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Russell Hedges

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Parkway quarterback Keondre Wudtee has verbally committed to Louisiana Tech.

Wudtee, the Offensive MVP on The Bossier Press-Tribune’s All-Parish team last season, announced his commitment on Twitter Thursday afternoon.

The 6-foot-5 Wudtee completed 136 of 236 passes for 2,544 yards and 29 touchdowns with nine interceptions his junior season. He led the Panthers to an 8-2 record on the field and a runner-up finish in District 1-5A.

Parkway did not make the playoffs after having to forfeit five games because of LHSAA sanctions.

Russell Hedges/Press-Tribune Parkway quarterback Keondre Wudtee has committed to Louisiana Tech.

Russell Hedges/Press-Tribune
Parkway quarterback Keondre Wudtee has committed to Louisiana Tech.

According to media reports, Wudtee also had offers from SMU, Memphis, Arkansas State, Houston, Massachusetts and Louisville.

Wudtee is rated as the No. 44 pro-style quarterback in the country by the website 247sports.com.

“Wudtee is one of the more raw but talented quarterbacks in the southeast and has tremendous upside due to his strong arm, long frame and athleticism,” 247sports national recruiting analyst Barton Simmons wrote in a post on the website.

ESPN gives Wudtee three stars (out of a possible five) and ranks him as the No. 16 dual-threat quarterfinal in the nation.

Wudtee is also a standout basketball player. He was a second-team All-Parish selection this past season.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Benton’s Hayden White shared runner-up honors in the Louisiana Champions Invitational golf tournament on Tuesday at Tamahka Trails in Marksville.

Courtesy Photo Benton rising sophomore Hayden White finished tied for second in the Louisiana Champions golf tournament Tuesday in Marksville.

Courtesy Photo
Benton rising sophomore Hayden White finished tied for second in the Louisiana Champions golf tournament Tuesday in Marksville.

The tournament featured players who finished high in the four division state high school tournaments held earlier this month.

White finished tied for fourth in the Division II tournament and helped Benton win its fourth straight title.

White, the only sophomore-to-be in the field, shot a 1-under 70 on a course that had been soaked by two inches of rain on Monday. He finished tied with 2014 champion Jeffrey Berry of Byrd and William Meyers of Baton Rouge Catholic. Hahnville’s Collin Troxler, the 2014 runner-up, won with a 66.

Benton’s David Cole, who will be a senior this fall, shot a 77 and finished 13th.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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The patriarch of the “First Family of Football,” Archie Manning, will be the featured speaker at the sixth-annual Independence Bowl Kickoff Luncheon.

The 2015 Kickoff Luncheon is set for Monday, July 20, at 11:45 a.m. on the second floor of the Shreveport Convention Center.

“We are excited to have Archie Manning, a football legend, as our speaker for the Independence Bowl kickoff luncheon this year,” 2015 Independence Bowl Chairman Kyle McInnis said. “This continues our tradition of bringing high profile speakers to our area in anticipation of football season. It should be a great kickoff luncheon.”

Individual tickets are $50, and tables of eight are $400. Tickets to the event can be purchased by calling the Independence Bowl office at (318) 221-0712 or toll-free at (888) 414-BOWL. Tickets will be available for purchase at independencebowl.org beginning Wednesday, May 27.

Manning began his rise to fame with a stellar collegiate career as a quarterback at Ole Miss. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1989, he accounted for 5,576 yards of total offense and 56 touchdowns during his career.

The dual threat quarterback earned All-America nods in 1969 and 1970, and was tabbed the SEC Player of the Year in 1969.

He still holds the Ole Miss record for passing yards in a game (436), while he checks in at fifth in career passing touchdowns (31) and eighth in career passing yards (4,753). He is the first player in Ole Miss football history to have his number retired.

Manning led the Rebels to three-straight bowl appearances, including victories in the 1968 Liberty Bowl and 1970 Sugar Bowl, in which he was named Most Outstanding Player.

The New Orleans Saints selected Manning with the second overall pick of the 1971 NFL Draft, and he would spend 10 seasons with the team. He played two seasons each with the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings.

During his NFL career, he racked up 23,911 yards passing and 125 touchdowns, along with another 2,197 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1978 and 1979 as a member of the Saints, and he is enshrined in the Saints Ring of Honor.

Manning has the distinction of being selected as one of the inaugural members of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

This will not be Manning’s first involvement with the Independence Bowl. During halftime of the 2009 game between Texas A&M and Georgia, Manning accepted the Omar N. Bradley “Spirit of Independence” Award on behalf of The National Football Foundation.

His youngest son, Eli Manning, led Ole Miss to a 27-23 victory against Nebraska in the 2002 Independence Bowl, throwing for 313 yards and a touchdown en route to being named the Offensive Player of the Game.

Eli is a two-time Super Bowl MVP for the New York Giants, while middle son Peyton Manning enters his 17th NFL season. Peyton has one Super Bowl title and has been named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player five times.

Archie Manning adds to the football royalty who have spoken at the Kickoff Luncheon, joining Terry Bradshaw, Bobby Bowden, Lou Holtz, Jason Witten and Emmitt Smith.

— Stefan Nolet, Independence Bowl

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It’s that time of the year again. Another high school sports year is in the books. So how did Bossier Parish schools fare, and which school had the best sports year?
As I say each year, determining the criteria for which school had the best sports year is a challenge. The competition varies greatly not only in the four districts in which parish schools compete, but also within each sport.
Also, all parish schools don’t compete in the same sports. For example, Bossier doesn’t have a cross country or golf team and neither does Plain Dealing.
But as usual, I will forge on. While I try to use objective facts, this is just my opinion anyway.
For many, 2014-15 will be remembered as the year Parkway missed the football playoffs after having to forfeit five games after the LHSAA ruled it used an ineligible player in those games.
For the purposes of this column, those wins will count. The Panthers won them on the field without help from the ineligible player.
Every Bossier Parish school won at least one district championship except Plain Dealing, and the Lions finished second in three sports.
Airline won the District 1-5A baseball title. The Vikings also won parish and regional wrestling championships. The regional championship is equivalent to a district title.
Airline finished second in girls track and field and shared second in girls basketball. The boys basketball team tied for third.
The Vikings and Lady Vikings also finished runner-up 1-5A cross country.
Haughton won the District 1-5A title in boys track and field. The Lady Bucs shared runner-up honors in girls basketball and softball. The football team finished third.
Parkway swept the District 1-5A cross country championships. Parkway runners Hayden Kingfisher and Sara Funderburk swept the individual 5A state titles, the first time runners from the same school have won both in the LHSAA’s highest classification.
Parkway also won boys and girls district bowling titles.
The Panthers finished runner-up in District 1-5A football, boys basketball and District 1, Division I girls soccer. The softball team shared second place. The boys track team finished third.
Bossier shared the District 1-3A boys basketball championship with Evangel. The Bossier boys track team finished second in the Region I-3A meet and had a couple of individual winners at the state meet. The boys soccer team finished third in District 1, Division III.
Plain Dealing finished as the District 1-1A runner-up in football and boys and girls basketball and third in girls track and field. The Lions also had the Outstanding Performer in the Class 1A state track and field meet in Keldrick Carper.
Benton shared the District 1-4A football championship. The school also won district championships in baseball, boys soccer, boys and girls track and field, boys and girls cross country, and golf. That’s eight district championships if you’re counting.
The boys track team also won the Region I-4A title and the girls finished second. The golf team, of course, won the Region I-4A and Division II state championships for the fourth straight year.
The softball team finished in a three-way tie for second in 1-4A. The girls soccer team was third in District 1, Division II.
So once again, Benton gets the nod as having the best sports year among the six Bossier Parish schools.
But let’s not end it there. How about a comparison of the three parish District 1-5A schools in the Big Five boys team sports of football, basketball, baseball, track and field and soccer and the Big Four girls team sports of basketball, softball, track and field and soccer.
For that, I used a point system based on district finish (1 point for first, 2 for second, etc.) If there was a two-way tie then the points were halved. For example, Airline and Haughton received 2.5 points each for sharing second in girls basketball.
The school with the lowest score wins.
In the boys sports, Airline had the lowest score at 16.5 followed by Parkway with 18 and Haughton at 19.5. Once again, that doesn’t take into account Parkway’s football forfeits.
In girls sports, it was very close. Parkway and Airline each had 14.5 and Haughton had 15. That’s basically a toss-up.
As usual, every parish school had something to hang their hat on. The braggin’ rights were fairly spread around.
It’ll all start up again in about three months.

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

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Centenary senior pitcher Taylor Henry, a former Airline standout, has been named second-team All-America by D3Baseball.com.

Courtesy of Centenary College Taylor Henry

Courtesy of Centenary College
Taylor Henry

Henry, who was named SCAC Pitcher of the Year and First Team All-SCAC, closed his Gents’ career as the leader in saves (17), fourth in career wins (18), strikeouts (202) and eighth in innings pitched (217.2). Henry led the conference in strikeouts (85) and saves (9) and was second in ERA (1.59).

Henry helped lead Centenary to its second SCAC regular-season title in three seasons and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament en route to a 24-17 mark and 15-3 in the SCAC. He also earned a spot on the D3baseball.com and ABCA All-West Regional Team along with being named D3Baseball.com West Region Pitcher of the Year.

More than 800 players were nominated for the ninth annual D3baseball.com All-America team.

— Centenary College Sports Information

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Bossier High has promoted DeShawn Williams to head girls basketball coach.

Williams served as an assistant under J.C. Dickey for two years. He also coached boys and girls teams from 2012-14 at Rusheon Middle School, winning two district championships.

From 2009 to 2012, Williams coached boys and girls basketball at Linwood Public Charter School in Shreveport, winning two district titles.

Williams was a standout player at Peabody High School in Alexandria, helping the Warhorses win the 2002 state championship.

He was an All-State selection and a McDonald’s All-American nominee. He also earned Academic All-State honors and was twice named All-District.

Williams played college basketball at BPCC. He was named a Junior College All-American in 2004 and was a two-time first-team All-Miss-Lou Conference selection.

He also had a Summer League stint with the Austin Toros of the NBA’s Developmental League.

The Bossier job became open when Dickey resigned after three seasons as head coach to focus on other aspects of his career in education and spend more time with his family.

Bossier finished 11-18 overall and 4-6 in District 1-3A last season. The school is moving back up to Class 4A this school year after four years in Class 3A.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com

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Haughton senior Anna Dies has been named the Most Valuable Player on the All-District 1-5A softball team selected by the district’s coaches.
The Louisiana Tech signee, a pitcher and outfielder, batted .524 with 28 RBI and five home runs. She had a slugging percentage of .917. On the mound, she had a 2.79 ERA and struck out 91.
Haughton, which shared second place in the district with Parkway, placed three other players on the first team — sophomore catcher Lacey Dodson, sophomore infielder Savannah O’Neal and senior infielder Ashley Smith.
Dodson batted .338 with 18 RBI. O’Neal hit .400 and had 21 RBI. Smith, who was also a standout pitcher, has signed with Harding University.
Five Parkway players made the first team — junior pitcher Samantha Guile, senior infielder Alexis Rayborn, junior infielder Rebecca Lynch, senior outfielder Mary Kate Bozeman and senior Kelsey Gallman, who made it at utility.
Guile had an ERA of 1.97. She struck out 188 in 132 1/3 innings. Rayborn batted .420 and led the Lady Panthers with 25 RBI. She had five doubles and four home runs. Bozeman, a Millsaps signee, hit .371 with 18 RBI and nine extra-base hits, including six doubles.
Lynch batted .333 with 14 RBI and seven doubles. Gallman was an outstanding fielder at shortstop.
Airline senior infielder Mary Macaulay also made the first team. Macaulay led the Lady Vikings with a .356 average. She had eight extra-base hits, including five doubles, and 13 RBI.
Mark Lambert, who guided Byrd to a 12-0 district record, was named Coach of the Year.
Haughton’s second-team selections were infielder Savannah Salley, outfielder Lauren Edwards and utility Natalie Smith.
Parkway’s second-team selections were pitcher Allie Hunt and outfielder Kendall Lewis.
Airline’s second-team selections were pitcher Hannah Hutson, catcher Brittany Nelson, infielder Kaitlyn Walker and outfielder Kaylee Adams.

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Note: The All-District 1-5A softball team was selected by the district’s coaches.

P — Callie Crandall, Byrd, Jr.; Samantha Guile, Parkway, Jr. C — Lacey Dodson, Haughton, So.; Nikki Greer, Southwood, Sr. IF — Morgan McInnis, Byrd, Jr.; Tia Timerding, Byrd, Sr.; Savannah O’Neal, Haughton, So.; Alexis Rayborn, Parkway, Sr.; Ashley Smith, Haughton, Sr.; Mary Macaulay, Airline, Sr.; Rebbeca Lynch, Parkway, Jr. OF — Claire Hyde, Byrd, Jr.; Mirian Trafford, Caddo Magnet, Sr.; Hannah Ellis, Byrd, Sr.; Chandler Higgins, Byrd, Sr.; Mary Kate Bozeman, Parkway, Sr. Utility — Katelynn Odom, Captain Shreve, Jr.; Hannah Lee, Byrd, Jr.; Kelsey Gallman, Parkway, Sr.

MVP — Anna Dies, Haughton, Sr.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mark Lambert, Byrd

SECOND TEAM

P — Charlie Ann O’Brien, Captain Shreve; Allie Hunt, Parkway; Hannah Hutson, Airline. C — Kelsey Terry, Byrd; Brittany Nelson, Airline. IF — Cate Williams, Captain Shreve; Katie Bakalis, Caddo Magnet; Alex Wynn, Byrd; Savannah Salley, Haughton; Brooklyn Bass, Southwood; Kaitlyn Walker, Airline. OF — Kayla Tippins, Southwood; Kendall Lewis, Parkway; Lauren Edwards, Haughton; Kaylee Adams, Airline; Katelin Stephens, Captain Shreve. DP — Riley Duke, Southwood. Utility — Natalie Smith, Haughton; Katelyn Scruggs, Southwood, Brittany Maples, Caddo Magnet.

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Note: The All-District 1-3A team was selected by the district’s coaches.

FIRST TEAM

P — Blake Buckman, Evangel, Sr.; Austin Beckermeyer, Evangel, Sr.; Nathan Behrend, Evangel, So. C — Ryne Ray, Evangel, Sr. 1B — Shane Miears, Evangel, Sr. 2B — Gunner McEachern, North Webster, Sr. 3B — Austin Stegall, Evangel, Sr. SS — Riley Orr, North Webster, So. OF — Joey Usie, Evangel, Sr.; Cameron Huff, North Webster, So.; Hunter Shaw, Evangel, Jr. Utility — Brent Wroblewski, Bossier, Jr.; Jaylan Wilson, Mansfield, Jr.; Blake Ashley, North Webster, Jr.; Christian Givens, Mansfield, Sr.

MVP — Ryne Ray, Evangel, .390, 6 HR, 34 RBI, 9 2B
MOP — Blake Buckman, Evangel, 6-2, 2.00 ERA, 35 Ks
COACH OF THE YEAR — Tim Hulett, Evangel

SECOND TEAM

P — Devin Stephens, Evangel, So.; D’Andre Bailey, Mansfield, So.; Hayden Corbell, North Webster, So.; Michael Modisette, North Webster, So. INF — Derrick Jones, Bossier, So.; Jayke Stewart, Bossier, Fr.; Jaylan Robinson, Mansfield, Jr.; Colton Smith, North Webster, Sr. OF — John Michael Boswell, Evangel, Sr.; Jason Bellew, Evangel, So.; David Dunson, Bossier, Jr; Daniel Lewis, North Webster, Jr.