to be prepared to jump over those types of hurdles in order to have a chance to win. We just didn’t overcome much of the hurdles in order to have a chance to win the football game.”

Grambling and Prairie View will be meeting for the 63rd time with GSU leading the series 51-20-1.

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Weekend events

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list, please email us at lpjnewsla@gmail.com

Friday, Sept. 24
Dubach’s Louisiana Chicken Festival
6 p.m.: Loyal Blue Weekend: Art in the Park (Railroad Park)
7 p.m.: Ouachita Christian at Cedar Creek Football (Cougar Stadium)
7 p.m.: Lincoln Prep Football at Arcadia (Arcadia, La.)
7 p.m.: Carencro at Ruston High Football (James Stadium)

Saturday, Sept. 25
Dubach’s Louisiana Chicken Festival
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ruston Farmers Market
6 p.m.: North Texas at Louisiana Tech Football (Joe Aillet Stadium)

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A Thankless Job  

We’ve all, at one time or another, had those jobs that nobody else wants. Those jobs, where no matter what decisions you make, everyone will not be happy. If you’ve ever run a bass tournament, you’ll find out quickly that there’s not a bigger bunch of whiners on the planet than bass fishermen. If you feed them hamburgers for good performance, they want to know why they didn’t get a ribeye. They really are the most selfish and spoiled outdoorsmen that exist. They like to be catered to and hailed for their skills and abilities to catch bass. Another way to say it…they’re brats!    

Without Tournament Directors (TD’s), anglers would be the inmates running the asylum. TD’s are the guys that run bass tournaments for different organizations all across the country and have a tough job trying to satisfy bass fishermen. They don’t write the rules, they just enforce them, even when they know it will hurt an angler or a team. That’s not their intention to hurt anyone, but it’s a part of the job that goes with being a tournament director. Sometimes they have to be the bad guy whether it’s a one-pound penalty for a minor violation, or worst, a disqualification, which is rare. An example of a one-pound penalty would be weighing a dead fish. If there’s one thing that’s really emphasized in bass tournaments today, it is keeping your fish alive before weigh-in. An example of a disqualification would be not wearing a life jacket either during practice or on tournament day.

But without good TD’s, bass tournaments would be a mess. They constantly have to hear anglers complain about this and that including, but not limited to, accusations from other anglers like… they were fishing too close, they were fishing my spot, they ran through a no wake zone, they weren’t wearing their life jackets….and the list goes on and on! Bass fishermen love rules, as long as they don’t apply to them. No matter what the TD decides on a situation, someone will not be happy. But for a fishing circuit or tournament trail to be successful, it better have a good strong TD who’s not afraid to hurt someone’s feelings. Nothing will ruin a tournament trail quicker than a weak director who does not enforce the rules, or even worse, changes or alters the rules the morning of a tournament. This will make anglers load their boats and leave….. never to return. Every tournament trail that’s ever failed, was usually because rules were not enforced with consistency. If things aren’t run the right way, anglers will abandon ship quicker than setting the hook on a big bass.

So today, I salute all the guys who have taken on that role of TD and had to be the bad guy every once in a while. They spend countless hours on the road and away from their families just like anglers do. In some cases, they literally go from one event to the next, loading and unloading, breaking down and setting up. They make sure the polygraph exams are done correctly. They coordinate all take-offs the morning of the tournament and they make sure all anglers are off the water safe and on time. Then they have to run the weigh-in and pass out checks, before packing up and heading to the next event. So, the next time you’re in a bass tournament or following a bass trail, tell the tournament director “thank you” for doing a great job. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf

Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
And Tackle Talk Live

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Notice of death

 Ruth Hagel Wall 
September 18, 1929 – September 23, 2021 
Arrangements pending 

Alverne Perry 
August 28, 1931 – September 22, 2021 
King’s Funeral Home 
September 24, 2021, 3-6 p.m. 
Liberty Hill Baptist Church, Dubach 
September 25, 2021, 2 p.m. 
Rocky Valley MBC, Simsboro 
September 25, 2021

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Active and Aware: A strategy if abuse is suspected

It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to prevent abuse.

Donna Bernard, child advocate with the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team, said adults need to realize that a child who is being abused may not act like a stereotypical victim.

“Kids want those adults they respect — a parent, or a teacher, pastor, or friend — to respect them,” Bernard said. “The image they present to the world is important, and they do not want to be considered a victim.”

As a result, kids react and handle bullying and abuse in dozens of ways — some healthy and some not healthy.

“Some retaliate; some withdraw and isolate as much as possible,” Bernard said. “Without intervention, depression, failing grades, and/or substance abuse is possible. What we would like them to do is include a caring, competent adult who will take the issue very seriously.”

Unfortunately, though, Bernard said kids are often reluctant to tell an adult about any abuse.

“Studies show that it is possible that the older the child is, the more he or she may feel that they should be handling it themselves,” she said. “Another reason, if they find refuge in a classroom setting or when they finally walk through the door at home, they want to enjoy the ‘escape.’”

One way to recognize abuse, Bernard said, is to watch for red flags.

“To recognize problems — including bullying — that a child may be experiences, the number one thing I tell volunteers, interns, our staff and parents is to spend time with children, making sure your listening ears are turned on,” she said. “Don’t be shy to share with them minor obstacles in your day so they can see how adults calmly handle conflict — for instance, having a repair made and being overcharged. If they see an adult handle conflict in a calm manner, they are more likely to come to that adult with a problem of their own.”

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services reported that 3,271 cases of abuse and neglect had been reported in the Monroe region in 2020. Lincoln Parish is included in that area. 

If abuse is suspected in a child, the child’s feelings must come first.

“When you suspect a child is being abused, make the child’s feelings the number one priority,” Bernard said. “As you move forward in reporting, include the child in decision making about resolving the bullying. Remember, sometimes it may be the choice of the child — especially at first — to talk to a trusted adult other than a parent.”

Bernard is available to speak on bullying and teen dating violence for a class, school, club or school organization. Call 318-243-4522 for more information.

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Part II: An inside look at Grambling State VP for Athletics Dr. Trayvean Scott

(Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part look at GSU Vice President for Athletics Dr. Trayvean Scott. The first part of the series was published by the LPJ on Wednesday.)

By T. Scott Boatright 

After 10 years as a member of the athletic staff at his collegiate alma mater— Southern University -— Dr. Trayvean Scott was introduced as the new Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics at Grambling State University on July 1.

Scott admits that he has already been questioned about what being part of the annual showdown pitting Grambling against Southern in the Bayou Classic at the Caesar’s Palace Superdome in New Orleans will be like for him after trading Jaguar spots for Tiger stripes.

“Somebody asked me if the Bayou Classic is going to be weird for me?,” Scott said. “And I said, ‘Why would it be?’ I’m almost the equivalent of a guy who everybody in the room loves at some level. Obviously there’s going to be some people who don’t, but by and large, I have two families now.

“What I’ve been part of accomplishing as a Southernite is something that no one can ever take away from me. But the road that lies ahead here at such a storied institution, what I think is the most recognizable brand out of all the HBCUs, is far too great an opportunity to pass up, especially under the leadership of Richard J. Gallot, Jr. 

“The fact that he and the search committee thought that high enough of me to bestow us with this opportunity to lead such a storied institution is incredible. I’m in Baton Rouge all the time, I’m in Ruston all the time, and it’s like having two families. I don’t think I can go wrong. But right now my tone and tenor as it relates to my mentality on moving this department forward lies with ‘The G’ on Exit 81. We’re going to make Grambling State University athletics as powerful of a program as we can, and I’m going to use the ‘E’ word — an elite program.

Scott said he’s ready for the opportunity as well as the challenge to work toward making that happen.

“As a matter of fact, I embrace it,” Scott said. “We’re looking at working to establish an elite level athletic department across the board — not just football, not just basketball. I don’t want to lose a game at hopscotch. That’s just going to be our mentality. As administrators, we’ve got to create that culture that will trickle down to our coaches, and then down to our student athletes. 

“And we’re well on our way. We’re excited about it — beyond excited about how we can move this department forward over the year to two years, tops.’

Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) athletics, and football in particular, are riding a wave of increased number of televised games and interest in HBCU athletics, and that’s something Scott said he realizes and wants to work to take advantage of.  

“I think it’s an exciting time, but I think it’s also a time for us to go back and reflect on the history of our leagues, especially the Southwestern Athletic Conference, and chart a path forward in developing strategic partnerships and branding opportunities for our member institutions,” Scott said. “Thus far I believe (SWAC Commissioner Charles McClelland) has done a great job of leveraging the SWAC’s brand and has been able to provide clarity and understanding through our university presidents and athletic directors on what the strategic direction of the conference office is. 

“Obviously we were able to bring the two Florida schools (new SWAC members Florida A&M and Bethune Cookman, which joined the conference this fall) in. And then bringing that football coach to the school on I-55 (new Jackson State head football coach Deon Sanders) has really drummed up some attention.

“One thing about being a Southern grad and Grambling AD is that as both I feel the same way about that school on Interstate 55. I will never mention their name. But with that we’ve got an incredible opportunity not only to highlight our institutions and brands but to also be advocates for social justice and come of the racial issues that are permeating throughout our country. So all of this has given us an additional platform.”

Scott gave the trip to Canton, Ohio, that the GSU football team took earlier this month to face Tennessee State in the Back College Hall of Game Classic in the 2021 fall football season opener as an example.

“We went to Canton and our student athletes had the opportunity to tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum and play the game on the NFL Network and play at the Hall of Fame Stadium,” Scott said. “The team was given that opportunity because first, they’re Grambling and the outstanding leadership we have from legends like Doug Williams and James Harris. Think about the notoriety provided to Grambling State and Tennessee State by playing that game.

“But also, think about the cultural experience those student athletes got that they will cherish for the rest of their lifetimes. I’m a first-year AD and had never been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I got to check that off my bucket list. That kind of thing is critical when trying to advance the brand and mission of these institutions — to play on a platform like the NFL Network.

“Then to be victorious while gaining that cultural experience and providing an opportunity for social advocacy throughout our nation through the platform of sports is priceless. We’ve become the benefactor of a heightened level of play across the Southwestern Athletic Conference because of the visionary leadership of our presidents.

“I will continue to laud my president for his ability to be transformative and Dr. McClelland for coming in as a former AD at the one of the schools (Texas Southern University) that has the most resources in the league and being able to leverage that to provide clarity and understanding through the presidents to the ADs in taking that additional step to provide that platform throughout the league is something that we will continue to really be able to advance based on.”

Scott said he has many things to be excited about right now, and being a part of “The G” is the foundation of all of it.

“I’m at what I believe is the  most reputable and recognizable HBCU. Even with the expanded league and coaching changes and some of our opportunities with the level of play for our sports elevating, this is still Grambling. This is still ‘The G.’

“Knowing and understanding that, we have a big responsibility to be able to elevate even further and at a more accelerated rate, to ensure that we can keep up with the competitive excellence and success that is so great a part of not only Grambling’s history, but also its future.”

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Dubach holds 32nd annual Chicken Festival this weekend

By Thomas Stodghill, IV

The 32nd Annual Chicken Festival is happening this weekend in Downtown Dubach, and it is free to the public. This year would have been the 33rd Chicken Festival, but the festival was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festivities begin on Friday, Sept. 24 at noon. Arts, crafts and food booths will be set up all afternoon. Bingo will be held later at 6:30 p.m.. They will also have live music Friday night. Cypress Knee Band will be playing from 7-10 p.m., with Jordan Sheppard leading.

The festival will continue Saturday, Sept. 25. They plan to host an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. with the singing of the national anthem and a prayer. After that, an antique car show will be featured.

A Life Share Blood Bus is going to host a Blood Drive at the event at 10 a.m.

In addition to all of that, there will be several contests throughout the day. This includes a pet show, the strut, cackle, and crow contests; and a drumstick eating contest.

On Saturday, Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo will have “Zoo to You” set up for people to see zoo animals from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The festival will also have live music and entertainment throughout the day on Saturday, including the “Luna Chicks” Dance Group and musician Zach O’Neal.

The day will end with a raffle drawing for the Chicken Festival Quilt. 

Gina Stokes, the event coordinator for the chicken festival, explained that they are not doing everything this year.

“We have been cutting back this year,” Stokes said. “Because of COVID, we are not doing a parade this year and we are not doing a beauty pageant because of that.”

Though this event will not be the same, Stokes is hoping that people can come out and have fun at the festival.

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Deputy spots stolen car, arrest follows

A Dubach woman was charged with vehicle theft after a Lincoln Parish deputy spotted her operating a stolen car.

About 12:30 Monday afternoon, Deputy Jeffrey Marshall observed a Chevrolet Malibu matching the description of an earlier vehicle theft report. When the vehicle stopped at some dumpsters on Big Creek Road, Marshall approached the driver, Jessica Johnston, 37, and told of the reason for the stop, asking if she knew the vehicle was stolen. She replied no but could not produce any paperwork regarding ownership. 

A search produced a suspected “meth” smoking pipe containing suspected methamphetamine near the driver’s seat.

Johnston was arrested for theft of a motor vehicle, switched license plate, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia, and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

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Lily Garrett: Family ties help Bearcat runner race toward a bright future

By T. Scott Boatright


Many long distance runners call the sport their lifeblood.

That might be true for Ruston High School junior Lily Garrett, but the fact that running is also in her bloodlines doesn’t hurt, either.

Last year Garrett was All-District and All-Region selection in both cross country and track, finishing 16th in the state championship meet while also being a member of the RHS girls’ 4×800 relay team that finished third in the state indoor track and field championship. 

She said she started running in the first grade before realizing in the seven grade that it was something she wanted to make a big part of her future.

“That’s when I got more serious about it,” Garrett said. ““Running is definitely a part of me. I would be lost without it. There might be some times I might briefly feel I hate it … but it’s part of my daily routine and I love it.”

Her father, longtime Lincoln Parish coach Bob Garrett, was a runner and football standout at Jonesboro-Hodge High School before moving on to Louisiana Tech, where he played behind center for two years for the Bulldogs football team before his collegiate athletic career was cut short by injury.

Garrett’s mother Karen was also a sprinter in high school, and her mom’s dad, Edwin Davis, was also a track standout at RHS and then Tech. She admits her parents and grandfather have provided inspiration.

“My pop (Davis) running track and being so good at it definitely inspires me,” Garrett said. 

RHS Cross Country coach Dustin Cochran realizes that running truly is in Garrett’s blood.

“You know who her daddy is,” Cochran said. “She definitely has his genetics and her mama’s daddy, Dr. (Edwin) Davis, was our school record holder in the 400 at Ruston, too. So she’s got it on both sides. We’ve always looked at her and known that she’s really got a shot to be pretty good. She just had to mature, grow up and start putting it together. She had to realize that, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good.”

Garrett first showed flashes of her running ability last year before opening the 2021 Cross Country on Sept. 11 and taking first place at Episcopal’s 43rd Round Table Run with a time of 18:40.23.

“Last year she got off to a great start and opened up with a run of 19:38,” Cochran said. “So to come in this year and open nearly a minute ahead at 18:40 against some of the best competition in Louisiana shows just how hard she’s worked. We’re pretty happy with it.”

Garrett led most of that race but admitted she wasn’t sure what to expect going in.

“It was a lot of fun,” Garrett said about the race. “I didn’t really know what to expect going into it, but I knew that I wanted to compete and be in the front. But I wasn’t really expecting to go out there and win necessarily. But it was fun to go out there and do that.”

Garrett said she took a minute or two to gauge her competition before making her move in the Sept. 11 race.

“The girl that got second place from St. Joe’s, she took off and led for about half a mile and then I passed her,” Garrett said. “I didn’t want to get out in the front and die in the beginning. So I got out and let her take the lead and then I started realizing I was feeling good so I decided to take the lead.

Cochran said the growth in Garrett’s mental approach toward running has been key in her increasing performances.

“Last year she started to come into her own and realize that she could run pretty fast,” Cochran said. “She had some really good early meets but at the end I think she might have started thinking too much and got ancy about it — nervous. So the year didn’t end as well as you wanted it to. So this year she knows what she needs and wants to do so that when we make it to November, that’s when the fast times come as opposed to October or even September, where in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.

Before the race at Episcopal on Sept. 11, you could see that she was still a little unsure that she was going to do well. The last thing I told her before they lined up was, ‘Don’t be afraid to go win.’ So when she went to the front, she made a move and just went with it. That’s all it took for that one.”

Now Cochran waits to see what comes next from his budding star runner.

“I don’t know what her ceiling is,” Cochran said. “It’s going to be about keeping things in perspective and taking it day by day, week by week. We’ve got the long term plan put out. Now we just have to get there. By the time she’s a senior I see no reason why she can’t be one of the best ones to come through Ruston High for sure. And if she does things right and we take her to some bigger meets nationally, who knows? It’s hard to say. But the potential is there and we definitely hope she ends up doing very well. She’s on the right track right now.”

Increasing leadership has been part of Garrett’s mental growth according to her head coach.

“She’s evolved every year,” Cochran said. “When she first got here she was very quiet, Very timid and shy. Then last year she was still shy. But this year I’ve noticed that she doesn’t mind pulling along the other girls or telling them ‘this is what it takes’ or ‘I’m doing this, you need to be sure you’re handling your part as well.’ She’s evolving into a leader. They’re really kind of feeding off it.”

Garrett said she’s also excited about the spring track season at RHS and thinking about what her future could have in store.

“I love track,” Garrett said. “My first year we didn’t get to do it because of COVID. But I loved last year and especially the relays because you’re doing it with your teammates. So you don’t celebrate yourself only, you celebrate with your team and that’s a lot more fun. I’m just trying to keep motivated and stay strong for the rest of this season and see just how far I can take it. I would love to run in college, and hopefully be the top runner at state and finish strong.”

Garrett’s next cross country race will come Saturday as she and her teammates participate in the Wallace Martin Invitational at Lincoln Parish Park.


Photo: Amy Vessel


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Creek, OCS set for Friday night showdown

One of the top teams in Class A will enter Cougar Stadium Friday night when No. 2 ranked Ouachita Christian travels to Ruston to face Cedar Creek. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

The Eagles (3-0) have played a tough schedule to date, defeating 5A Southwood 40-0 and edging another perennial state power in Oak Grove 35-21 in two of their three victories. OCS also beat Sicily Island 47-12 last week.

Cougar head coach Matt Middleton knows his team is in for a test.

“Really good football team,” said Middleton. “We obviously know that. They have been in two of the last four state championships in Division IV.  Had a lot of success. Steven Fitzhugh has been the head coach for over 20 years. Lot of continuity with their staff. Done a phenomenal job. Built a top-notch program that has won a lot of games. They just reload every year.

“It’s one of those game where we will have our hands full. For us to be where we want to be as a program we got to go compete and be able to beat those guys and we will have our hands full on Friday.”

Creek (1-1) is coming off a 38-6 win at Delhi Friday in a game that was played in torrential rain at times. The Cougars defense allowed just 15 total yards of offense in the win over the Bears, and Middleton knows that they will have to play well once again against OCS.

“Offensively they have a really good quarterback,” said Middleton. “He throws it around. He is more of a down-the-field guy. They have a couple of really good receivers. They have four senior offensive linemen on a core group that is really good. They run the ball really well.

“I think they will try to establish the line of scrimmage. I know they know we play good defense. But I think they are very confident in their abilities to move the ball. I expect our defense to have a really big challenge this week. They are going to try to put us in bad positions. We have to make plays. We are a very veteran group. We are battle tested but we are going to get their best effort on Friday and we will have our hands full.”

Creek has been led defensively this year by Carson Riley, Lane Thomas, AJ Thomas and many more on that Cougar side of the football.

Offensively, Cedar Creek has struggled through two games. Despite putting up 38 points in last week’s win, Middleton wasn’t pleased with the production and execution of the Cougars offensive unit. The Cougars did manage to rush for 168 yards led by Lane Thomas with 54 yards, Jed Worthey with 39 and Lawson Lillo with 25 and a TD.

This week won’t get any easier.

“Defensively OCS causes a tremendous amount of havoc,” he said. “They try to bring a whole lot more pressure than you can block. That’s kind of their answer. It’s how many times can we heat up the quarterback and hit the quarterback and force him into bad throws. They have had a lot of success doing it. They are going to throw the kitchen sink at us def and they are going to do what they do offensively and that’s run the counter and throw the ball down the field.”

Creek’s top running back Jed Worthey left last week’s game early with an ankle injury, but Middleton said he has been rehabbing and hopes to have him back Friday night.

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 (dgjames.photoshelter.com)

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MOVIE REVIEW: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Is this a Marvel or Not?

By Thomas Stodghill, IV

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten more expansive, Marvel has given more superheroes their time to shine. While Marvel gave some established characters like Scarlet Witch and Loki more screen time, they wanted to introduce some new heroes to its repertoire.

Shang-Chi is the first one to get this treatment this year. If this movie is anything to go by, then I am excited to see what Marvel does with him. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” follows our titular protagonist, played by Simu Liu, who wants to live a normal life after being trained to be an assassin by his father, Wenwu (Tony Leung). After Wenwu hunts him down, Shang-Chi is forced to confront his past.

The story itself, while not free of all Marvel’s cliches, explains the whole backstory of Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings organization well. The story delivers a compelling and tragic backstory that goes deep into exploring Asian culture.

I also loved the performances by Liu and Leung. I can tell that Lui had a great time with his role, especially doing a lot of his stunts. Leung delivered a great performance as the antagonist who was a little sympathetic.

This movie has some of the best choreography in any of Marvel’s movies. The fight scenes are exhilarating to watch, no matter if the characters fight with their arms, a sword, bow and arrow, or a machete.

Another highlight of the movie is easily the humor. Shang-Chi’s friend, Katy, delivers some of the funniest jokes in the movie. Awkwafina delivers a hilarious performance, and she gets her moments to shine.

Going into this movie, I did not know how this movie would connect to the other Marvel movies. While the film mostly stands on its own, it has a handful of characters from the MCU. Like 2018’s “Black Panther,” this movie knows to let the new characters shine first.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is a fascinating origin story that hints at more to come. While a little cliché at times, the story is compelling, and the performances are top notch. This movie is a must watch if you are into superheroes or action-adventure movies.

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RCT to host auditions for ‘A Christmas Carol’

Ruston Community Theatre will host auditions for its Christmas musical, “A Christmas Carol.”

The auditions will take place from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 27 at the old Stage store, located at 201 N. Service Road East. 

The musical is directed by Dee Anderson, and the performance will take place Dec. 2-5.

The show sponsor is Green Clinic.

To audition, participants should prepare 16-20 bars of a song, and Alexander will be on keyboard, if needed.

Auditions are open to ages 8 and up.

Performances run Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. A musicals ticket is $18 for adults and $9 for children/students. All performances take place at The Dixie Center for the Arts at 212 N. Vienna Street.

Tickets go on sale two weeks before production starts, and season members have the opportunity to reserve seats a week before the public sales begin.

For more information, visit rctruston.org or call 318-595-0872.

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Another day, another Ruston Volleyball sweep

The wins just keep coming for Lucie Hunt and her Lady Bearcat volleyball squad.

This time, it was Parkway on the losing side by final scores of 25-16, 25-8, and 25-20. Ruston is now 3-0 in district play.

“I am glad to see multiple people contributing in each game,” Hunt said. “We are working well as a team and trying to figure out what offense and positions are the best fit for us still. We are looking forward to a great weekend of volleyball.”

Senior Mariah Hintze finished with 10 kills on the night, while senior Riley Oakley notched nine. Senior Sophie Mae Smith finished with four aces, three kills, and 33 assists.

The Lady Bearcats will host the Bearcat Brawl on Sept. 23-24; the final schedule is still pending.

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Photo: Darrell James (dgjames.photoshelter.com)

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