SHREVEPORT – There are plenty of memories from Brad Laird’s childhood that revolve around Independence Stadium.
To be exact, a few of those – or perhaps more – technically fall outside the physical realm of the stadium that will host Northwestern State and Grambling in the Shreveport Classic on Sept. 10.
“There’s a lot of history for Northwestern State in this stadium with the State Fair Classic against Louisiana Tech for so many years,” Laird said Thursday following the kickoff news conference for next month’s game. “I had the opportunity to come as a little kid many times and spent a lot of time at the fair more so than the ballgame. Then I had the opportunity to play in this stadium, and now we bring our 2022 Northwestern State football team to play against a great Grambling State football team.
“It’s a win-win for both teams, and it’s a big win for the Shreveport-Bossier City area. With our recruiting, we ask our alumni, the student-athletes to travel 60 miles south on Saturdays to watch us play. For us to be able to bring that back to them and travel 60 miles north to their backyard, we’re looking forward to it.”
Laird was joined by NSU Director of Athletics Kevin Bostian and their Grambling counterparts Hue Jackson and Dr. Trayvean Scott ahead of the game, which will kick off at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at Independence Stadium.
“We are honored to play Grambling here in the Shreveport Classic,” Bostian said. “We want to thank Mayor Adrian Perkins and his staff for all the hard work they have done bringing this game to fruition. We know coach Laird and his staff are in game prep, and we are excited to be here and looking forward to playing Grambling here in a couple of weeks.”
When kickoff arrives in Independence Stadium, more than one set of memories will arrive for Laird.
In 2018, the former Demon record holder for career passing yards earned his first victory as head coach by defeating Grambling 34-7 at Turpin Stadium.
“You know what you get when you play a Grambling State football team,” Laird said. “You know both bands are going to be strong. You’re going to have alumni for both schools. It brings back a lot of memories, especially early in my head coaching career at Northwestern State. I’m thrilled we get that opportunity again, but in the Shreveport-Bossier area.”
Photo: Jason Pugh/NSU Athletics