The Many Tigers continued their roll through the Class 2A state football playoffs Friday night, blowing open a close game in the final seven minutes to post a convincing 51-22 road win over the East Feliciana Tigers.
The defending state champion and No. 1-seeded Tigers (11-1) have put up 100 combined points in their first two playoff games.
Starting with Jayvion Smart’s pick-six score with 6:47 remaining Friday night, Many scored 22 points in just under three minutes to turn a seven-point lead into a blowout victory.
It advanced the Tigers into the state quarterfinals and a home game next Friday night, the day after Thanksgiving, against nearby Rosepine. Kickoff will be 7 p.m. at John W. Curtis Stadium.
In Clinton, just outside of Baton Rouge, Many never trailed Friday night, but the outcome was not settled until the scoring flurry in the closing minutes. The Tigers had the upper hand but East Feliciana contained the damage until the middle of the final period.
Many started the game with an 11-play drive of 70 yards that took 5:56 off the clock. London Williams scored from 7 yards out and Deacon Lafollette added the extra point kick for an early 7-0 Tiger lead.
It didn’t take long for East Feliciana to respond. The home team needed just one play from 55 yards on a pass from Dawson Mills to Stanley Gilmore and tied it 7-7 with the kick. The touchdown was scored over Jayvion Smart in the secondary but he got more than his share of revenge.
Many responded with another time-consuming drive of 55 yards, this time on 10 plays. Jeremiah James capped the drive with a 3-yard plunge but Lafollette missed the kick, leaving the vistors ahead 13-7.
In the second quarter with East Feliciana in scoring range, Many standout Tylen Singleton picked off a Mills pass and returned it to his own 23-yard line. Many drove 77 yards in 5 plays with Williams scoring from 24 yards out. He also added the conversion, bringing the score to 21-7.
East Feliciana answered on the first play after the Tiger kickoff, scoring from 53 yards away on an option run by Mills when Many lost containment on the outside. The extra point drew EF within 21-14.
East Feliciana had one more chance to score before halftime, but a Smart interception ended that chance in the waning seconds.
Taking advantage of a short punt, Many scored on its first play of the third quarter, a 42-yard London Williams run around the right side. James added the conversion for a 29-14 Tiger lead.
Despite having a 59-yard touchdown run called back by a penalty, East Feliciana responded. The home team ran a fake punt to keep the drive going and scored on a 2-yard run, adding a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 29-22 with more than seven minutes left in the third quarter.
It didn’t change for a while, as more than 12 scoreless minutes grinded off the clock. Both teams took turns on the next four possessions stopping each other.
The final stymie in that series was the biggest play of the night. Smart picked off a Mills pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown, running through multiple tackles along the way. Williams added the conversion to make it 37-22 with 6:47 left to play.
East Feliciana refused to fold, moving down inside Tiger territory. Smart made another massive play when he picked off his third interception of the night on the Many 10-yard line and returned it 75 yards down to the EFHS 15-yard line.
Following a Tiger penalty, James scored on a 21-yard run. A James conversion run was stopped short but Many finally had breathing room, up 43-22 at the 4:28 mark.
East Feliciana fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Many applied the dagger quickly. James scored on a 22-yard run and with the Williams conversion, the score read 51-22 with 3:55 left.
East Feliciana turned the ball over on downs and the Tigers ran out the clock to seal the triumph. With his three interceptions, Smart was named the recipient of the Foy’s Game Ball immediately afterwards.
Many totaled 358 offensive yards to 210 for East Feliciana. The Tigers accumulated 19 first downs to 10 for EF. EF turned the ball over five times, including four interceptions.
Three was a magic number for Many. James and Williams each accounted for three touchdowns, and Smart had a trio of interceptions.
Next Friday’s contest in Many will be Rosepine’s inaugural quarterfinal appearance. The Vernon Parish school was a 43-42 double overtime winner over Red River Friday night. The Eagles are led by quarterback Ethan Frey, an LSU baseball commit who scored five touchdowns and the decisive two-point conversion against Red River.
6:04 M – London Williams 7-yard run, Deacon Lafollette kick, 7-0 Many
5:55 EF – 55-yard Mills pass to Gilmore, kick good, 7-7
11:20 M – Jeremiah James 3-yard run, Lafollette kick no good, 13-7 Many
2:43 M – Williams 24-yard run, Williams conversion, 21-7
1:50 EF – Mills 53-yard run, kick good, 21-14
10:54 M – Williams 42-yard run, James conversion, 29-14
7:03 EF – 2-yard run, conversion good, 29-22
6:47 M – Jayvion Smart 32-yard interception return, Williams conversion, 37-22
4:28 M – James 21-yard run, conversion no good, 43-22
3:55 M – James 22-yard run, Williams conversion, 51-22
Passing – M – Curtis 2-3, 28 yards
EF – 6-24, 141 yards, 1 TD, 4 interceptions
Rushing – M – Williams 24-167, 3 TD’s; James 21-161, 3 TD’s, Curtis 2-2
EF – 18-69, 2 TD’s
Receiving – M – M. Leach 1-21, Singleton 1-7
EF – 6-141, 1 TD
Tackles – M – Trent Williams 7, Curtis 5, K. Montgomery 4, G. Culverson 4
The Louisiana State Police is assisting the Office of Juvenile Justice in locating three juveniles who escaped from the Bridge City Center for Youth located at 3225 River Road in Bridge City, Louisiana, 70094 on November 21, 2021, between approximately 0200 – 0300 hours.
Damarion Simmons was currently incarcerated for numerous theft and sexual battery charges. Errol Gillet has numerous theft of motor vehicle and armed robbery charges. All three subjects are believed to be traveling on foot.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of these subjects can contact Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111 or crimestoppersgno.org; Louisiana State Police at 504-471-2775 or your local law enforcement agency.
Coach Willie Paz sponsored a Free Tennis Play Day for children ages 6-12 at the Natchitoches Tennis Center on Nov. 18. Assisting Coach Paz were the NSU Lady Demons Tennis Team and NSU Graduate Assistant Coach Marcos Morelli. Pictured from left are Morelli, Mariella Minetti, Tiasa Klevisar, Avu Ishibashi, Gig Kanaphuet, Patrycja Polanska, Viktorie Wojcikova, Rozi Dohnalova, & Paz.
The children were introduced to tennis through fun tennis drills. Pictured below are the children in the front row and the NSU Lady Demon Tennis team in the back row
Brad Laird’s appointment as head football coach at Northwestern State will be extended through the 2022 season according to an announcement Monday by NSU president Dr. Marcus Jones.
Laird has compiled a 12-28 record in guiding the Northwestern football program since 2018. The Demons were 3-8 overall and 3-5 in the Southland Conference this year while playing three league opponents twice in home and away contests.
NSU won two of its last three games, including a victory last weekend over archrival McNeese in Lake Charles for the first time in 33 years.
Jones said, “Most college football coaches are given at least four years to establish their own programs. Brad has been the head coach for four seasons, but this has certainly not been a normal four-year period because of the chaos of COVID and other factors.”
Northwestern and many other teams across the nation did not compete in the Fall of 2020 because of the pandemic. The Demons played an abbreviated, six-game schedule in the Spring of 2021 and returned to competition after a shorter break than usual for the Fall 2021 season.
In addition to COVID distractions, recruiting disruptions, and abnormal practice routines and game schedules for football, the university is also going through a transition in the athletic director position.
Long-time athletic director Greg Burke will be reassigned to a different position at the university at his request, and a national search is underway for his successor.
“The change in athletic administration makes it even more practical to extend Coach Laird’s appointment,” Jones said. “The new athletic director should have an opportunity to evaluate football and other sports and make decisions on coaches and other personnel going forward.”
Jones said Laird requested and has received approval to make significant changes on his coaching staff.
Laird, a record-setting quarterback at Northwestern from 1991 through 1995, still holds the Demons’ all-time career passing record with 6,037 yards.
He served as defensive coordinator at Northwestern three times for a total of eight years and was also associate head coach for three of those seasons before becoming head coach in 2018.
Laird was inducted in 2015 into Northwestern’s N-Club Hall of Fame, the highest athletic honor at the university.
The 2021 Christmas season began in grand style at the “Turn on the Holidays” event Saturday, November 20 at downtown Natchitoches. The downtown riverbank the place to be as thousands of visitors enjoyed two free concerts. Visitors also enjoyed shopping and dining along the iconic bricks of Front Street. The NCHS Volleyball team and supporters manned the ticket booths.
The Paul and Pete Band kicked off the evening’s live entertainment with an eclectic variety of music in an energetic 3 hour concert. Veteran entertainer Amanda Shaw, no stranger to Natchitoches, came up next and kept the crowd on their feet with her incomparable singing and fiddle playing. After Amanda’s last set, Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams honored a special resident with ties to both Natchitoches and the Christmas Festival. Sadie Maggio Dark was brought on stage and presented a certificate of appreciation. Ms. Dark, aunt of former NSU President Chris Maggio, recently celebrated her 100th birthday and is related to the people who constructed the first Santa House. Ms. Dark is one of the few people who can say they have been around the Natchitoches Christmas Festival since its inception.
The evening culminated with Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles flipping the switch as the audience counted down to zero lighting up Cane River with a myriad of lights. The turning on of the lights was followed by one of Natchitoches’ signature fireworks shows. They were joined on the Riverbank Stage by several visiting queens. Current NSU dance major and 2018 Miss Merry Christmas, Kerrie Spillman, was also on hand. The fireworks have been an integral part of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival for 85 of the show’s 95 years and are a perennial crowd favorite.
The Natchitoches Christmas Festival is in its 95th year of delivering holiday fun and building family memories. It has grown over the years from a local event into an internationally recognized festival. The Natchitoches Christmas Festival won the 2018 Southeastern Tourism Society’s “Shining Example Award” as a top twenty festival of the year. The Natchitoches Christmas Festival is the oldest, and in the Natchitoches Parish Journal’s opinion, far and away the finest, component of the multi-city “Trail of Lights”.
With thousands of lights, fireworks, concerts and the festival day’s events, there is nothing quite like the Christmas season in Natchitoches!
Northwestern State University’s Department of Engineering Technology will host its Fall Robotics Competition and Smart Structures Show (RC&S3) Dec. 1. All middle schools within a 200-mile radius of Natchitoches city are welcome to participate in the competition. The event will include educational experiences and social activities for the prospective future college students.
There is no registration fee for the competition or show, but those interested in participating in the competition must submit a letter of intent and a press/photo release form (for each team member) no later than November 25.
The competition will be from 8 a.m.-noon in the Student Union Ballroom, followed by an awards program.
A Sabine Parish jury has found a Pleasant Hill man not guilty after a week long murder trial. Keith Holmes was found not guilty for the shooting death of Anthony Youngblood. The incident occurred on May 22, 2020 in Pleasant Hill. The shooting happened after a fight broke out amongst a group of people at a local gathering. During the fight, the evidence showed that the decedent had a breaker bar weapon in his hands when he was shot by Holmes. Counsel for the defense, Dhu Thompson, successfully argued the shooting was a justifiable homicide done in self defense and cited the Louisiana stand your ground statutes in his closing arguments to the jury. Thompson afterward stated the incident was extremely unfortunate but his client was faced with imminent danger and the shooting was necessary to save his life. He further commented that the stand your ground statutes protect law abiding citizens from dangerous situations like his client faced.
Dhu Thompson Law Offices of J. Dhu Thompson, APLC.
The No. 1-ranked and defending Class 2A state champion Many Tigers football team will head to Clinton, just north of Baton Rouge, today to face an explosive, 17th-seeded East Feliciana High School team tonight at 7 in the second round of the LHSAA playoffs.
Many (10-1) comes into the game having won 10 in a row after the first-round 49-0 victory over Independence. East Feliciana enters the contest with a 5-5 record, including a 55-35 win at Pine in the first round.
East Feliciana will be led by quarterback Mills Dawson, running backs Tom Hayes and Stanley Gilmore, and 6-7 wide receiver Trey’dez Green. Green has offers from LSU in both football and basketball despite being only a sophomore.
The East Feliciana offense has been able to move the ball on most teams and put up some points. The defense has given up a lot of points and the Tigers from Many will look to exploit that.
“East Feliciana can move the ball,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “Their offense is pretty good but we’re looking forward to it. It’s playoff time. It’s our time of the year.”
The Tiger defense stood out last Friday against Independence, allowing only 40 total yards in the shutout. After a solid week of practice and preparing, Many hopes to do the same this week against a much more capable offense. Tylen Singleton draws the assignment of stopping Green in what should be a matchup to watch.
Many figures to put up plenty of points on a suspect East Feliciana defense. London Williams and Jeremiah James should have big nights running behind the big Tiger offensive line. The question will be whether East Feliciana can match those points.
The Independence game award winners for Many were led by Garet Culverson earning the Foy’s Game Ball. London Williams won the Hard Hat Award while Demario Glover was the Tigers’ Sledge Hammer Award winner after the first-round playoff victory.
Clinton will surely be flooded with Tiger fans who live for the playoffs. The East Feliciana stadium is located at the middle school on 10410 Plank Road.
The game broadcast on 99.9 KTEZ FM with Randy Bostian and Brad Ford begins with pregame coverage at 6:25 tonight.
With a Tiger victory, Many will host a state quarterfinal round game against the winner of the Red River at Rosepine contest.
Representative Rodney Schamerhorn will host an Education Town Hall to be held at the Many High School Cafeteria on Monday, November 22nd at 6:00 pm.
Main topic of discussion will be the on-going project by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Department of Education to create Social Studies Content Standards for K-12 schools in Louisiana. Representative Schamerhorn’s guest, Representative Charles Owen, member of the House of Representatives Education Committee, will be presenting to the public, information on the standards creation process and explain to citizens how they can have their voices heard in this process. Please contact the office of Representative Schamerhorn at 318-565-4959 for more information….
This is a very important meeting and all citizens are encouraged to attend; the outcome of the project will affect all students in Louisiana and ultimately all Louisianans. All concerned citizens are encourage to attend.
SHREVEPORT, La. – Acting United StatesAttorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that Dillon James Merritt, 54, of Many, Louisianawas sentenced today by United States District Judge Donald E. Walter to life imprisonment, plus 600 months in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, on kidnapping, interstate domestic violence, and firearms charges. This sentence is the result of two separate cases in which Merritt was charged and convicted.
In the first case, Merritt was charged in December 2019 with two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Law enforcement officers with the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office, learned that Merritt, who had several felony convictions, had firearms in his possession. On January 12, 2018, law enforcement officers arrested Merritt on a warrant based on his illegal possession of a firearm. Merritt went to trial in April 2021 and was convicted by a federal jury on both of those counts.
In the second case, Merritt was charged in September 2020 with one count of kidnapping, two counts of interstate domestic violence, and one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was convicted by a federal jury after a three-day trial in July of this year on all four counts. Evidence at the jury trial revealed that on December 12, 2017, Merritt kidnapped a woman in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and took her across state lines to Texas and held her against her will for four days. Merritt and the woman (victim) briefly dated in the fall of 2017, but after Merritt punched the victim in the stomach following an argument, she severed the relationship with Merritt. Following the breakup, he continually called the victim and harassed her.
During the evening hours of December 12, 2017, Merritt found the victim walking back home from visiting with a friend near the Walmart parking lot in Natchitoches and struck her in the head and put her in a truck and left. The victim was bound and gagged and hidden under clothing in the vehicle and for the next several days, was taken by Merritt to various locations in Louisiana and remote locations in Texas near Toledo Bend. Merritt repeatedly raped the victim, doused her with lighter fluid and tried to set her on fire, and severely beat her with his fists, elbows, feet and with a Maglite flashlight over this four-day period causing serious bodily injury to the victim. In addition to the brutal beatings, aggravated sexual assault, and sexual abuse on the victim committed by Merritt, he possessed with the intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine.
Additional evidence was introduced at today’s sentencing hearing of Merritt’s past victims who have suffered at his hand, including three young children and four other women besides the victim in this kidnapping case. Those crimes are as follows:
In 1999, Merritt was convicted of simple battery after beating his then nine-year-old son with a coat hanger.
In 2000, Merritt was again convicted of simple battery after beating his former girlfriend.
In 2001, Merritt tortured his then two-year-old stepdaughter by spraying hair spray in her eyes, twisting her leg and breaking her tibia, twisting her arm and dislocating her shoulder, and then refused to seek medical treatment for her. In September 2002, Merritt was convicted by a jury of cruelty to a juvenile for these crimes.
In February 2005, Merritt was again convicted of cruelty to a juvenile as the result of an incident in June 2002, while Merritt was on pretrial release for the first cruelty to a juvenile charge, when he struck the head of a four-year-old boy and strangled him. He broke the front door to and attempted to enter the boy’s residence after his parents retreated inside, apparently hiding from Merritt and they called the police. Merritt was released on parole for the abuse of these two children in 2008.
In less than a year after being released from the 2005 conviction, in June 2009, Merritt severely beat his new girlfriend by strangling, kicking, punching and beating her with a belt. The victim girlfriend sustained a collapsed lung, bruising to her thighs, arms, shin and posterior flank, as well as a hemorrhage with bruising around her eyes. Merritt was convicted of second-degree battery and sent back to prison, but released again in August 2012.
In June 2013, Merritt savagely beat his new girlfriend, A.M., making her the sixth known victim who had suffered at the hands of Merritt. Testimony at today’s hearing from the victim’s sister showed that Merritt repeatedly beat, strangled, and raped the victim and eventually dumped her nearly lifeless body onto the front steps of his neighbor’s trailer. The neighbor called an ambulance, and they transported the victim to the hospital where she was resuscitated multiple times and she remained in intensive care for several weeks. She suffered from fractured ribs, bruising and swelling all over her face and body, and a head injury. The head injury brought on a series of strokes that caused permanent brain damage. Although this victim survived the brutal attacks by Merritt, she is in an assisted living facility because of the injuries he caused. The sister of the victim testified that her sister’s mental capacity and personality have never been the same since Merritt savagely beat her. Merritt was never prosecuted for this horrific crime by the Texas authorities.
In August 2016, Merritt found a new girlfriend and she became his next victim. As was his practice, Merritt held the girlfriend captive over the course of several days while beating her body and face and strangled her until she almost passed out. The victim was able to escape and ran to a neighbor’s house for help. The responding police officer noted that the victim had bruises on her body, a very red eye, and complained of broken ribs. Merritt was convicted of domestic abuse battery and sentenced to a short stay in jail. Within a year and a half, in 2017, Merritt committed the instant offense, abducting and torturing his eighth and last victim.
“The severe brutality and sexual abuse which this defendant has inflicted upon others has finally ended and the life sentence he received ensures that he will never be a threat to society again,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook. “He preyed upon helpless children and women who were vulnerable and unknowing, and scarred each of them for the rest of their lives. We hope that this sentence can bring some form of healing to the eight victims – three children and five women – who suffered at the hands of such an evil and despicable person.”
The FBI, Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Sabine County Sheriff’s Office in Hemphill, Texas conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cadesby B. Cooper prosecuted both cases.
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team and Patrol Deputies arrested Jaci Reshay Craig (age-21) of Florien and John Michael Murphy (age-35) of Many last night.
The vehicle Craig was driving was stopped for a traffic violation on LA Highway 6 east of Many; Murphy was a passenger in the vehicle.
Upon further investigation, T.N.T. Agents and Deputies located approximately 5 ounces of suspected methamphetamine inside Murphy’s pants.
Craig was arrested and booked into the Sabine Parish Women’s Jail for Principal to Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Meth), Following to close, Operating vehicle while license is suspended.
Murphy was arrested and booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Meth).
No bonds have been set at this time by the 11th Judicial District Court.
Approximately 80 law enforcement officers and criminal justice personnel from numerous agencies and jurisdictions across the State attended the 2-day training class held at the Cypress Bend Conference Center on Toledo Bend Lake this week.
Deputy Chief Tracy Harpster (retired) was the instructor for the training class. Harpster has been a law enforcement officer in Ohio since 1984 and received his Master’s Degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2006. Harpster began the research of analyzing the 911 calls in homicide cases. Harpster’s research has been used to investigate well over 2200 homicides.
Sheriff Aaron Mitchell and Chief Deputy Brad Walker greatly thank Deputy Chief Harpster for traveling to Sabine Parish to teach the class. Chief Deputy Walker noted that analyzing the 911 call is an essential tool when investigating homicides. Harpster is very knowledgeable and kept the class engaged during the training. We expect Harpster to come back in the future and teach the class again.
Following a ribbon-cutting activity by the ” Christmas On Wheels” Committee and Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams and family, the second annual family-oriented parade and car show will be on Saturday, Nov. 20-starting at 12 pm with the parade featuring Natchitoches Parish, NSU and regional youth along with various forms of motored rolling stock. The parade line-up will be at 11am, Natchitoches-Frankie Ray Jackson Junior High School access area on Welch Street and the parade will roll at noon. The parade route will include: Welch, Gold, Dixie, Texas and Martin Luther King Streets to the Ben Johnson Auditorium parking lot for the static show. The Krewe of Excellence reigning king and queen; Cloyd Benjamin, Jr. and LaQuita Harris Collins, will lead the parade as grand marshals.
The exciting car show will tout cars, trucks, motorcycles, slingshots and ATV’s. Vehicles from 1949 to date will be displayed from noon until 5:30pm. There is no cost to attend the show nor for non-food vendors to set-up. Patrons are asked to bring a toy for the toy drive. A nominal fee of $20 to participate in the car show and the popular “Trunk Warz.,” will be assessed per participant.”DJ-KSmooth,”, Classic Steppers and several local and visiting performing artists will exhibit their respective talent offerings-enhancing the 2021 celebration.
For information, call: 319-5279070, 318-609-8628 or 318-332-8254.
Today, I’m going to veer from my usual perspective as an angler and go down a different path that has brought me to where I am today. People come and go in our lives, but some people have a bigger impact than others. Now this is not always by chance, but I think it’s all a part of God’s plan for each of us. Some folks we meet and truly get to know over a long period of time, forming a friendship that leaves a lasting impression on our lives. While there are others who come into our life for a brief moment and change our direction forever. Today I’ll reflect and tell you my story of someone who falls into this latter category.
As an athlete growing up, I was blessed with some great coaches from my Little League days through high school, college and professional…coaches who knew how to push me to be the best I could be, not just as an athlete, but as a person. They taught me that those who work harder than everyone else will be the most successful. They emphasized how to be a leader on and off the field. My first coach, James Stansell, showed me, at the age of 8 years old, what it meant to believe in someone. He was a tough old cuss who had a reputation for being too rough with kids; a coach who had you run laps at the next practice if you made a mistake like missing a ground ball, striking out or making a bad throw. But one thing he gave me was confidence. He would tell me every day how much he believed in me as a player, and how I was ‘his” guy and that there was no one better. He taught me to believe in myself more than anyone else would ever believe in me. These lessons continued to be taught by my high school and college coaches…lessons like being responsible, taking pride in who you are, and understanding that you control your own destiny. They stressed that as a player you represent your parents, coaches, community, and school, but more importantly, you represent yourself. You’re truly a reflection on those you’re associated with.
Now, let me introduce you to the man that changed my life forever. As a high school quarterback from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, I played at a school with a reputation for winning. However, in my senior season of 1978, things did not go as planned for us as a team. With a new coaching staff, to say we struggled is an understatement. But it’s funny how things worked out. We were playing the Atlanta Rabbits in East Texas one Friday night and a coach by the name of Al Miller of Northwestern State was there scouting a linebacker from Atlanta. A coach on our staff, Coach Mike Fields, made conversation with Coach Miller at half time and encouraged him to take a closer look at me as a potential college player. I never knew this until months later when Coach Miller came to my house on a cold winter night to visit with my parents and me.
Now after being recruited by several Division 1 schools, I had heard all the BS a player could possibly hear. I thought Coach Miller would be the same, but was I ever wrong. I asked him if he could guarantee that I would be a starter and not be redshirted …. like other schools had promised. Yes, that was an arrogant question, but I wanted to see what he would say. Would Coach Miller be like all the rest? Well, he did not give me the answer I was expecting. He said “Steve, I’m not here to guarantee you anything other than the opportunity. It’s up to you when you get there as to whether those things happen for you or not.” WOW!!! Finally, someone who shot me straight and told the truth! This hit me like a sledgehammer right between the eyes. I knew right then and there that I was headed to Northwestern State to further my education and athletic career and I did not even know where Northwestern State was located! Coach Miller’s attitude and honesty had won me over; he was different.
I never got to play under Coach Al Miller since he committed to be the strength & conditioning coach for the NFL’s Denver Broncos under Head Coach Dan Reeves in 1979. His status as the best strength and conditioning coach in the country has made him a legendary Hall of Fame coach that continues to this day. The biggest honor for me was knowing that I was his last recruit to Northwestern State. Coach Miller changed the direction of my life, even though he never coached or spent any substantial amount of time with me…just that hour and a half at my house in the winter of 1978. That was all it took for him to have a lasting impression on my life and become a man who I will forever be grateful to. He was the catalyst that allowed me to have a great career at NSU, graduate, get drafted, and meet and marry the love of my life, Sherrie. We had three kids and raised them on the banks of Sibley Lake in Natchitoches, watching them grow up and become fine people. To this day, I am aware that my existing life was set into motion because of a coach who saw a young boy from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, that he thought deserved an opportunity. Thank you, Coach Al Miller, for changing my life!!!
Steve Graf Owner/Cohost Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
The Gordon Peters Post, Unit 10, of the American Legion Auxiliary in Natchitoches encourages you to visit our Post located at the corner of Fourth and Saint Denis Streets (the old Tin House location) for the Turning On The Lights, Saturday, Nov. 20, from 3–7 p.m. for gumbo, chili, hot dogs, drinks, etc. for sale at reasonable prices. Our Post will also be open for food sales on Saturday, Dec. 4, Christmas Festival Day, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Parking is available on both dates at reasonable rates as well. All proceeds will benefit our local Veterans.
NCHS and LSMSA 2018 alumni and LA Tech Air Force ROTC senior, Russell Stultz was chosen from all of the Air Force officer candidates in the nation to be commissioned in the United States’ Space Force, one of only 9 of 595 candidates to be so chosen. Cadet Stultz is the first cadet not only from LA Tech, where he has maintained a 3.54 GPA, but in the state of Louisiana, to be chosen to serve in the Nation’s newest armed force.
Russell Stultz will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States’ Space Force upon his graduation from LA Tech May 21, 2022. He was given the news about his selection and presented with his Space Force patches by LA Tech President Les Guice on Wednesday, November 17.
Stultz was a four-year player on the NCHS soccer team, first as a Chief and then as a student at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. As a student at LA Tech, he balanced his studies with Air Force ROTC, and twice as President of the Bulldog Rugby Team. He will earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering along with his military commission. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to extend its best wishes to Russell Stultz as he takes his place in the defense of our nation. Godspeed Lieutenant!
Sabine Parish – On November 15, 2021, at approximately 3:45 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a three-vehicle crash on Louisiana Highway 191 at Louisiana Highway 481. This crash claimed the life of 66-year-old Charles R. Moran of Converse.
The initial investigation revealed a 2015 Ford 150, driven by Moran, was stopped at the intersection of Louisiana Highway 191 and Louisiana Highway 481. For reasons still under investigation, Moran turned left onto Louisiana Highway 191, but failed to yield to a northbound 2016 Peterbilt commercial vehicle. As a result, Moran’s vehicle was struck by the Peterbilt. Also, a 2011 Chevrolet Cruz was struck by debris from the initial crash.
Moran, who was restrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The drivers of the Peterbilt and the Cruz, who were restrained, were not injured in the crash. Toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis.
While the cause of this crash remains under investigation, distracted and inattentive driving continues to be a leading cause of crashes in our state. Louisiana State Police urges all motorists to stay alert while driving. A lapse in one’s awareness can have deadly consequences.
In 2021, Troop E Troopers have investigated 50 fatal crashes resulting in 52 fatalities.
On Monday, November 15th, Many Junior High School announced their teacher of the year for the 2021-2022 school year. With the announcement, MJHS posted the following to their social media.
Edie Gowen, our 8th Grade English Language Arts and social studies teacher at Many Junior High School, is the newest winner of the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year award.
Mrs. Gowen has been at Many Junior High for 7 years and is a two-time graduate from Northwestern State University, receiving her Teaching Certification and her Master of Education.
Having a positive relationship with her and with each other helps her students feel like they belong and that everyone is important. She is committed to not only bringing a positive mindset to her classroom but also to our entire building.
A local women’s group has packed 150 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. This group of six ladies, recognized by the group name “To the Ends of the Earth,” have been donating their time and efforts to Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child for the last two years. This year this group managed to pack 150 shoeboxes this filled with items and love to be sent to third world countries. They know their shoeboxes will travel with the gospel and reach children in third world countries for the very first time. Each child receives a shoebox, a book “The Greatest Gift,” and an invitation to receive 12 lessons called “The Greatest Journey.” Upon completing the lessons, there is a celebration and each child receives a certificate and a Bible in their very own language. Pack a shoebox and fulfill the Great Commission. Shoeboxes will be collected through November 22.