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Russell Hedges


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Courtesy Photo Benton coach Tim Cram holds the state championship trophy as he and his players pose for a photo Tuesday in Lafayette. The Tigers won their fourth consecutive Division II title.

Courtesy Photo
Benton coach Tim Cram holds the state championship trophy as he and his players pose for a photo Tuesday in Lafayette. The Tigers won their fourth consecutive Division II title.

Back when they were in middle school, Benton seniors Jacob Wyatt, Corbin Cantrell and Shane Cram set a goal of winning four consecutive Division II state golf championships.

Tuesday, with help from teammates David Cole and Hayden White, they made it happen.

With the winds kicking up at The Wetlands course in Lafayette, Benton shot a 303 to go with Monday’s 283. The two-day total of 10-over 586 was 24 strokes better than runner-up St. Louis of Lake Charles. Ruston finished third at 633.

Wyatt, who shot a 78 to go with Monday’s 6-under 66, took individual medalist honors. He won by three strokes over Nathan Grossi of Sam Houston and Nolan Timon of North DeSoto. Grossi shot 74-73 and Timon shot 75-72.

Cram’s score in Monday’s round didn’t figure in the Benton’s team scoring. But he came back with the Tigers’ best round Tuesday with a 3-over 75. Cantrell, White and Cole all shot 76.

Benton coach Tim Cram said no one broke par Tuesday. Benton’s 303 was the best round of the day by four strokes over St. Louis.

Benton won its four titles on four courses — Oak Wing Golf Club in Alexandria (2012), Shreveport Country Club (2013), Huntington Park Golf Coure (2014) and The Wetlands.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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When Captain Shreve head football coach Richard Lary died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 49 on April 25, it hit the Shreve and Caddo Parish communities hard.
Lary spent his entire 27-year coaching career in Caddo Parish, the last six at Captain Shreve.
Last Wednesday, Calvary Baptist Church was standing-room only for Lary’s funeral. The lower part was a sea of green as Shreve players wore their jerseys to honor him.
But the impact of Lary’s death was felt far beyond Shreve and Caddo.
Airline baseball coach Toby Todd was a close friend of Lary’s. The two coached together at Woodlawn from 1988-94.
Todd was with Lary when he suffered the heart attack at a baseball game at Shreve between the Gators and Southwood.
“Richard is easy to talk about because he was a special guy,” Todd said. “He was a huge competitor but he was also a compassionate man and that was the thing that made him what he was, that made him so special to so many people.”
In his long career at Woodlawn, Huntington, Byrd and Shreve, Lary coached and taught hundreds of students. He could recall the names of just about every one, Todd said.
“Richard remembered people, because he cared about them,” he said last Sunday. “I know in the last week I’ve seen probably a dozen kids that I hadn’t seen — I call them kids, they’re adults now — people that we coached in late ’80s and early ’90s. Richard is always the one that remembered their names.
“I can’t tell you how many times I called Richard and said, ‘Hey, what about so and so?’ and he’d say, ‘Oh, yeah’ and name them off. He was that kind of guy. He was special because of that. He built relationships with everyone.
“His sister-in-law said it during the eulogy — he was someone to everyone and that sums it up so well.”
Lary started his career coaching softball and football at Woodlawn in 1988. He went on to coach both sports at Huntington and Byrd before becoming Shreve’s head coach in 2009. He took softball teams at Huntington and Byrd to the state tournament.
“Richard was proud to be a coach, and it shows just because of the success he had in what everybody would consider his second sport — softball,” Todd said.
Lary always wanted to be a head football coach. Todd said that at one point in Lary’s career he was worried that he would be seen as a softball coach that also happened to coach football, and he might not get the chance.
“I said, ‘Richard, nobody is ever going to worry about that. What people are going to see is someone that takes the sport he’s given or put in charge of and makes it a success. It’s not that you win games but that you built a program. You built the facilities, you fundraise. And because you do those things whenever the chance does come for you to get a football job, that’s going to be a plus. That’s how he coached. He took ownership of it whether it was softball or girls basketball at Woodlawn he had for a couple of years.”
Lary, of course, was also a member of the fraternity of head football coaches in District 1-5A that includes Airline’s Bo Meeks, Parkway’s David Feaster and Haughton’s Rodney Guin.
Guin suffered a near-fatal heart attack a year to the day before Lary suffered the one that took his life. April 25 marked a milestone in Guin’s recovery, but he prefers to keep the focus on Lary and his family.
This week Guin is doing something he was unable to do last year — taking the Bucs through spring practice.
“He was a great competitor,” Guin said of Lary. “He did the best with the talent he had there. One thing I liked about him was that he was super honest. Whatever it was he would just shoot you straight about it.”
On a personal note, I first came to know Richard Lary when he was the head softball coach at Woodlawn in 1988 and I was just starting out covering high schools at The Times.
My memories of that time are hazy. But I do remember that Lary was eager to help me do my job and made sure his players received recognition when they deserved it.
Our paths crossed and diverged as he moved to other schools and my responsibilities at work changed.
When he became the head coach at my alma mater Captain Shreve, a place where my late mother was a longtime teacher and my father a longtime coach and teacher, I was thrilled.
About four years ago, when I first started working at the BPT, I ran into him in New Orleans after a night of state championship games at the Superdome. I hadn’t seen him for awhile, but he looked like the same young coach I first came to know at Woodlawn.
We had a long conversation about the challenges of being a head coach at Shreve. He was an easy person to talk to.
Lary leaves behind his wife, Becky, and daughters Ally, 15, and Camryn, 11.
Last week, Ally made cheerleader at Captain Shreve for the 2015-16 school year.
“He would’ve been beaming over that,” Todd said.
Lary would’ve turned 50 on Thursday. Todd said he and Fair Park head coach Mike Greene, a former Airline head coach, and some others are taking the Lary family out to dinner.
No doubt it will a celebration of a special man who will be missed by many.

Russell Hedges is Sports Editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Benton Tigers will take a 20-stroke lead into the final round of the Division II state golf tournament Tuesday in Lafayette.

Benton, gunning for its fourth consecutive title, shot a sizzling 5-under 283 at the The Wetlands, a par-72 layout. St. Louis of Lake Charles is second at 303 followed by Ruston at 316.

Benton coach Tim Cram said the score was the best team total in his years at the school.

Benton’s Jacob Wyatt led the Tigers with a 6-under 66. Corbin Cantrell and Hayden White both shot 72. Defending individual medalist David Cole shot a 73.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Airline Vikings and Haughton Bucs both lost in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs last week, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that both had very successful seasons.
The District 1-5A champ Vikings fell to district rival Byrd 8-6, and Haughton lost to Live Oak 10-3.
Airline finished 24-11 overall and 13-2 in District 1-5A. They won the district title by three games over Captain Shreve. It was Airline’s second straight title, but last year they had to share it with Shreve.
“It was a great year; it really was,” Airline coach Toby Todd said. “Those kids won 24 games. We played a very tough schedule if you look at the number of teams we played that were very high up in the power rankings and are still in the playoffs. Overall, it was a big success of a season.”
The Byrd game was the final one for six senior starters — starting pitcher Andrew Lowe and reliever Andrew Maxey, first baseman Jacob James, second baseman Ryan Phillips, shortstop Tanner Daniel and designated hitter Peyton Coker.
Haughton finished 19-13 and tied for third with Byrd at 9-6.
The Live Oak game was the final one for four Haughton seniors — utility player Trey Morris, shortstop Sam Wallace, catcher Seth Ryan and right fielder Seth Bradshaw.
Haughton had six more wins overall than in 2014 and four more in 1-5A.
“I was real pleased,” Haughton coach Glenn Maynor said. “Compared to last year I think we took a step forward. This is our fourth year in 5A and it’s a world of difference.
“I thought our seniors did an awesome job of being leaders. I told them that in several years we can look back and say this was the year we turned it around.”

Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Here are the qualifiers from Bossier Parish schools for the LHSAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday and Saturday at LSU. Regional finishes and times/distances are also included.

Class 5A
Hayden Kingfisher, Parkway (1st, 1,600, 4:29.46; 1st, 3,200, 10:00.92)
Juwon Johnson, Parkway, (1st, 110 hurdles, 14.63)
Antonio Woodfork, Haughton (1st, 300 hurdles, 39.04)
Xavier Johnson, Airline (2nd, 110 hurdles, 14.67; 3rd, long jump, 22-4)
Quentin Brown, Haughton (2nd, 100, 10.71; 2nd, 200, 21.84)
Jack Griffin, Airline (2nd, discus, 136-6)
Josh Lister, Haughton (3rd, 100, 10.82)
Jacob Hammons, Parkway (3rd, 3,200, 10:12.41)
Haughton 4X100 relay (1st, Javonte Woodard, Brown, D’Kovin Ware, Lister, 41.52)
Sara Funderburk, Parkway (1st, 800, 2:18.76; 1st, 3,200, 11:54.57)
Kei McCoy, Airline (2nd, long jump, 16-7.25; 3rd, triple jump, 36-3)
Brittney Roberson, Airline (3rd, 400, 58.25)
Inez Green, Haughton (3rd, shot put, 36-9.5)

Dorsavion Williams, Benton (1st, 100, 10.93; 1st, 200, 22.11)
Jordan White, Benton (1st, discus, 133-5; 3rd, javelin, 151-0.5)
Collin Milton, Benton (1st, javelin, 159-6)
Chauncey Taylor, Benton (2nd, shot put, 47-10)
Stephen Singleton, Benton (3rd, 3,200, 10:28.80)
Keon Coleman, Benton (3rd, 300 hurdles, 39.69)
Obie Spears, Benton (3rd, pole vault, 12-6)
Benton 4X200 relay (3rd, KD Thomas, Williams, Coleman, Elijah Carr, 1:32.09)

Rheagan White, Benton (1st, discus, 93-11)
Quinci Middlebrooks, Benton (2nd, 1,600, 5:42.53)
Shelby Leninger, Benton (2nd, pole vault, 8-6)
Katie McKay, Benton (3rd, 3,200, 12:54.52)
Yakina Manning, Benton (3rd, shot put, 34-2)
Somer Miller, Benton (3rd, javelin, 112-7.5)

Cartavia Cook, Bossier (1st, long jump, 21-9)
Aarreon Smallwood, Bossier (2nd, discus, 128-3.5)
Kentrell Hardy, Bossier (3rd, long jump, 20-4.5)
Kelvin Brooks, Bossier (2nd, 200, 22.40)
Bossier 4X200 relay (1st, Brooks, John Langston, Juwan Wells, Cook, 1:28.68)
Bossier 4X400 relay (1st, Brooks, Cook, Langston, Wells) 3:26.78
Bossier 4X100 relay (2nd, Brooks, Cook, Robert Green, Wells, 43.25)
Bree Webb, Bossier (3rd, 100, 12.81)
Alyshia Crismond, Bossier (2nd, 800, 2:47.35)
Keldrick Carper, Plain Dealing (1st, 110 hurdles, 16.76; N/A, long jump, 20-6; N/A, triple jump, 42-0)
Teunna Perry, Plain Dealing (1st, long jump, 17-5; N/A, high jump, 5-0; 2nd, triple jump, 35-5)
Navia Johnson, Plain Dealing (N/A, shot put, 32-11.5)

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The Bossier Parish Community College Cavaliers closed the 2015 baseball season last week.

The Cavaliers were swept by Navarro College in three close games, 4-2, 6-5 and 5-4. BPCC finished the season 17-34-1 overall and 8-22 in Region XIV.

Kiefer Moore had two hits and two RBI in the 4-2 loss. Josey Langston also had two hits. Taylor Roy and Spencer Goodwin had doubles.

Former Benton star Andrew Close went 3-for-3 with a home run and four RBI in the 6-5 loss. Eric Goree had a double.

Cole finished the season with a .311 batting average, the highest on the team among players who played 30 or more games. He had six doubles and 17 RBI.

Roy went 3-for-4 with a double in the 5-4 loss. Langston had a two-RBI double. Goodwin also had a double.

Former Airline standout Landon Lewis allowed eight hits in five innings but only one earned run. Navarro scored all five of its runs in the sixth when the Cavs made all three of their errors.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Benton Tigers begin their quest for a fourth consecutive Division II state golf championship Monday.

The 36-hole tournament state tournament is at The Wetlands, a par-72 course in Lafayette.

Benton won their fourth consecutive Region I-II championship on Wednesday at Links on the Bayou in Lafayette by 18 strokes over runner-up St. Louis of Lake Charles. Freshman Hayden White was runner-up in the individual competition with a 1-over 73.

Benton’s team total was also 18 strokes better than Region I-II champion Teurlings Catholic.

Last year, the Tigers won the state tournament by 30 strokes over St. Louis at Huntington Park. David Cole was the individual medalist.

Cole returns along with Jacob Wyatt, who tied for fifth, Corbin Cantrell and Shane Cram. The addition of White makes the Tigers an even bigger favorite to win.

Benton will be trying to pull off a feat accomplished by Parkway, which won four straight Division II titles from 2005-08.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Benton Tigers completed a two-game sweep of the Lakeshore Titans in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs with a 3-0 victory Saturday at Benton.

Benton, the No. 4 seed, advanced to the quarterfinals for the third straight season. Lakeshore, the No. 13 seed, closed its season at 16-13.

The Tigers (28-9) will host No. 5 Teurlings Catholic (24-9) in a best-of-three series beginning Friday at Benton. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be Saturday. The winner faces the winner of a series between No. 1 Tioga and No. 8 West Ouachita in the 4A semifinals at the state tournament in Sulphur May 14-16.

Teurlings Catholic swept No. 12 Belle Chasse 5-0 and 4-3 (11 innings) in the second round.

This is the first year best-of-3 series have been used in the second round and quarterfinals. Teurlings Catholic defeated Benton 8-6 in the 2013 quarterfinals. Last year, the Tigers fell to St. Michael the Archangel 11-0.

Benton cruised to victory over Lakeshore 12-3 in Game 1 Friday. Game 2 turned into a pitchers’ duel.

Benton ace Aaron Sheppard pitched a three-hitter, walking only one. Lakeshore’s Kenny Letort also allowed only three hits, but he walked five and the Tigers took advantage.

Benton scored two runs in the top of the second.

Branson Woodward led off with a single to right field. He advanced to second when Tyler Stephens walked. Woodard reached third when Stephens was forced out at second on Josh Scherer’s grounder.

Sheppard walked with two outs, loading the bases. Woodward scored on a error by the Titans’ second baseman. Tanner Craft then walked, scoring Scherer.

Benton added a run in the sixth. Stephens led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Taylor Ward’s single to center field.

Lakeshore got two of its three hits in the seventh. But with runners at first and second, Sheppard got a strikeout to end the game.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The Benton Tigers are one win away from advancing to the Class 4A quarterfinals for the third straight year.

The Tigers defeated the Lakeshore Titans 12-3 Friday in Benton in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series. Benton (27-9), the No. 4 seed, can close out the series with a victory in Game 2 at 1 p.m. Saturday. Lakeshore (16-12), the No. 13 seed, can force a decisive Game 3 immediately following with a victory.

Wade Grubbs and Tyler Stephens had three hits each for Benton. Grubbs went 3-for-5 with four RBI. Stephens went 3-for-4 with a double.

Branson Woodward went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Winning pitcher Tanner Craft had a two-run double. Jaret Gill had a double and scored a run with a sacrifice fly.

Craft allowed six hits in 6 1/3 innings with five of those coming in Lakeshore’s three-run fifth.

The Tigers jumped on the Titans early, taking advantage of two errors. Gill’s sacrifice fly came in the inning as did Stephens’ double. Josh Scherer singled home two runs.

Benton put three more on the board in the bottom of the third. Woodward and Stephens had back-to-back singles. Scherer and Ward walked in consecutive bats to score a run. Grubbs’ made it 7-0 with a two-out single to right field.

After Lakeshore cut the lead to 7-3 in the top of the fifth, Benton answered with three in the bottom of the inning. All three came after an infield error with two outs. Grubbs’ had an RBI single and Craft’s double to the gap in center field made it 10-3.

Benton added two more in the sixth. Gill led off with a double to left field and scored on a Woodward single. Woodward advanced to second on a ground out and reached third on a passed ball. He scored on Grubbs’ two-out single.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com