Juvenile Killed in Natchitoches Parish UTV Crash

Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a fatal crash on Oct. 2 T 3:30 PM on Posey Road. This crash claimed the life of 16-year-old Robert Lewis Walker, II of Natchitoches.

The initial investigation revealed a 2009 Polaris Ranger Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), driven by a 14-year-old juvenile, was westbound on Posey Road. For reasons still under investigation, the juvenile lost control of the vehicle which caused it to overturn. This action ejected Lewis from the vehicle.

Lewis, who was not restrained or wearing a helmet, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The juvenile driver, who also was not restrained or wearing a helmet, sustained minor injuries.

Routine toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

In 2022, Troop E has investigated 40 fatal crashes resulting in 42 deaths.

The 2022 Natchitoches Classic Car Show – 16 Years of Family Fun!

The 2022 Natchitoches Classic Car Show, a fun local event in its 16th year, was held Saturday, October 1 in downtown Natchitoches. A steady stream of thousands of visitors enjoyed seeing a record 446 cars parked from the riverbank to Second St. The vehicles ranged from a 1923 Model T to a uniquely decorated art car. There was indeed something for every taste.

The visiting car owners started arriving Friday and enjoyed a Poker Run that took them throughout the parish. They then were treated to a fish fry, concert, and fireworks show in true Natchitoches style. The car show started Saturday morning and went on throughout the day. Visitors to the show were able to enjoy live music from several bands as they perused the vehicles on display. At the end of the show, the car owners gathered at the downtown riverbank for the presentation of prizes.

The Natchitoches Classic Car Show has grown over the past 16 years into one of the largest and most eagerly awaited events held in the city as well as a popular destination for antique car aficionados. The show is a solid day of family fun and nostalgia with no cost to attend. The show is also a wonderful showcase for our community. Events such as the annual Classic Car Show are part and parcel of what makes life in our community special.

The Natchitoches Classic Car Show is always in need of volunteers to help make the event a success. If you are interested in helping out for next year’s event, please contact Jill Leo at 318-652-7078.

NSU Hosts the N-Side View for Prospective Students-Start Your Future Here!

This Saturday, October 1, saw Northwestern State University hosting 450 high school students and their families who visited our university for a day of fun and learning about the many opportunities afforded by Northwestern. The visitors had a busy day attending presentations on financial aid, tours, and a browsing session in which the visiting students and their families met with representatives from the university’s academic departments and student organizations. Interested students also had an opportunity to audition for the Spirit of Northwestern Band and Theater department. In the words of Van Erikson, Director of Enrollment Management, one could leave N-Side View “…ready to arrive and be successful.”

Ruth Wisher, a 2011 NSU alumna, returned to her alma mater to speak to the prospective students and their families about how her experiences at NSU shaped the course of her life. From several marathons (she ran her first mile as a student on the NSU campus) to working for Governor Jindal, Attorney General Landry, Treasurer Schroder, and starting her own business, she has drawn on her education and experiences while at NSU. The N-Side View event closed with NSU treating the future Demons to an epic victory in the football game against Nicholls State University.

Northwestern State University offers a myriad of opportunities to build your future with over 60 programs and concentrations ranging from certificates to doctorates. Two NSU alumni, Gary Fields and Jim Mustien, have won Pulitzer Prizes, one of the premier awards in Journalism. Over the past several years, NSU pre-meds have achieved a notable 50-60% acceptance rate into medical school. A number of NSU College of Creative and Performing Arts alumni are performing in Broadway shows in New York City. The Louisiana Scholars’ College features a great books-based curriculum that offers a quality liberal arts education at a fraction of the price of a private college. The university’s athletes routinely boast an exceptional graduation rate. Northwestern State University has compiled a solid record of preparing its graduates for success in their chosen fields.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to congratulate the young men and women who visited our campus on their upcoming high school graduation. We are looking forward to seeing this new generation of students come to NSU and do great things with their lives!

Kevin Lee Joins Ivan Smith Team

Everyone will be thrilled to learn that Kevin Lee is joining the Ivan Smith team. In a transitional phase with his property management businesses, Kevin felt the opportunity to work at Ivan Smith came at the perfect time.

He received a text about the job opening as he was driving into town, and decided to apply. Kevin knows it’s impossible to make all the traffic lights from his house, and through town, without getting stopped by a few red ones. On this day, he passed every single intersection without stopping. Kevin says he took this as God giving him the green light on his newest business venture.

“Ivan Smith is still a family-owned store and that’s what I’ve always been involved in,” said Kevin. “I thank all my former customers for their support throughout the years and I’m happy to be working for a business that’s customer friendly and gives the same quality service I find is so important in our line of work.”

Kevin has been in the furniture industry since he was 12 years old, which means he’s racked up 45+ years of experience. His father, Douglas Lee, always told Kevin to work with integrity. The doors to his family’s furniture business closed in 2020 as they celebrated his mother’s 80th birthday.

“We are so excited to have Kevin join us at Ivan Smith Furniture Natchitoches,” said Store Manager Dane Terrell. “His experience and caring will serve our customers well. With Kevin on the team, we look forward to having the opportunity to expand our business.”

Kevin is excited to meet new customers but also loves seeing old customers come into Ivan Smith.

“I already know a lot of the staff and have worked with some of them in the past, so in essence, it’s been a homecoming,” said Kevin. “I’m excited to work for a quality company like Ivan Smith. Even when we were ‘competitors’ we always had respect for one another. They welcomed me into Ivan Smith back then, and they’re doing it again today.”

You can find Kevin at Ivan Smith Furniture, 936 Keyser Avenue in Natchitoches, or by phone at 318-352-5889, or by email at KEVIN.LEE@IVANSMITH.COM.

We Are Quitting Our Jobs in Droves…But Why?

By Joe Darby

Have you quit your job lately, my friend? If so, you have a whole lot of company. I recently saw a daily newspaper report that said labor statistics show that almost a half million Louisianians have walked off their jobs this year. An incredible 77,000 voluntarily left work in July alone, the last month for which complete data are available. If that July rate were kept up for a whole year, an astounding 924,000 people would have quit work in a 12-month period.

What is going on here, I asked myself. And to get some answers I reached out to a couple of experts who offered some interesting insights to the question. They are Dr. Mary Edith Stacy, dean of the College of Business and Technology at Northwestern State University, and Dorothy Jones, assistant professor of economics there, whose area of expertise includes unemployment.

Both quickly pointed out that the principal element in the mass job quittings was the Covid epidemic. “That changed everything,” Stacy said. March 12, 2020, was the day the world changed, she said. Schools were closing. Airlines were shutting down. Life as we had known it was different. Radically different.

“I don’t know if our pre-2020 life will ever come back as it was. It’s affected everything from religion to sex to politics,” the dean said. The radical changes had social, psychological and political as well as economic elements, she said. Many people, if they didn’t lose their jobs outright, had their hours cut drastically. Many began to work from home.

And most coped, “because they found out they could get by on less,” Jones said. People also enjoyed the flexibility of working at home but — and this is important, Jones said — many realized they were in dead-end jobs that they didn’t really enjoy. “Life is too short to spend doing something that is not fulfilling, so they decided to leave their jobs and take a new outlook on life.

“Some, many of them women, just decided to stay at home and take care of their children,” which incidentally saved money on child care,” Jones said. Others were looking to further their education or maybe even move out of state. So people are taking time to look for jobs that are more fulfilling and that offer better benefits, she said.

In the meantime, they have dropped out of the labor market. With so many leaving their jobs, conventional wisdom would indicate unemployment numbers would rise. But the rate is only 3.5 percent, normally a quite good number. However, one must remember, Jones said, that the unemployed are considered to be those without jobs but “who are actively seeking employment,” she said. And many of the dropouts are not doing that.

Like Jones, Stacy cited the benefits of economic flexibility that the Covid epidemic mandated for American society. The disease had many and varied effects on our social fabric. “There’s no one answer to the question of why people are quitting their jobs,” she said. But people found they enjoyed the new flexibility in their lives and the ability to have more control over them, she added.

And she also said some people found they perhaps didn’t need as much money to live as they previously thought. “People realized that they could put off buying those new shorts or that new pair of shoes. They saw that they could do without.”

The bottom line is, we are living in new times. I myself have seen signs of the new economic circumstances. Not too long ago I went to one of our popular restaurants here and service was very limited that night because so few of the young staff members had shown up for work. And it’s not just the entry-level jobs that are going. I’ve seen a number of ads locally, seeking trained nurses for various medical groups here.

Jones pointed out that even well-paying jobs like nursing have drawbacks because of the stress factors and that people are stepping back from some of those types of jobs also. I can vouch for that. My oldest daughter, Becky, is an award-winning RN who has been working for years in the New Orleans area, but her job, in oncology, is very stressful. So she is moving to the Houston area, where she will have a better situation plus a substantial pay raise.

Thus, it turns out that my own “little girl” is part of this vast new movement of people and jobs. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m retired and don’t have to worry about facing hard choices in the new economic realities of life in 2022 that we are all trying to deal with.

Spitzer’s late goal helps Northwestern State earn tie at McNeese

LAKE CHARLES—Taylor Spitzer’s goal in the 82nd minute helped the Northwestern State women’s soccer team salvage a 1-1 tie on the road against McNeese in Sunday afternoon’s Southland Conference game.

NSU (5-3-3 overall, 2-2-2 SLC) scored in the 82nd minute on a Spitzer goal on a cross from Gracie Armstrong. On the cross, Armstrong brought it near the end line on the edge of the box and crossed to Spitzer, who lifted a shot to the top right corner of the goal to tie the score after McNeese had scored six minutes prior.

“This is a tough one as we controlled the game from start to finish and switched off for one moment and it cost us,” NSU women’s soccer head coach Stuart Gore said. “But we battled back and scored a good goal thanks to great work from Gracie and Taylor finished under pressure.”

Spitzer’s third goal of the season ties Natalee Henry for the second-most on the team and was one of 15 shot attempts for the Lady Demons, as they out-shot their opponent once again 15-4.

Armstrong’s assist was her third on the season, which is second on the team to the four dished out by Jalen Donaldson.

The game was scoreless through the first 75 minutes before McNeese (4-5-2, 2-2-2) broke through on a goal by Matilde Tesgaard. The ball was headed and deflected in by Tesgaard. The assists were by Kiana Kukaua and Carrie Kotoucek.

NSU controlled much of the game, as evidenced by the shots advantage of 15-4, including 12-3 in shots on goal. There was only one shot in the first 15 minutes of action in a defensive-minded game. That attempt was an Olivia Draguicevich shot, which was saved by Briana O’Dell, one of her season-high 10 stops in the game.

The defense that held McNeese to just four shot attempts was led by Nicole Henry, who played in her 87th career match, which gave her the school record in that department, surpassing the 86 appeared in by Natalie Waguespack.

McNeese leading scorer Magalie Dépôt had the lone shot for the Cowgirls in the first half, which was stopped by NSU goalkeeper Chloe DeShazer, one of her two saves in the afternoon.

One or fewer goals have been surrendered by NSU in 10 of the 11 games on the season and the unit has allowed five or fewer shots by opponents in six of the past seven contests.

From the back line, Jayme Haynes led the game with four shots, three of which were on frame. Armstrong chipped in with three shots taken.

Four players recorded one shot apiece for the Cowgirls, who are now unbeaten in their last three games and now head on the road to play Lamar and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who are the top teams in the conference, along with Texas A&M-Commerce.

NSU concludes its short two-game stretch on the road with a trip to league-leading Lamar on Friday before heading home for two, beginning with a visit from Nicholls on Oct. 9.

PHOTO: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

Mattison tapped to lead SWEPCO following Smoak retirement

Southwestern Electric Power Co., an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, today announced Brett Mattison will succeed Malcolm Smoak as president and chief operating officer (COO) of Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), effective Jan. 1, 2023. Smoak will retire at that time after 38 years of service with AEP.

“Malcolm has dedicated his career to serving SWEPCO customers, and we appreciate the energy and effort that he has put into his work,” said Peggy Simmons, AEP executive vice president, Utilities. “His retirement is well deserved, and we wish him all the best when he begins that new chapter in January.”

Mattison, who will report to Simmons, will be responsible for all aspects of SWEPCO’s service, including customer service, distribution operations, safety, communications, external affairs and regulatory functions. Most recently, he served as president and COO of AEP’s Kentucky Power subsidiary. Mattison, however, has a long history with SWEPCO, beginning his career at the company in 1990.

“Brett will be a familiar face for SWEPCO employees and our stakeholders,” added Simmons. “He has cultivated relationships that will allow him to hit the ground running. His customer-centered approach has been a hallmark of his leadership. SWEPCO customers can expect that he will carry on that same commitment when he returns.”

Prior to his role at Kentucky Power, Mattison was the director of Customer Services and Marketing for SWEPCO from 2004 to 2019. His responsibilities included the management of SWEPCO’s largest customers, wholesale customers, as well as all aspects of meter reading and meter services, energy efficiency and process improvement. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business finance from Louisiana Tech University and a commercial banking degree from the American Institute of Banking.

During Smoak’s tenure, SWEPCO, along with sister company Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), completed construction of the 1,484-megawatt North Central Energy Facilities (NCEF), three wind farms that produce nearly 6 million megawatt-hours of clean energy each year. Power produced at NCEF provides benefits to SWEPCO customers in Arkansas and Louisiana in addition to PSO customers.

About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)

SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, serves more than 543,000 customers in Northwest and Central Louisiana, Northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle, and Western Arkansas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. 

Productive hometown hero De’Mard Llorens named Exchange Bank and Trust Demon Great of the Game

De’Mard Llorens is Natchitoches through and through.

A hometown standout at Natchitoches Central High School who walked on at Northwestern State, Llorens has been named the Exchange Bank and Trust Demon Great of the Game held Saturday between the Demons and Nicholls.

Llorens earned the 2013 Chris Waddell Award as the Demons’ top walk-on before becoming one of the most productive running backs in school history.

Llorens capped his career with 2,381 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns – both of which are top-10 career marks at Northwestern State. His yardage total is 10th while his 24 rushing scores are tied for fifth in school history.

His 11 touchdown rushes as a junior are tied for sixth in school single-season history while his 211 rushing yards in a 2016 game at Lamar stood as the 10th-best single-game total in school history until the spring 2021 season.

Appropriate for Saturday’s opponent, Llorens tied NSU’s single-game rushing touchdown record with four scores against Nicholls in 2015. Among those Llorens’ performance against the Colonels equaled is N-Club Hall of Famer and former AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year Joe Delaney.

Following his Demon career, Llorens earned an invitation to rookie minicamp with the Los Angeles Rams where he earned a spot on the preseason roster.

The Exchange Bank Demon Great of the Game program is in its second decade of honoring former Northwestern State student-athletes and staff members. Exchange Bank and Trust has been a key supporter of NSU Athletics throughout its long history as the oldest financial institution in Louisiana.

Unrestrained Denham Springs Man Killed in Natchitoches Parish Crash

Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a fatal crash on Oct. 1 at approximately 6 pm on I-49 south of Natchitoches. This crash claimed the life of 26-year-old Nicholas A. Bernard.

The initial investigation revealed a 2021 Dodge Ram 1500, driven by Bernard, was traveling north on I-49. For reasons still under investigation, Bernard’s vehicle traveled off the roadway, and entered the median, before striking a guardrail and thus overturning. This action ejected Bernard from the vehicle.

Bernard, who was unrestrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead. A passenger, who was restrained, sustained moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital. A toxicology sample was obtained and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

While not all crashes are survivable, proper use of seat belts can greatly decrease an occupant’s chance of death and may greatly reduce the extent of the injury. Always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and death.

In 2022, Troop E investigated 39 fatal crashes, resulting in 41 deaths.

Natchitoches Junior High JAG holds Initiation and Installation Ceremony

Natchitoches Junior High School JAG Career Association held its 7th Annual Initiation and Installation Ceremony on Sept. 16. The Initiation and Installation Ceremony is the official induction of the program’s leadership.

The program started at 9 a.m. at Natchitoches Junior High School. The Mistress of Ceremony was Ms. Chelsey Calhoun, welcome address was presented by She’Kinya Pipkin, a former NJH JAG member. The presentation of Colors by Natchitoches Central JROTC with The Pledge of Allegiance bestowed by JAG’s Vice President Michael Brown, the National Anthem was sung by Mazette Queen, a former NJH JAG member.

Mrs. Alexa Conday provided the principal’s remark. JAG officers & members were inducted by the Honorable Judge Desiree Dyess. The keynote address was presented by Senator W. Jay Luneau, Louisiana State Representative. Dr. Grant Eloi offered the Superintendent’s remarks. The lighting of the candles by JAG’s Presidents Jayna Curry & Wayne Crawford, the JAG Career Association Creed by Secretary Ky’lia Miller & Vice President Michael Brown. We closed the ceremony with remarks provided by Principal Bobby Benjamin.

Library Offering Costume Checkouts

The Natchitoches Parish Library’s (NPL) Halloween costume checkout has returned for its seventh year! There are a variety of costumes for all ages, from infants to adults, and, whether you’re going for cute or spooky, you can find something for yourself at your local library.

Costumes are on display racks in the children’s area on the first floor of the main branch in Natchitoches and may be brought to the children’s circulation desk for checkout. The Northeast Branch (NEB), in Campti, also has costumes available for checkout.

Costumes are available on a first-come basis, so patrons are encouraged to come early for the widest selection. Adult patrons will be able to check out up to two costumes per adult card. Costumes will be due 6 weeks from the checkout date. Costumes must be returned in an unsoiled and undamaged condition.

Costume checkouts, like all library services, are offered at no cost to Natchitoches Parish residents. If you do not have a library card, there is no charge to sign up for one at either location. All you need is your current photo ID showing your correct address to take advantage of your local library.


NCHS Orchestra Concert This Wednesday

The Natchitoches Central High School Orchestra will present its Fall concert on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 7:30pm in Magale Recital Hall on the campus of Northwestern State University.

The program features traditional works by Franz Joseph Haydn and Carold Nunez, as well as Halloween-themed pieces and popular selections from Disney’s Frozen.

Admission is free and open to the public. Come and support these talented, young musicians!

Save the Date for the Second Annual March for Life

The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church and St. Mary’s Catholic School will host the second annual Natchitoches March for Life on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. The keynote speaker for the event will be Abby Johnson, an outspoken pro-life advocate and author of the book, Unplanned. The Josh Blakesley Band will perform prior to the Rally and March. The day will begin at 10:00am on the riverbank stage in downtown Natchitoches. “We’re excited about the opportunity to celebrate the gift of life with our Natchitoches community and look forward to a joyful event,” said Fr. Irion St. Romain, Pastor of The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church and Chancellor of St. Mary’s Catholic School.

The national March for Life began in Washington, D.C. in January, 1974. Every year, tens of thousands of pro-life supporters, march in support of life. This has become the largest human rights demonstration in the world. The national March for Life “is an inspiring, peaceful, vibrant, and joy-filled rally of women, men, young people, and children from all across the country.” (See http://www.marchforlife.org). Together, they “gather to celebrate life, from the moment of conception, to the moment of natural death, and every moment in between.” (See http://www.marchforlife.org).

Local marches began to occur in cities throughout our nation to further expand this celebration of life into our communities. In Louisiana, rallies occur in major cities during the month of January. This is the second year for Natchitoches to host a Pro-Life Rally and March. More detailed information will be announced as plans develop. “The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia. The value of human life is being threatened by cloning embryonic stem cell research, and the use of the death penalty. The intentional targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong. Catholic teaching also calls on us to work to avoid war. Nations must protect the right to life by finding increasingly effective ways to prevent conflicts and resolve them by peaceful means. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.” Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Washington, D.C.

Please contact Jessica Spear (St. Mary’s Religion Teacher, jspear@smstigers.org) or Lisa Guillet (Director of Development, fundraiser@smstigers.org) for more information.

Breast Cancer Awareness Walk Held at City Park

Natchitoches’ Krewe of Excellence, in conjunction with the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, held a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk in Natchitoches’ City Park, Saturday, October 1. About 50 attendees gathered to hear from survivors and to learn of prevention and treatment options available locally through NRMC. Volunteers were wearing distinctive pink “Fork Cancer” t-shirts which were featured at the NSU football game that afternoon, named the NSU “Fork Cancer” game.

Natchitoches’ Mayor Ronnie Williams and his wife, Tiffany, were joined by the Krewe of Excellence Queen LaShanda Berryman and the King and Queen of the Krewe of Dionysus Randy Williams and Soni Sers in leading the walkers around the track at City Park.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Walk was a fitting way to begin the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Notice of Death – October 2, 2022

Dr. Archie F. Breazeale, MD
March 26, 2020
Service: Saturday, October 15 at 11 am at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church

Sis. Virgie Johnson-Turner-Burton
Service: October 8 at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, located at 108 church St. in Natchez

Melba Louise Durr
January 21, 1938 – September 29, 2022
Service: Monday, October 3 at 1 pm at Social Springs Cemetery

Natchitoches Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or npjnatla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above are FREE of charge. You may email them to npjnatla@gmail.com)

Wild fourth-quarter rally lifts Demons to 2-0 Southland start

NSU – #6 Scooter Adams

NSU 36
Nicholls 33

Javon Antonio wasn’t sure he was living the moment or if he was in a dream Saturday evening.

With his Northwestern State football team down 12 to Nicholls with 3:17 to play, Antonio and the Demon offense shook off a sluggish second half with aplomb.

Antonio hauled in a pair of touchdowns – the last with 9 seconds to play – and a 2-point conversion in the final 217 seconds, lifting Northwestern State to a wild 36-33 Southland Conference victory against Nicholls at Turpin Stadium.

“After I caught that touchdown, I thought of Jazz Ferguson and the McNeese game (in 2018),” Antonio said. “I was like, ‘Wow, I’m really living this moment right now.’ That was really exciting. I looked at the crowd and the coaches. When I looked at (head) coach (Brad) Laird, that’s what really turned me up.”

Antonio’s grab on a 3-yard dart from quarterback Zachary Clement and the ensuing 2-point grab helped the Demons (2-3, 2—0) win their second straight game and produce the first 2-0 start in Southland Conference play since 2005.

Antonio’s first touchdown catch – a 27-yarder – pulled the Demons within five with 1:34 to play, leading to Northwestern State’s first onside kick attempt of the season.

Fittingly, it was another Demon receiver who came away with the ball as Zach Patterson tipped the ball to himself and gave Northwestern State one final hurrah.

“We had moved the ball the drive before and we came out with the onside, I knew we had to make a play and win the game,” Patterson said. “We really push each other every day to see who can make the best plays. Whoever gets their hands on the ball, we have to make a play, each and every one of us.”

The list of Demons who made those plays Saturday was a lengthy one, especially in the final two drives of the game where Northwestern State ran 19 plays for 120 yards and tallied 15 points.

In addition to Antonio and Patterson, Ke’Nard King put his name in the ring for the biggest catch of the night.

On the Demons’ final drive, King was unable to snare a catch on a second-and-10 pass. Two plays later, he made up for it, working his way back to make a sliding grab of a pass Clement found a way to get rid of while under duress.

King’s 19-yard grab extended the drive and kept the Demons’ chances to stop a six-game slide to Nicholls (0-5, 0-1) alive.

“I have faith in all of our receivers,” said Clement, who finished 25-for-50 for 327 yards and his third career three-touchdown pass game. “It’s a special receiver room. I know if I put it out there, we have a really good chance. They picked me up and made me look good.”

Things looked bleak for the Demons when Julien Gums broke a 33-yard touchdown run with 3:17 to play. However, Nicholls’ failure on the 2-point conversion left enough room for Clement and the Demons to take advantage.

“To be on the sideline and watch these young men stay the course and kept fighting, kept believing and kept playing, 100 percent credit to their resiliency,” fifth-year head coach Brad Laird said. “We found a way. We had enough time there at the end to be able to not only get the touchdown but then convert the 2-point play and get (defensive coordinator Weston) Glaser’s jumper team out there with Travon (Jones) and Javon.

“It was great for our guys to do something that hasn’t been done since 2005.”

Despite the offense’s heroics, Nicholls had one last-gasp chance to spoil the back side of Northwestern State’s two-game homestand.

Two 15-yard penalties against Northwestern State following the 2-point conversion pushed the kickoff back to the Demon 10-yard line, giving Nicholls good field position.

Kohen Granier found Al’Dontre Davis for 19 yards to reach the Northwestern State 42 before an illegal substitution penalty nullified the potential game-ending stop.

With Glaser’s jumper team – designed to negate Hail Mary plays – on the field, Jones outjumped several players in the end zone to come down with his first interception since playing peewee football in Atlanta.

Antonio, who finished with 132 yards on nine catches to produce his fifth 100-yard receiving performance in 10 career games at Northwestern State, was happy to let his fellow jumper seal the victory.

“I was too happy,” Antonio said. “I was too tired. I said, ‘He’s 6-6. I’m 6-4. He’s gotta get it.’ I told him the play before, ‘It’s coming to you.’ He looked at me and said, ‘I got you Von.’”

The Demons return to action Oct. 8 when they begin a two-game road trip with a visit to Eastern Illinois. Kickoff for that game is set for 2 p.m.

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

NSU recognizes colonel Frank Hall as honorary captain

By Sid Hall, Military Affairs Coordinator / ROTC Program Manager

In continuing its tradition of honoring those who serve in the nation’s Armed Forces, Northwestern State University named Colonel Frank Hall, U.S. Army Retired, the honorary captain during the Oct. 1 football game.

Colonel Hall received his commission from Western Carolina University in 1985. After 28 years of military service, he retired in December 2013. He now serves as the director of Institutional Effectiveness and associate professor for the graduate program in Homeland Security and the undergraduate program in Criminal Justice for Northwestern State.

A military intelligence officer, he served on all levels of command from Platoon Leader to Company, Battalion and Brigade Commander. His final military assignments were Deputy Director, Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Fort Huachuca, Arizona; CJ2, NATO Training Mission / Combined Security and Transition Command – Afghanistan; J2 for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Defeat Organization, Arlington, Virginia; and Senior Intelligence Advisor to the Iraqi Joint Headquarters and Armed Services, Iraq.

Colonel Hall served 42 months in combat. Select operations and deployments include Panama 1989; Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: Saudi Arabia 1991; Operation Joint Forge: Bosnia, Hungary 1999; Operation Allied Force: Albania, Italy, Kosovo 1999, 2003; Operation Iraqi Freedom: Task Force Danger, Tikrit, Iraq, 2004-2005; Operation Iraqi Freedom: MNSTC-I, Baghdad, Iraq, 2007-2008; and Operation Enduring Freedom: NTM-A/CSTC-A, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2011-2012. His badges and tabs include the Recruiter and Army Staff Badges, Senior Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, and Combat Action Badge.

He hails from Fayetteville, North Carolina, and holds a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, a Master of Science in Management from Saint Mary College, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Western Carolina University.

Colonel Hall was escorted by Dr. Marcus Jones, President of Northwestern State University.

Young’s return not enough as Airline dominates NCHS

LOOKING FOR SPACE: Running back Jeremiah Miles looks for space to run, but the back didn’t find much Friday at Airline in a 46-0 loss.

BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports

BOSSIER CITY – In the only District 1-5A matchup of unbeatens this week, Natchitoches Central hung a zero in the wrong column Friday as Airline blanked the Chiefs 46-0.

By the time the Chiefs (2-3, 1-1) had gained their first offensive first down (two were by penalty), the Vikings were already up 26-0 in the first quarter, including returning a fumble for a score to start the scoring.

With an early first-place district standing on the line, it was Airline (2-3, 2-0) who repeated its dominant performance from last week after scoring a school-record 75 points against Benton.

“We didn’t play well from the start,” said NCHS coach James Wilkerson. “Sometimes the results and the way a team plays is a mystery, and that happened tonight. It’s not the same team that played (Southwood) last Friday and the one who practiced this week.”

Airline could say the same thing for those who paid attention to the early-season Vikings, who lost its first three games (albeit two by one score) to tough competition before their breakout against Benton that evidently carried over into the NCHS matchup.

“Airline got the ball to their playmakers, including hitting us on some screens,” Wilkerson said. “We didn’t tackle or cover.”

Airline receiver Daxton Chavez scored three touchdowns on three catches totaling 111 yards. Quarterback Ben Taylor used the big play effectively as he threw for 245 yards on 11-22 passing with four touchdowns.

On a night where not much good could be found for NCHS, the Chiefs did see one promising bright spot. Quarterback BJ Young made his return to the field after a shoulder injury sidelined him since the jamboree.

Young and sophomores Adam Guillet and Lannon Collum saw the field, with Young throwing for seven yards on 2-7 passing to lead the group against a stifling Airline defense.

Young added 19 rushing yards, including a 13-yard scamper to prove his legs haven’t withered on the sideline.

Running back Jeremiah Miles gained a tough 45 yards on 16 carries as the Chiefs grinded out 108 rushing yards on less than three yards per tote.

It’s the first time NCHS has been shut out since the 2020 regular season finale against Benton.

But Young’s return puts the Chiefs back on the path to a more dynamic offense as the Chiefs host a Benton group that whipped previous district favorite Byrd 63-28 on Friday.

PHOTO: Kevin Shanahan/NPJ Sports

Pikes, Lakeview second-half defense extends winning streak to four

THE SWARM: Lakeview’s defense straightened themselves out in the second half Friday, not allowing an offensive touchdown in the second half to push past Delta Charter in a 36-30 win.

BY MATT VINES, Journal Sports

FERRIDAY – Lakeview’s Dillon Pikes is already one of the top offensive weapons in northwest Louisiana, but the versatile threat added a new position to his resume Friday – quarterback.

Pikes jumpstarted the Gators attack as Lakeview scored two touchdowns to break a second-half tie and held off Delta Charter in a 36-30 win.

“We were struggling a little bit (in dealing with the injury to usual starter CJ Jones), so we moved Dillon to quarterback,” said Lakeview coach Brandon Helms. “In 27 years of coaching, he is the most versatile player I’ve ever coached.

“He had two rushing touchdowns, a kickoff return for a touchdown and picked off two passes and forced a fumble on defense.”

Pikes is typically the team’s top receiver while also being a running threat as he lines up all over the field. He piloted the offense against Class 1A Delta Charter (2-2) to its third effort of at least 30 points this season.

He led the Gators (4-1) to their fourth straight win, the program’s longest streak in more than a decade. Lakeview’s four wins in the first five games this season surpasses the program’s total for the past two seasons combined (three) as the Gators certainly have the Class 2A playoffs on their minds.

But first comes a tough District 3-2A slate, which starts with a home date with resurgent Winnfield this coming week. Winnfield also improved to 4-1 with a 23-14 win against Bunkie this week.

“Our record (4-1) is nice, but we have to have a lot corrected to beat a very good Winnfield team,” Helms said. “I love the grit and buy-in of this team right now though.

“We were out of sync defensively in the first half, but we got it corrected. Our rush defense wasn’t bad, but we didn’t put enough pressure on their quarterback.”

At Delta Charter, Lakeview took control after a track meet first half (tied 22-22) by not allowing an offensive touchdown in the second half.

Leading 36-22, Lakeview surrendered a blocked punt for a touchdown that gave Delta Charter life late down 36-30.

But the Gators defense didn’t allow Delta Charter to mount another serious drive.

PHOTO: Kevin Shanahan/NPJ Sports

The Rapides Foundation receives $14 million gift

Alexandria – The Rapides Foundation has received a one-time, unrestricted gift in the amount of $14 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Foundation President and CEO Joe Rosier said the gift will allow The Rapides Foundation to deepen its mission to improve the health status of Central Louisiana.

“We are extremely grateful that MacKenzie Scott believed enough in the mission and grantmaking strategies of The Rapides Foundation that she would make this significant gift,” Rosier said. “In the same way that we have approached development of our grantmaking strategies in the past, we will be intentional and deliberate about the best way to use this funding so that it translates into improvement in health status for Central Louisiana residents.”

The Rapides Foundation works in three strategic areas to improve the health status of Central Louisiana – Healthy People, Education and Healthy Communities. Since its creation in September 1994, the Foundation has awarded approximately $240 million in grants to address the social and behavioral determinants of health affecting the region’s residents.

“Our work focuses on root issues impacting health status – access to healthcare, healthy behaviors, education and income,” Rosier said. “The disparities and gaps in each of those require that our work involve those affected by a history and culture of poverty, illiteracy and low-wage employment. The health status of the region can only be measurably and significantly improved by eliminating those disparities and gaps.”

Through its Healthy People priority area, the Foundation seeks to improve access to healthcare and to promote healthy behaviors. The Foundation’s Education priority area works to increase the level of educational attainment and achievement as the primary path to improved economic, social and health status. And through the Healthy Communities priority area, the Foundation works to improve economic opportunity and family income, and also to enhance civic and community opportunities for more effective leaders and organizations.

“This gift to support the work of The Rapides Foundation affirms that the strategic priorities implemented in support of our mission are viewed by others as worthy of additional investment. We appreciate that validation and will use these funds to strengthen our work on the core generational issues facing our region, while always improving our approach,” Rosier said.