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Year in review: Parkway playoff ban, Guin heart attack among top sports stories

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It was a another memorable year in Bossier Parish sports with plenty of success stories.
But 2014 will stand out for two stories — one that could have been tragic but turned out positive and one that was nothing but negative.
The first is Haughton head coach Rodney Guin’s recovery from a near-fatal heart attack. The second is the Parkway football team’s playoff ban.
Here is a look at those stories and some of the other top ones from the past year.

Guin heart attack: Haughton head coach Rodney Guin suffered a massive heart attack on April 26 at his Haughton home after returning from a softball playoff game.
The situation was touch-and-go with doctors twice telling Guin’s wife Tracy to prepare for the worst — once on the night of attack and again at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
But Guin made a remarkable recovery and returned home on May 24 after less than a month of rehab in Dallas.
In September, Guin was on the sideline for the Bucs’ season opener against Woodlawn.
Before that, he was able to share his and his family’s inspirational story in churches and in front of community groups.

Parkway football playoff ban: Before the Parkway Panthers’ second-to-last football game against Haughton in November, the LHSAA ruled that Parkway had to forfeit five games for using an ineligible player.
The player in question was a freshman used late in games that Parkway had big leads. The LHSAA ruled the player, who lived in Caddo Parish during the 2013-14 school year, was ineligible under the “bona-fide change of residence” rule.
Parkway coach David Feaster and school administrators disputed the ruling and filed an appeal. But the Wednesday before the Panthers’ regular-season finale against Airline, the LHSAA denied the appeal.
On top of that, Parkway self-reported that it used an academically ineligible player in the spring scrimmage. Because of that, the Bossier Parish School Board decided not to take any legal action against the LHSAA that might have gotten the team reinstated in the playoffs.
Parkway finished the season 8-2 with a big victory over Airline. Without question, the Panthers were Bossier Parish’s best team in 2014. But they had to sit out the playoffs.
That came a year after the LHSAA banned Parkway for playing home playoff games because of an incident before a 2012 playoff game against Live Oak.
It was a sad ending for a group of seniors that contributed to 21 wins in 2013 and 2014.

Parkway runners’ cross country titles: Parkway senior Hayden Kingfisher and junior Sara Funderburk swept the boys and girls Class 5A cross country titles at the state meet in Natchitoches in November.
It was the first time runners from same school swept the 5A titles.
Kingfisher and Funderburk posted the best times over the 3-mile course at NSU in any of the seven classes.
Kingfisher also defeated three runners who finished ahead of him in 2013. Funderburk won after finishing seventh in 2013.

Bossier Little League softball: The Bossier All-Stars won the Southwest Region Little League 11-12 title for the first time and then reached the championship game of the Little League World Series in Portland, Ore., in August.
Bossier lost to Robbinsville, N.J., 4-1 in the title game after defeating Columbus, Ga., 2-1 in the semifinals. Both games were broadcast on ESPN2.
Bossier, which won four games in the tournament, represented Bossier City and Bossier Parish with class.

Benton’s spring success: Benton teams dominated District 1-4A competition in the spring.
The softball and baseball teams won district titles. The softball team made it to the state tournament before falling in the quarterfinals. The baseball team also lost in the quarterfinals.
The track and field teams also swept the district championships. The boys team went on to finish second in the 4A state meet, just two points behind champion Opelousas.
The Benton golf team won its third straight Division II state title at Huntington Park.

Dixie World Series tournaments: The Dixie Boys (14s) and Junior Boys (13s) World Series tournaments went off without a hitch at Tinsley Park in August.
The Bossier 13s won the Junior Boys for the first time in the Bossier Dixie organization’s history. The 14s team finished runner-up after losing two drama-filled games to Hattiesburg, Miss., in a marathon Saturday doubleheader. The first went 11 innings and the second was decided by one run.

Dak Prescott success: Former Haughton quarterback Dak Prescott led the Mississippi State Bulldogs to a No. 1 national ranking in October. The Bulldogs started the season 9-0 before losing to Alabama 25-20 on Nov. 15.
Prescott, a junior, was considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner in October and eventually finished eighth in the voting.
He completed 211 of 345 passes for 2,996 yards and 24 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 939 yards on 195 carries and scored 13 TDs.
Prescott was named the All-SEC first-team quarterback.

Brandon Harris saga: After leading Parkway to a 13-1 record and Class 5A state runner-up finish, Parkway quarterback Brandon Harris signed with LSU and enrolled in the spring of 2014.
The hot topic about LSU football during preseason was who would start for the Tigers, Harris or sophomore Anthony Jennings.
Jennings got the start but was unimpressive. Harris came off the bench late in the fourth quarter on Sept. 20 and almost led the Tigers to a miraculous come-from-behind victory over Mississippi State.
The next week, Harris came off the bench in the second quarter and led the Tigers to a 63-7 victory over New Mexico State.
He got his first, and as it turned out only, start at then No. 2 Auburn the next week.
Things didn’t go well and the Tigers lost 41-7. Since then, despite the continuing struggles of Jennings, Harris has seen limited action.
To his credit, he has continued to remain upbeat based on his Twitter posts.

Jalan West success: West, who led Bossier to the 2011 Class 4A state championship, has had a brilliant career at Northwestern State.
As a sophomore, the 5-foot-10 was named the All-Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year and All-Southland first team. Before the 2014-15 season, he was named to the Lou Henson Award watch list, which goes to the Mid-Major Player of the Year.
Wrestling success: Four parish wrestlers won Division II high school state championships in February — Bossier’s Jalen Oliver (Div. II, 182-pound class), Parkway’s Zac Funderburk (145), Benton’s Andre Dean II (152) and Benton’s Jordan White (160).

Football success: Despite Parkway’s troubles, the 2014 season was hardly a downer.
Four parish teams won at least eight games — Parkway (8-2), Haughton (9-3), Plain Dealing (9-3) and Benton (10-3).
Both Benton and Plain Dealing reached the quarterfinals. Benton won a share of the District 1-4A title for the first time since 2008. Plain Dealing won nine games for the first time since 1991 and reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 1997.
Bossier High boys basketball success: The Bossier Bearkats reached the semifinals of the Class 3A playoffs in March before falling to University Lab. It was the sixth straight year Bossier has reached at least the semifinals.

Track and field success: The Haughton boys won the District 1-5A and Region I-5A championships in April and finished third in the 5A state meet in Baton Rouge in May.
The Bucs’ Micah Larkins repeated as 5A 100-meter dash champ. Larkins also helped the Bucs win the 4X100-meter dash along with Javonte Woodard, Josh Lister and D’Kovin Ware.
Six other parish athletes and one relay team also won state titles in one of the parish’s best showings in years — Parkway’s Alison Ringle (5A girls 3,200), Parkway’s Cory Hamilton (5A boys 400), Benton’s Drake Heinz (4A boys 3,200), Airline’s Jasmyn Carswell (5A girls triple jump), Haughton’s Jecorius Jeter (5A boys triple jump) and Airline’s Jack Wilkes (5A boys 800).
Bossier’s Kelvin Brooks, Juwan Wells, John Langston and Cartavia Wells pulled off a stunning win in the 3A boys 4X400 relay.

Airline 1-5A baseball title: The Airline Vikings won a share of the District 1-5A baseball title and Cameron Taylor was named the district’s co-MVP.
Airline shared the title with Byrd after both finished 11-4 in district play.

OPINION

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

Editor’s Note: This story is an amended version of the year in review story that appears in the Wednesday, Dec. 31, print edition of The Press-Tribune. It adds “Dak Prescott’s success” as a top story. It was inadvertently omitted.