Monday, January 16, 2017

Packers Nip Cowboys, Steelers Hold On In KC Plus... Local Goodies

Mason Crosby nailed a 51-yard field goal as time expired to send Green Bay past Dallas and into the NFC Championship next Sunday in Atlanta. The Packers 34-31 win was made possible by outstanding play from Aaron Rodgers from the opening drive until his final pass that ended the Cowboys magical season.

Dak Prescott became the first rookie starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw three touchdown passes in a playoff game. The Haughton native got started by connecting with Dez Bryant in the 2nd quarter on a 40-yard play to cut the lead to 21-10.  Prescott and Jason Witten combined on a six-yard scoring toss to make it 28-20 with 11:39 remaining in the 4th quarter. The touchdown catch was Witten's first in a playoff game. Prescott's third touchdown pass went to Dez Bryant with 4:09 to play to make it 28-26. Prescott added a two-point conversion on a quarterback draw to knot the game.  

Green Bay moved downfield, aided by a pass interference penalty on Anthony Brown that nullified what would have been Jeff Heath's second interception of the game.  When the Packers drive stalled at the Dallas 38-yard line, Crosby cashed in a three-pointer from 56 yards out with 1:33 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Packers a 31-28 lead. 

Taking over at their 25-yard line, the Cowboys quickly reached midfield on a first-down Prescott to Terrence Williams combo that covered 24 yards. Prescott and Witten connected for an 11-yard pick-up on the next play to move to the Packers 40 yard line. With :50 seconds to play and only one timeout remaining, head coach Jason Garrett called for Prescott to spike the ball to stop the clock.  Prescott found Cole Beasley in the flat for a 7-yard gain but his third down pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage.  Dan Bailey trotted onto the field and calmly nailed a game-tying 52-yard field goal with :35 seconds to play.

On the final possession of the game, Rodgers was sacked by Heath for a ten-yard loss with :18 second to play, moving Green Bay back to their own 32-yard line.  After an incomplete pass, Rodgers made the play of the game, converting 3rd and 20 by rolling to his left and firing a strike to a sliding Jared Cook, who made the catch just inches from the sideline at the Dallas 32 yard line with :03 seconds to play.  

Garrett iced Crosby on his first attempt, calling a timeout just a hair before the Packers kicker booted the ball through the uprights.  On the second opportunity-the one that counted-Crosby's kick started to drift left but knuckled back to the right, easily covering the 51 yards while nestling inside the right upright for the game winner.

Prescott finished 24-38-302 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. The turnover midway through the 3rd quarter at the Green Bay 19 yard line when Micah Hyde stepped in front of a pass intended for Beasley.  Ezekiel Elliot added 125 yards rushing on 22 attempts.  Dez Brynt finished with 9-catches for 132 yards and the two scores.

Rodgers threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns, completing 28-of-43 passes. 

This was the first playoff game in NFL history to feature three 50+ yard field goals in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter. 

Green Bay will play Atlanta in the Georgia Dome next Sunday for the NFC  Championship. 


After home teams won the first six NFL playoff games, road teams made their presence felt Sunday. In addition to Green Bay's win in Arlington, the Pittsburgh Steelers stormed into Kansas City and toppled the Chiefs in an AFC Divisional round playoff game, 18-16.

Chris Boswell booted a playoff record six field goals and the Steelers defense made it hold up, setting up a showdown of AFC heavyweights next Sunday in Foxboro between Pittsburgh and New England. Since 2001, the two teams have combined for nine conference crowns. 

The Chiefs grabbed a 7-3 lead midway through the opening quarter on a five-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith to Albert Wilson. The end zones remained untouched until late in the fourth quarter when the Chiefs reached pay-dirt on a Spencer Ware 1-yard touchdown to slice the Steelers lead to 18-16.  Kansas City succeeded on the two point conversion to tie the game but former first overall pick, Eric Fisher was called for holding, moving the Chiefs back to the 12-yard line for the conversion attempt, which failed the second go-round. 

Kansas City coach, Andy  Reid chose to kick off deep rather than attempt an onside kick and it nearly paid a dividend when the Steelers muffed the kick and had to start at their own five yard line. Pittsburgh needed one first down to run out the clock and Ben Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for seven yards on 3rd and 3 from the 12 to ice the game. 


Byrd girls soccer coach, Lisa Levermann picked up her National Soccer Coaches Association of America 2016 Regional Coach of the Year award in Los Angeles this weekend according to the Shreveport Times. 

Levermann guided the Lady Jackets to a 29-2-1 record and state runner-up finish to Mt. Carmel last season. This year, Byrd is ranked third in Division One with an 11-2 record.

Northeastern State University, a Division II school in Tahlequah added their third local football commit over the weekend.  Parkway's Johnathan Jones and Nick So'oto were committed prior to Airline's D'Kameron White's commitment Sunday. North DeSoto's Tim Howard, who just finished his freshman season, is the only other local player on the roster.

Also over the weekend, Delmonte Hall, the Friday Football Frenzy Offenssive Player of the Year, and all-area performer from North DeSoto, announced his commitment to Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. 

Northwestern State's wide receiver corp received a boost Sunday. Former LSU Tiger, Jazz Ferguson announced on twitter that he is transferring to the Natchitoches school.  Ferguson was suspended by LSU this past season after playing in seven games.  

The former 4-star recruit out of West Feliciana High School will be eligible immediately at NSU.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Everybody Wins! Your Sports Headlines For Friday the 13th


In Natchitoches, Northwestern State swept a women's/men's double-header over Nicholls State. In the opening game, the Lady Demons opened on a 19-0 run and added a 12-0 run to start the 3rd quarter on the way to a 75-58 win. Beatrice Attura led the Natchitoches NSU with 23 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double. Northwestern State improved to 8-8 overall, 2-3 in Southland Conference play.

In the nightcap, Sabri Thompson lit up Prather Coliseum with 38 points to lead the Demons to a come-from-behind 86-81 win over Nicholls State.

Mike McConathy’s men trailed by 13 points in the second half before rallying to the win. Ishmael Lane’s jumper with just under 2:00 to play gave NSU the lead for good. Former Bossier Bearkat, Devonte Hall buried a “3” just before the shot clock expired, with 56 seconds remaining in the game to push the Demons one-point lead out to a four-point cushion. Hall added four free throws in the final minute while Thompson canned a pair to keep the Colonels at bay.

The game was the first this month at home for the Demons---they get to sleep in their own beds this weekend with Sam Houston State visiting NSU Saturday.


In North Carolina, Louisiana Tech improved to 3-1 in Conference USA play with a 79-73 win over Charlotte. The Bulldogs used a 13-0 run at the end of the first half to grab a 45-31 halftime lead. In the second frame, Tech laid down the hammer early, capped by a 360-degree jam by Jacobi Boykins to push the Dogs advantage to 23 points. The 49ers fought back by nailing their free throws and dialing in from beyond the arc, eventually pulling to within one point with 1:12 to play.

Clutch free throw shooting from Tech enabled Eric Konkol’s crew to pull out of Charlotte with a win. Boykins led Tech with 16 points.

While the fellas were notching the win on the road, Brooke Stoehrs’ Lady Techsters protected the home hardwood against a red-hot Charlotte team. The league leaders entered the Thomas Assembly Center on a 9-game winning streak that started on December 1st but exited the premises on the tail end of an 80-54 Lady Techster takedown.

The ladies of Lincoln Parish turned a close game in the 3rd quarter into a rout courtesy of a 7-0 run at the end of the period to grab a 58-47 lead. In the final quarter, the Techsters laid it on thick, outscoring their guests, 22-7.

Alexus Malone had her most productive game as a Techster, pumping in a career best 28 points and grabbing a career high 15 rebounds.

The win improved Tech’s record to 2-2 in CUSA play. That was the first league loss for Charlotte in five conference games.


The LSU-S Lady Pilots won their ninth straight game with a 73-70 overtime win on the road against Texas College in Tyler. Courtney Randle led LSU-S with 23 points to help her Lady Pilots improve to 6-0 in Red River Athletic Conference.

In men's play, the Pilots steered past Texas College 77-65 to move to 4-2 in RRAC play. Benjamin Batts topped all scorers among the Pilots with 18 points.

The Mudbugs won their fourth straight game, knocking off Topeka Thursday night on George’s Pond inside Hirsch Coliseum 3-1.

John Roberts got the win between the pipes, stopping 34 shots from the RoadRunners. Kieran Durgan salted the game away with a goal during a Topeka power play opportunity. The “man-down” goal made it 3-1 and Roberts made the lead hold up.

The same two teams tangle Friday and Saturday on George's Pond with the puck dropping each night at 7:11 p.m.  Friday's game will feature the number 34 jersey retirement of former Mudbugs goalie, Kenny Carroll.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Clemson Overtakes Alabama To Win National Championship

Alabama was one second away from adding to their national championship trophy case; Nick Saban, one second away from tying Alabama legend Bear Bryant for the most national titles as a head coach with his sixth. Clemson was one second away from being the best man instead of the groom in college football's big wedding for the second straight year.

But... DeShaun Watson, the forgotten man in the Heisman race, connected with former walk-on Hunter Renfrow for a 2-yard touchdown with one second remaining to give Clemson a 35-31 win over Alabama. The Tigers overcame a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter, making last night's game the first in 98 games that a Nick Saban-coached Crimson Tide team lost a game in which they led by double digits in the fourth quarter.

Alabama, with new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian calling the plays for the first time after the ouster of Lane Kiffin last week, grabbed a 14-0 second quarter lead after Bo Scarbrough's second impressive touchdown gallop. The Bama' bruiser's 37 yard jaunt with 10:50 remaining in the second quarter complemented his 25 yard score midway through the opening stanza. Watson and Clemson cut the lead in half on an 8-yard scamper by the Clemson QB that topped off an 87 yard drive.

Clemson received the ball in the third quarter but promptly turned it over to Alabama on a fumble. The Tigers defense kept 'Bama off the board in the first quarter after coughing it up on their own 35-yard line, and this time held the Tide to a field goal to remain within hollering distance at 17-7. The two teams exchanged punts before Watson and company took advantage of great field position, covering 42 yards in just four plays to make it 17-14.

The teams took turns punting on the next two drives before Alabama freshman Jalan Hurts delivered a 68-yard touchdown pass to tight end O.J. Howard to reestablish a 10-point advantage for the Tide heading into the fourth quarter.

If someone had told Nick Saban before the game that it would take Clemson scoring 21 fourth quarter points to wrest away the championship from Tuscaloosa, he would have liked his chances. But that's exactly what the ACC champs did, beginning with Watson's 4-yard connection to Mike Williams to wrap up a long drive that started in the third and finished a minute deep into the fourth to make it 24-21 Alabama.

Both teams held serve until Clemson took possession at their own 12-yard line with 6:33 to play. Watson accounted for 87 yards on the 88 yard drive, saving the final piece of real estate for Wayne Gallman to give Clemson their first lead, 28-24. Hurts, the freshman quarterback named the top offensive player in the SEC, brought his Crimson crew downfield, covering the final 30 yards of a 68-yard drive on a nimble run reminiscent of his game-winning jaunt against LSU. Hurt's touchdown with just over two minutes to play gave the Tide a 31-28 advantage.

Watson's group began the game-winning drive at their own 32-yard line and navigated rather cleanly downfield with only one third down conversion needed before setting up shop at the Alabama 9-yard line with less than 10 seconds to play. A penalty on the Tide gave Clemson a first down at the 2-yard line with six seconds to play. On the ensuing play, Watson rolled right and found Renfrow facing him in the end zone, awaiting the throw that would fell the champs and deliver Clemson their first national championship since 1981.

The Crimson Tide defense couldn't keep Clemson from driving in the fourth quarter, perhaps a testament to the 99 offensive plays run by Clemson. The 21 points surrendered in the fourth quarter is unnatural in the Nick Saban universe... almost as strange as losing a championship game. The loss to Clemson was Saban's first as the head coach in a winner-takes-the-title game. "Around here, we rarely lose," Alabama's Tim Williams said afterward. "When we do lose, it's a shock. It's a shock to everybody."

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sports Stuff For Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Rice scored the game's first 11 points and eventually led visiting Northwestern State by 20 points with 10 minutes to play, but had to hold off a furious rally by the Demons in a 100-93 win. Wild swings are nothing new to NSU...on Saturday, the Demons led UL-Monroe by 23 points early and had to hold on for a four-point win.

Junior Devonte Hall, a Bossier High alum, led NSU with a career-high 22 points and Zeek Woodley had 20 points. Former Byrd Yellowjacket, Chad Lott playing his first season at Rice after a knee injury shelved him last season, contributed 10 points and three assists for the Owls.

Rice knocked down 12-of-their-first-17 three-point shots while building a 79-59 lead with 10:36 to play, only to see the relentless Demons chip away down the stretch, eventually whittling the lead to six points with 18 seconds to play.

NSU is 5-5, with their next game at home on December 28th against Louisiana College.

LSU flipped the script on the College of Charleston. The Tigers knocked off the Cougars Monday night in the PMAC, 75-65, a reversal of last year's game on the road, won by Charleston by twelve.

Last night's game was tied, 65-65 with just under two minutes to play. A quick reminder: The Cougars finished with 65 points is a good indicator of how things fell into place down the stretch. Three layups, two by Brandon Sampson and one by Jaylyn Patterson, pushed the Tigers in front 71-65. Craig Victor, playing perhaps his best game of the season, hit three free throws in the final 20 seconds to nail the door shut on the Cougars. Victor finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds..

LSU was led by Duop Reath's 23 points. The Sudan native added 8 rebounds and three swats. LSU plays Thursday at Wake Forest before opening SEC play a week later in the PMAC against Vanderbilt.

LSU's recruiting fortunes continued to tick upwards since the hiring of offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The future play-caller for the Tigers helped bring quarterback Myles Brennan back into the fold for the 2017 recruiting class. The Tigers other target at quarterback in this class, Lowell Narcisse of St. James High School, recommitted to the Tigers on Monday. Just last week, Narcisse decommitted from LSU, questioning the direction of the offense.

Since then, Ed Orgeron brought Canada on board, obviously to the liking of the two quarterback prospects.

Another key piece of LSU's recruiting puzzle and overall success has been defensive backs coach Corey Raymond. With "DBU" aka, Defensive Backs University, annually churning out high NFL draft picks, it was obvious Raymond is good at his job with his alma mater. He is also one of the top recruiters on Orgeron's staff. Monday, Raymond agreed to a new contract extension through 2019, with bumps in pay each year. The lowest paid staffer this past season, Raymond will now earn $400,000 in 2017, $425,000 in 2018 and $450,000 in 2019.

Former Louisiana Tech star, Paul Millsap hit the go-ahead jumper with 10 seconds to play to lift the Atlanta Hawks past Oklahoma City on the road Monday night, 110-108. Pressed into playing center with Dwight Howard out, Millsap scored a season-high 30 points in the win. Russell Westbrook lit up the stat sheet with 46 points. After the game, Millsap said Westbrook, the league's leading scorer, is going to get his points. "The game plan was try to take everybody else out of it, " he said. With only two other Thunder players reaching double figures, Atlanta's game plan worked like a charm.

Cam Newton threw for two touchdowns to lead Carolina to a 26-15 win over Washington. The NFC East's defending champs are now a woeful 1-16 in their last 17 Monday Night Football games played at home. The loss also knocked Washington from the driver's seat for the final wild-card slot. If they had won their final three games, including last night's tilt, they were guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. Now, their route to the post-season is much trickier.

Tim and Aly Fletcher
"The Tim Fletcher Show"

Louisiana Association of Broadcasters
"Sports Show Of The Year"
(318) 469-5793

Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday, December 12th Sports on the Uptake

The Saints fell to 5-8 with a 16-11 loss to Tampa Bay on the road Sunday, guaranteeing the third straight non-winning season in New Orleans. Drew Brees was picked off three times and didn't throw a touchdown pass for the second straight game. It's the first time in Brees Hall-of-Fame career that he failed to toss a TD pass in consecutive games since 2009.

The Bucs earned their fifth straight win on the strength of their opportunistic defense, three Roberto Aguayo field goals and a Doug Martin touchdown run to remain tied with Atlanta for the top spot in the NFC South.

Just before the end of the second quarter, Travares Cadet dropped a sure touchdown pass on 1st and Goal from the six-yard line on the play after a false start pushed the Saints back from 1st and Goal at the 1-yard line. The Saints settled for a field goal to make it 13-8 at the half.

In the 3rd quarter, Brees hit Brandin Cooks for what was initially ruled a go-ahead score, but instant replay overturned it. New Orleans had to settle for a field goal that cut the Bucs lead to 16-11. Brees had one more shot in the closing minute to drive his team to a win, but was picked off at the Saints 47-yard line ending the threat.

Houston ran their winning streak against division opponents to nine with a 22-17 win at Indianapolis. The Texans used five Nick Novak field goals and a second quarter Lamar Miller touchdown run to remain tied with Tennessee for the AFC South division lead with 7-6 records. The Colts are a game back at 6-7.

Andrew Luck had the Colts driving at the end of the game but his 4th and 1 pass from the Texans 42-yard line fell short. The Texans ran out the clock to secure the win.

The Dallas Cowboys are 11-0 this season when they line up against any team not named the New York Giants. The Blue Stars division rival has sandwiched a pair of bookend losses around the Cowboys 11-game winning streak that started after a season opening loss to the Giants in Arlington.

Sunday night in the Meadowlands, the Giants harassed former Haughton and Mississippi State star, Dak Prescott all night long, forcing the rookie into the worst game of his young career. Coming into the game, Prescott had only thrown two interceptions all year—the Giants doubled that total. Prescott finished 17-for-37 for 165 yards and a touchdown. He hit a wide-open Terrance Williams for a 31-yard score on the second drive of the game. After the touchdown, the Cowboys passing game was stymied the remainder of the game.

Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant had only one catch—it came with 2:30 to play and he fumbled the ball away at the end of the play.

The Giants scored all of their points in the third quarter. Two plays after Prescott was intercepted at the Giants 10-yard line, former LSU standout, Odell Beckham, Jr. snagged an Eli Manning pass and raced untouched into the end zone for a 61 yard touchdown.

Dallas could have clinched the NFC East and a first round bye in the playoffs with a win. They try to take care of those tasks Sunday night when they host Tampa Bay.

Cardell Hayes was found guilty of Manslaughter in the April 9th shooting death of former Saints great, Will Smith. The case was sent to the jury Sunday afternoon and they wasted little time in determining Hayes guilt. The sentence for manslaughter is typically 20-40 years. Jurors dismissed a second degree murder charge, voting 10-2 in favor of the manslaughter charge. Jurors also convicted Hayes of attempted manslaughter in the shooting of Smith's widow, Racquel.

Sentencing is set for February 17th.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fab Friday Sports Nuggets

Ruston head football coach, Brad Laird is stepping down to return to his college alma mater, Northwestern State. Laird will reprise his role as the Demons defensive coordinator, a post he has held twice before, from 2003-2005 and 2008 under Scott Stoker, continuing under Bradley Dale Peveto from 2009-2011. During his first go-round as the DC, the Demons twice finished with top 10 defenses nationally.

After starring at quarterback at Ruston High, where he helped the Bearcats win 30 of 31 games and two state titles, Laird carved out a record breaking career as NSU’s quarterback throwing for a program best 6,037 yards. Laird was named one of the Demons all-time 100 best players in 2007 and was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Laird and NSU head coach, Jay Thomas were on the same staff in Natchitoches in 2010 and 2011, with Thomas serving as defensive line coach under Laird.

Laird replaces Daryl Daye, who spent the last two years as NSU defensive coordinator. Daye is leaving the coaching business.

Tre’davious White was named a 1st team Walter Camp Foundation All-American last night during the ESPN Home Depot college football awards show.

The Green Oaks alum has consistently graded out as one of the best cover cornerbacks in college football. This season, White led the SEC with 13 pass break ups. He also had two interceptions, taking one back for a score in the season opener against Wisconsin.

White was in Orlando for the awards show as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. USC cornerback Adoree Jackson ended up taking home the hardware given to college football’s top defensive back.

White’s LSU teammates, Ethan Pocic and Kendall Beckwith were chosen 2nd-team all-Americans at center and linebacker respectively.

This is the 127th edition of Walter Camp all-Americans, making the squad the longest running in the country.

This afternoon in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, Haynesville meets Logansport for the LHSAA Class 1A state championship, the first of five championship games in the Dome over the weekend in the non-select division of schools.

The top-seeded Golden Tornado are seeking their 18th state championship and second in three years. Logansport, the no. 2 seed, is seeking their second state championship. Their only title came in 1995, with current head coach Kevin Magee leading the way for the Tigers as the starting quarterback.

In biting cold weather last night, Kansas City bested Oakland, 21-13 to forge a tie atop the AFC West.

Former Springhill Lumberjack, Charcandrick West scored from three yards out, the second of three Chiefs touchdowns in the second quarter that sprung the home team past their guests from the west.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Thursday, December 8th Sports Stuff

Make room for more hardware in the Louisiana Tech football facility. Conference USA doled out their MVP Awards Wednesday, and the Bulldogs made a haul.

Head Coach, Skip Holtz was named the CUSA Coach of the Year after guiding his team to an 8-5 record, a division title and a bowl game in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. The veteran coach picks up a $25,000 bonus for winning the award. Holtz also calls the offensive plays for a unit that produce a pair of league honorees.

Quarterback Ryan Higgins, who threw for 4,208 yards and 37 touchdowns, claimed the conference MVP. The Bulldogs senior was suspended for the opening game against Arkansas, so he compiled his MVP numbers in 12 games. The award caps off a career that certainly tested the QB’s resolve. After starting for Holtz in 2013, Higgins was passed over for the starting gig the last two years and watched freshman J’Mar Smith nearly lead Tech to a season opening upset at Arkansas. Once he settled into the position, he lit up opposing defenses, throwing for over 300 yards six times and topping 500 yards twice.

One of Higgins’ two top targets, Wide Receiver Carlos Henderson, double-dipped at the Trophy Shop. The junior wide receiver was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year as well as Special Teams Player of the Year. The speedster accounted for 17 touchdowns with 1,406 yards receiving. As a kick returner, all Henderson did was average just over 30 yards per return with two touchdowns. For good measure, Henderson also rushed for a pair of touchdowns.

Tech takes on Navy in the Armed Forces Bowl on Friday, December 23rd in Fort Worth. For getting his team to a bowl game, Holtz will pocket an additional $25,000 bonus.

In a matinee affair inside the Thomas Assembly Center Wednesday, the Lady Techsters were clipped at the buzzer by Stephen F. Austin, 60-58.

The Ladyjacks trailed by as many as 17 points in the third quarter to the hostesses in Ruston before Taylor Ross capped the furious comeback with a one-handed runner off the glass at the buzzer to win it. The Techsters committed 23 turnovers, 15 in the second half.

LSU tops the charts for total compensation among college football staffs in the country for the fifth straight year according to USA Today. LSU assistants will receive a total of $5,781,500 in compensation this year.

Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda tops the crew with a $1,325,000 haul. Aranda received a new contract this week, bumping his 2017 salary to $1.85 Million and his pay the next year to $1.9 million, making him the highest paid assistant coach in college football. Former offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, dismissed with head coach Les Miles four games into the season, was paid $1,211,,000.

Clemson’s staff finished second in the money race followed by Alabama and Texas A&M.