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Steve Spurrier gets light-hearted offer from Baton Rouge school to coach high school football

When the news about Steve Spurrier’s abrupt departure from South Carolina hit the news cycles, The Dunham School football coach Neil Weiner decided to have some fun with it.

Some called it a retirement, but Spurrier said it is not, noting that he might coach in the high-school ranks.

Steve Spurrier to Baton Rouge? Well … Weiner offered Spurrier a job via Twitter.

The offensively-minded Weiner jumped into the fray with a Tuesday afternoon tweet that stated, “I’m official offering @SC_HBC the Offensive Coordinator position for @DunhamAthletics effective immediately.”

When contacted about the Tweet, Weiner laughed.

“I’ve had some buddies who have been contacting me to, saying they wonder how much it would take to get Spurrier here,” Weiner said. “I told them I don’t know. It was really all in fun.

“I’ve definitely gotten a reaction from it. But hey, if he’s serious, why not throw your hat in the ring. Something tells me he (Spurrier) is not the kind of guy who check Twitter from often.”

It’s important to note that Weiner’s Dunham team is doing just fine. The Tigers are 5-1 overall and 2-1 in District 6-2A going into Friday’s home game with Capitol.

Lab-WCHS play Thursday

Southern Lab (4-2, 2-0) has officially moved its District 6-1A showdown with White Castle High (4-2, 2-0) to 7 p.m. Thursday night at Louisiana Leadership’s Doug Williams Stadium.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday at Southern University’s A.W. Mumford Stadium. SU’s Homecoming this weekend helped prompt the change.



How Live Oak High got a landmark victory vs. Denham Springs

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Live Oak head coach Brett Beard speaks with Hunter Kelley (2) during a timeout against Denham Springs, Thursday, October 8, 2015, at Denham Springs High School in Denham Springs, La.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK — Live Oak head coach Brett Beard speaks with Hunter Kelley (2) during a timeout against Denham Springs, Thursday, October 8, 2015, at Denham Springs High School in Denham Springs, La.

Brett Beard’s phone hasn’t stopped ringing. And when it’s not ringing, the tone that announces the arrival of yet another text message goes off.

Such is life for the Live Oak High football coach after his team pulled off the upset no one expected. Live Oak edged Livingston Parish rival Denham Springs High 16-14 in a District 4-5A opener at DSHS Thursday night.

O.K., it’s not Paul Revere’s shot heard around the world, but it is definitely notable locally, especially in 4-5A. It was the Eagles’ first win over Denham Springs in a varsity football game. LOHS moved up to 5A with the Yellow Jackets in 2009. And it came a year after DSHS beat Live Oak 64-20.

“My phone hasn’t stopped all day,” Beard said during a Friday break from class. “It’s either somebody calling or a text that says ‘Congratulations.’

“That’s all been great. The big thing is all of us as coaches are so proud of these kids. But you know, we’re the only ones who believed it was possible.”

With the win, Live Oak (4-2, 1-0) adds to the possible drama in the 4-5A race. Denham Springs (4-2, 0-1) returned much of its lineup from a year ago and is listed among the top contenders with seventh-ranked Zachary High and Scotlandville.

Most of Live Oak’s starters are new. And so is Beard, who rebuilt Woodlawn High into a playoff team in just two years. The former Vanderbilt and Southeastern Louisiana University lineman isn’t afraid to use whatever tools he can find for a rebuild.

Instead of just building on victories, Beard challenged his team to take key elements learned in losses to St. Amant and West Feliciana. Another loss, WFHS’ loss to University High, also factored in.

The first obstacle was to get the Eagles past a 35-13 loss to St. Amant that opened the season. Beard reminded his players the St. Amant game was their first with a new system and coaching staff. St. Amant, a team with a staff and system in place, was where LOHS wanted to be.

A 28-27 loss to Class 3A power WFHS in Week 3 was telling in a different way.

“So much of it is a mindset,” Beard said. “Some programs are told they should accept losing. And 10 minutes after the game, you’re laughing like you didn’t lose.

“That changed the week we played West Feliciana. We were down 12-0 and then came back and we were so close. They made a couple of plays at the end that made the difference and it showed us what we needed to work on.

“But the big thing was that one hurt. The players saw the hurt on our faces as coaches. And they hurt too. They really felt that loss.”

Beard also found other ways to build on the loss. He pointed out West Feliciana was a Class 3A semifinalist a year and ago and very talented. And when WFHS played top-ranked University High of 3A toe-to-toe before losing, Beard had another message for the Eagles.

“See how close you are,” Beard told his team. “This proves it.”

Proving that point against Denham Springs was a taller order. Beard and his coaches stressed the possibilities and kept it simple. A 30-yard field goal by Nathan Holliday with 1:10 remaining was the game winner for the Eagles, who held Denham Springs one final time defensively.

“We knew physicality was going to be so important,” Beard said. “We knew Denham Springs was bigger and their goal was to push us around. We challenged our guys to make sure that didn’t happen.

“We told them ‘Don’t let it be like every other time you’ve played them.’ When we held their own, we knew something special was possible.”

Like many others, Beard planned to watch Scotlandville (5-0) take on Zachary (4-1) Friday night at ZHS. And yes, he sees plenty of possibilities in 4-5A. Another Livingston team on the upswing, unbeaten Walker (5-0), hosts Central (3-2).

“I think you’ve got a group of teams that can be very good,” Beard said. “Not just one or two. This should be fun.”


— Live scores, red zone updates, more from Week 6 south Louisiana high school football action

— Live Oak ends drought against Denham Springs with 16-14 victory

LSU fund for Brossettes a classy move

Kudos to LSU.

To me, the Tigers scored big by establishing the Brossette Family Fund to help the family of LSU signee and University High running back Nick Brossette with family expenses.

The unexpected death of Brossette’s older brother Mendel Esnault over the weekend has devastated many, including the family and Esnault’s friends/former coaches.

Esnault assumed the role of a family breadwinner at a young age after he starred at Redemptorist as a linebacker/safety. Those responsibilities increased when Brossette’s mother, Rita, began battling breast cancer.

Rita Brossette is currently undergoing cancer treatment and is unable to work. Esnault leaves behind two small children. Brossette also has a younger brother.

Cynics may question the ethics of it, but Brossette is now an LSU signee who will enroll in a matter of weeks after graduating from U-High. I see this as LSU reaching out to help one of its own.

The link to the fund on explains that under NCAA rules, LSU is permitted to accept financial gifts and manage an account to assist the Brossette family. Those interested in assisting Brossette and his family can make contributions to the Tiger Athletic Foundation by going to

The website also notes that all contributions of any kind must go through this fund, in accordance with NCAA rules. Donors need to be aware that financial contributions to this fund are not tax deductible and not eligible for LSU Priority Points.

Another Fab Four?

The LSU men’s basketball program remains in the mix to sign guard Malik Newman of Mississippi-based Callaway High. Word leaked out earlier today that Newman will announce his college choice at noon Friday.

Kentucky also is part of the group of finalists for Newman. One might figure that signing Madison Prep guard Brandon Sampson on Monday was an indication that Newman is looking elsewhere.

I’m not so sure. During part of Monday’s press conference following Sampson’s signing, MPA coach Jeff Jones made an off-hand reference to a possible Fab Four.

So let’s count – No. 1 recruit Ben Simmons, No. 14 recruit Antonio Blakeney and Sampson, who is rated No. 39, make three. Newman, the nation’s No. 10 recruit according to ESPN, would be four.

Sampson admitted that Simmons and Blakeney impacted his decision. Makes you wonder if the LSU-bound trio is now talking to Newman.

Twitter, twitter big stars

Speaking of Sampson, St. John’s fans made a Twitter-based plea to get the Madison Prep guard to reconsider his decision to decommit from the Red Storm. Sampson’s Twitter feed received a number of messages in a short period of time over the weekend.

Ultimately, it didn’t work. But you have to wonder what the NCAA is thinking. Remember, the NCAA monitors the contact athletes have with coaches, including the use of text messages.

The NCAA can monitor coaches, but a highly motivated fan base armed with Twitter accounts is another matter entirely. Food for thought, don’t you think?




Death of Brossette’s brother a shock

Former Redemptorist football player Mendel Esnault, the older brother of LSU signee Nick Brossette of University High, died suddenly over night.

Disbelief was the basic emotion for most, including Central football coach Sid Edwards, who coached Esnault at Redemptorist.

“You know, it’s really hard to put it into words,” Edwards said. “Your heart goes out to that family. He’s got two young children and was such a significant presence for everyone in the family.”

Esnault, a linebacker-safety was part of two state championship teams when he played for Edwards at Redemptorist. He never realized his dream of playing college football, but he started ti groom Brossette for success back in 2003 right after the Wolves beat John Curtis to win the Class 4A state title.
Esnault had his young sibling walk the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with him after the game. That proved to be a pretty good prelude to Brossette’s prolific career as a U-High running back.

Just like his brother, Brossette closed out his career by winning a state title in the Dome as the Cubs beat District 7-3A rival Parkview Baptist to claim the Division II select crown last December.

Edwards and others focused on Esnault, who worked at a local plant. Edwards said Esnault had suffered a seizure several months ago and was stricken over night.

“He never got to play college football, but I’ll tell you he was one of the best who ever played for me,” Edwards said. “He was a defender who went after ball carriers like a heat-seeking missle. He was relentless.”


Edwards said he received word of Esnault’s death in the early morning hours and was soon getting calls from some of Esnault’s former teammates, including Jay Lucas and Alex McFadden.

Livonia head coach Guy Mistretta, the Redemptorist defensive coordinator during Esnault’s career, fought back tears as he remembered his former players.

“I’m having a hard time with this,” Mistretta said. “He was such a great player as a kid and such a fine young man. I really wanted to get him into coaching with me, but he just wasn’t in a place where he could do that.

“He was the man of the household for that family from the time he was 15 years old, but he never let on. He just went about his business.

“I keep thinking about Nick and the family and what they’ve lost. Mendel was so special. And they were so close. I have no doubt that Nick will go out and excel because of the example Mendel set.”

Mistretta and Edwards both recalled an incident that took place after Esnault’s senior football season.

The family was using a generator for power and was overcome with carbon monoxide poisoning. Esnault awoke and carried the other family members, including Brossette, to safety.

“I remember sitting next to Mendel’s bed in the hospital with Nick sitting on my lap,” Mistretta recalled. “The family’s been through so much. And now this.”

About 30 minutes after speaking with me, Mistretta sent the following text. He said he plans to tell his Livonia players Esnault’s story on Monday.

“We’re all having a tough day, so I’m not sure how well I expressed myself earlier. Mendel is the reason we do what we do. Helping a young man become the leader and the provider Mendel was is our goal as coaches. He is everything education (not just athletics) is about.”






LSU may win in Sampson’s recruiting twist

Madison Prep basketball star Brandon Sampson has no problems driving or spinning past opponents on the court. So it should come as no surprise that Sampson could pull off the recruiting version of 180 degree spin move.

The 6-foot-5 Sampson, Louisiana’s reigning Mr. Basketball and Class 1A Outstanding Player, is now set to sign at 10 a.m. Monday at the school.

My first reaction was “Wow” when I got the news of the signing ceremony from Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones.

Jones offered few clues but said that the decision could be a surprise. A surprise? But for who?

LSU was an original finalist for Sampson. Is Sampson’s decision to sign be a thumbs up for the Tigers? I say it is, even though LSU would seem to be an unconventional landing place.

Throughout his recruitment Sampson stressed his desire to play significant minutes as a freshman next season. There are no guarantees that Louisiana’s reigning Mr. Basketball will be able to do that in a crowded LSU backcourt.

Of course, the chance to be part of the Tigers top recruiting class in more than a decade has to be appealing. Not to mention the chance to play close to home in front of friends and family. After all, it worked for his former Madison Prep teammate Jarell Martin for two seasons.

Sampson committed to St. John’s earlier this year but reopened his recruitment late last month when the Red Storm fired Steve Lavin. New St. John’s coach Chris Mullin visited with Sampson over the weekend. Legendary coach Larry Brown visited too, but a visit to Brown’s SMU program didn’t pan out.

Others with local ties, including new Alabama coach Avery Johnson, the former Southern star and NBA player/coach, and former LSU assistant Butch Pierre of Oklahoma State, have been in the picture too.

Maybe the picture looks most in focus closer to home? Could be.


ESJHS adds experience to football staff

Some head football coaches collect tangible possessions like awards and equipment.

New East St. John coach Alden Foster has adopted a different approach. The former Amite High coach is collecting head coaches to join his staff.

Former Southern Lab coach Nick Mitchell, ex-Live Oak High coach Tut Musemeche and Bogalusa’s Craig Jones are all set to join Foster at Class 5A ESJHS.

Mitchell will serve as assistant head coach and work with the offense. Musemeche will be the offensive coordinator, while Jones will work with the defense. Foster’s defensive coordinator at Amite, Dwayne Davis, is already on staff.

“These guys are people I’ve always wanted to work with,” Foster said. “Tut and I have talked about it through the years and when we’ve played Bogalusa I’ve always talked with coach Jones.

“They’re all proven coaches. Nick took Southern Lab to the title game last year. They all bring a lot of experience with them.”

Foster was hired as the East St. John coach after leading Amite to its second runner-up finish over a four-year span in Class 3A in December. Mitchell, who resigned at SLHS last month, coached the Kittens to a runner-up finish in select Division IV.

Musemeche, who resigned at 4A Live Oak late last year, also has served as a head coach at St. Michael and St. John.

Foster said he decided to pursue his coaching colleagues based on the advice of another coach who recently made the jump from Class 3A to 5A, Zachary High’s David Brewerton. Brewerton moved from Livonia to ZHS last season.

“Coach Brewerton told me the one thing I had to do was get the best coaches I could,” Foster said. “He said on 5A the expectation is that every position has to be coached up to the highest level. So I tried to find the best people I could. These are guys I can trust.”

Dooley “released”

Christian Life Academy has confirmed that head football coach Keith Dooley is no longer with the school.

The Class 1A Crusaders of District 6-1A finished 2-8 last season. Dooley, who had two coaching stints at the school, compiled a record of 33-31 at CLA.

“We released coach Dooley on Friday,” CLA Athletic Director Steve Garcia said. “I can confirm that. Other than that, the school has no comment at this time.”

Ursin nets honor

Destrehan High sophomore Cara Ursin was selected as Louisiana’s Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

The 5-foot-7 sophomore averaged 26.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.9 steals a game for a DHS team that lost to eventual state champion Ponchatoula in the Class 5A semifinals last week.


Double-doubles and more hoops

By Robin Fambrough

High school basketball’s version of the double play is something everyone associates with University High. There’s a good reason for that.

The Cubs pulled off a unique double-double a year go when its boys and girls basketball teams won Class 3A state titles.

As the U-High girls play for a 3A state title on Friday night at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Top 28 tournament, the Cubs sit a game away from advancing to the next week’s Boys Top 28. UHS plays Port Allen in a quarterfinal set for 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Cubs are not the only local team with a chance to double up on LHSAA tourney time. The White Castle High boys travel to Lafayette Christian on Friday looking to advance to an LHSAA tourney a week after the WCHS girls made it to the 1A semifinals.

“Our girls did a great job and now it’s our turn,” White Castle coach Troy Green said. “There are some similarities. Our girls were No. 6 seed and so are we. Lafayette Christian was the team that knocked us out in this round last year, which left a bad taste in our mouths.

“We know Lafayette Christian is going to be a huge challenge. Going one through five they can all shoot the 3-pointer and handle the ball. We’ll have our hands full, but we’ve got out fans behind us. They want to see both teams make it to the state tournament.”

Ja’Tyre Carter leads the Bulldogs (26-7) in scoring with a 16.0 average. Jacorey Washington has averaged 20 points per game in the playoffs and is at 12.0 for the season. Samson Westley (13.0) and Jerrell Dominique (10.0) also help Green’s White Castle team that seeks its first Top 28 berth since 2012. The Bulldogs last won the 1A title in 2011.

Sportsmanship hearing set

LHSAA Assistant Executive Director Keith Alexander said a sportsmanship hearing set for 9 a.m. on April 8 will address what happened to halt Tuesday’s Class 3A playoff boys basketball between Albany and Evangel Christian.

The game was stopped with 3:24 remaining with Evangel leading by 12 points when an altercation that reportedly included spectators and players broke. Five Albany players who left the bench were ejected.

Albany elected not to complete the game with its five remaining players, giving Evangel a forfeit win.

A Tiger and a Techster

They played in different eras for two of Louisiana’s women’s college basketball powers. Mansfield coach Kendra Neal and University High’s Bonita Johnson also bring some prep history to their Class 3A title game set for 8 p.m. Friday at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Top 28 tournament.

Johnson, who played at Stephen F. Austin and LSU in the 1980s, played for then Class 4A DeRidder in the 1980 state tourney then known as the Sweet 16. Neal played for Class C Pelican, a school that was closed two years ago, in the early 1990s. She went on to play at Louisiana Tech.

Remember when?

Class 5A title-game foes Walker and Ponchatoula have to look back to 1977 as a significant year both share in girls basketball. Walker won the 2A state title that year and Ponchatoula was the 3A runner-up.

Louisiana Representative J. Rogers Pope, the former Livingston Parish Superintendent of Schools, was the Walker girls coach in 1977.







Jean Credit makes a Top 28 mark

By Robin Fambrough

LAKE CHARLES — Winning a state title and making some kind of mark at one of the LHSAA Top 28 tournaments is something we typically think about players doing.

Local official Jean Credit made some history when she was part of three-member crew that called the Florien-Stanley Class B semifinal game on Wednesday.

A former all-state player at Redemptorist, Credit played in the LHSAA tournament for the Wolves two times in the mid-1990s. At the time it was known as the Sweet 16 tourney and was played in Alexandria at the Rapides Parish Coliseum.

Credit went on to play at Southeastern Louisiana University and had a brief coaching stint at Istrouma before settling into a private sector job. She is in her fifth season as an official.

“It was my first game at the state tournament, which is a huge honor,” Credit said. “I’ve been working and going to a lot of clinics in the summer just hoping to get a chance like that.

“I didn’t think much about playing in the tournament until I got out there on the court yesterday. You could tell the the girls were nervous. They were trying so hard,  but they missed layups and fumbled the ball some. I remember doing that myself.”

Anthony Hall and John Fielding completed the all-Baton Rouge crew that called the Florien-Stanley game.

Albany-Evangel game under investigation

Assistant Executive Director Keith Alexander confirmed that the LHSAA is investigating the altercation that led to a forfeit in the Albany at Evangel Christian Class 3A boys basketball game played Tuesday at ECA.

“We’re in the process of getting copies of videos and reports from both schools,” Alexander said. “This is something we take very seriously.”

The altercation involved spectators and five Albany players were ejected for leaving the bench area with 3:24 remaining, according to reports by The Shreveport Times.

Albany was given the option to finish the game with its five remaining players, but declined. Evangel was ahead by 12 points when the game was stopped and plays at John Curtis in Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Alexander is currently in Lake Charles for the Girls Top 28 tournament and said no time table has been set for handling the investigation.

Southern Lab gets its man

Southern Lab’s hiring of former LSU and Glen Oaks quarterback Marcus Randall for its head football job was easy to peg.

Randall, most recently the offensive coordinator for his brother, Eric Randall, at Scotlandville High, said he was waiting for the right opportunity. With a number of top players returning for last year’s team that finished as the Division IV select runner-up, Southern Lab is a great situation indeed.

Randall was rumored to be the favorite days after former SLHS coach Nick Mitchell resigned. However, a list of impressive finalists also included Central assistant Ken Hilton and Episcopal assistant Jimmy Williams. The school interviewed a total of 12 candidates, including Redemptorist’s Terence Williams.

There will certainly be pressure on Randall. Older brother Eric coached an SLHS team led by future LSU and NFL player Marcus Spears to the Class 1A title game.

Bonine gets comfortable

LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine is officially on the job for the first time this week and he’s wasted no time getting involved at the Girls Top 28 tourney.

Bonine has worked his way around the arena, meeting and greeting coaches, administrators, players and fans. He’s also getting a first-hand look at how the LHSAA staff runs a championship event.

Top 28 stuff

Wednesday’s five-game session attracted 5,260 fans. The fact that nearby Lacassine played in one of the Class B semifinals played a huge role in the attendance figures.

Lacassine’s presence should boost the numbers again on Friday. The tourney’s two-day attendance total at Burton Coliseum is 7,361.






Notes from the LHSAA Girls Top 28 Basketball Tournament

LAKE CHARLES – A map is not just helpful, it’s necessary, if you’re looking to understand the last three years of Randy Carlisle’s coaching career.

Carlisle was all business after Summerfield notched a 50-38 victory over Plainview in the first Class C semifinal game that opened the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Top 28 tournament on Tuesday.

“It’s awesome to be here with this group,” Carlisle said. “It wasn’t our best game, but it was good enough to win.”

It was good enough to put the Rebels in Friday’s Class C title game just a year after Carlisle coached what he thought could be his last game in Louisiana for Class B Hosanna Christian.

A long time coach in north Louisiana and Texas, Carlisle came to Baton Rouge and Hosanna for the 2013-14 season. Hosanna made it to the Class B playoffs, but soon it was announced that the school was closing.

“I didn’t think I’d be here,” Carlisle said. “I’ve got a plan for a business and I was originally going back to Dallas. I coached in that area for a long time and I thought it would be easier for me to find a facility for my business there.”

Credit Summerfield Principal James Scriber for his pursuing Carlisle to coach the north Louisiana school’s boys and girls teams. Scriber and others knew plenty about Carlisle.

The year before his brief tenure at Hosanna, Carlisle coach another north Louisiana school, Castor, to the Class B boys semifinals. That year Castor lost to Madison Prep in the semifinals at SLU’s University Center.

“I was looking for a facility and the parish (Claiborne) was looking to sell the old Athens school so I’m going to be able to use that for my business,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle’s burgeoning business is a wellness program geared for people of all ages. For this week, the wellness of the two Summerfield teams comes first.

The top-seeded Summerfield girls play No. 2 Pleasant Hill in the Class C final set for 4 p.m. Friday at Burton Coliseum. His sixth-seeded SHS boys beat Singer 63-36 in a regional played Monday and will play a quarterfinal game on either Thursday or Saturday.

“Right now I’ve coached 72 games this year,” Carlisle said. “I’m blessed, but I’m also tired.”

LHSBCA Hall of Fame
The Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association is set to induct former coaches Clyde Briley, Billy Montgomery and Dale Skinner into its Hall of Fame on March 20 in Shreveport in conjunction with the LHSCA All-Star games.

Briley coached at Midland, while Montgomery coached at Haughton and Skinner is perhaps best know for his coaching stint at DeRidder.

The LHSBCA press release notes that the trio has “promoted the sport more than any combination of men in the state’s history. Together they have played on State Championship teams, coached State Championship teams, served as Principals of schools that won State Championships, served as Superintendents of Parishes that won State Championships and even officiated State Championship games.”

Another title tie
White Castle High junior Ashante Knight looks can carry on a family tradition if the Bulldogs win at the Girls Top 28 on Tuesday.

Knight’s brother, former LSU safety Ronald Martin, led the White Castle boys to a 1A state title in 2011.

– by Robin Fambrough