Times – Captain Shreve football beats Natchitoches Central to go 7-0 for first time in 36 years

It’s tough to imagine Captain Shreve coach Bryant Sepulvado, 40, as a 4-year-old the last time the Gators were undefeated at this point in a season.

Second-year Natchitoches Central coach James Wilkerson, 38, was a 13-year-old Dequincy seventh-grader in 1996, the last time NCHS was 6-0. Both dreamed of becoming a head coach, but neither could fathom that their futures would converge Friday night with so much on the line.

With Florida State assistant coach David Johnson looking on, Shreve was able to get the upper hand in District 1-5A with a 31-20 victory.

The Gators went 9-0 in 1985 before losing the last two games, and Natchitoches was 7-0 in 1996 before losing to Byrd and finishing 9-1, according to Shreveport statistician Lee Hiller.

The last time two Shreveport-Bossier teams that were undefeated played each other in the seventh week came in 2013 when Byrd was 7-0 and Parkway was 6-0 after having one game canceled.

The Gators (7-0, 4-0) came in ranked No. 1 in the LHSAA Power Ratings, while NCHS (6-1, 3-1) was No. 8. Shreve won thanks to a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Kenyon Terrell, one from Matt Hall and a clincher from four-star recruit Kendrick Law Jr. in the closing minutes.

“It feels great, but everybody has been uplifting me,” Terrell said. “I may make a bad play, but somebody has my back.”

Shreve built a 24-0 lead then held on as NCHS stormed back behind quarterback Brian Young.

Neither squad is loaded with next-level talent. Law is the only player on either team who is being highly recruited. Gator defensive lineman Ckelby Givens has a Southern offer, while a few of his teammates are attracting Division II or III looks.

NCHS running back Caylin Demars and lineman Carey Johnson also have some small college offers.

But what both teams do have is a bunch of athletes who have bought into systems – something easier talked about than actually accomplishing.

“We’ve had successful teams in the past, but everyone didn’t have the full buy-in like this team has had since January,” Sepulvado said. “The kids are locked-in and the success we’ve had the past few years has helped. The team believes it can do it.”

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Captain Shreve holds off Natchitoches Central in battle of unbeatens

And then there was one.

Captain Shreve, ranked No. 1 in the Class A Power Ratings, and Natchitoches Central, No. 8 in the same rankings, brought their spotless records and confident teams to Lee Hedges Stadium Friday night with the hopes and dreams of their respective student bodies on the line.

And thanks to a superb running attack, the Gators took charge of the District 1-5A race with a 31-20 victory in front of a nearly packed house. It was the kind of night made for football and the teams gave fans plenty to revel in.

“You always want to be undefeated, but now we have a strangle hold on the district championship,” Shreve coach Bryant Sepulvado said. “I told the kids that somebody has to beat us to take it away so we’re in the driver’s seat.”

The Gators (7-0, 4-0 1-5A) got a pair of touchdowns from quarterback Kenyon Terrell, one from Matt Hall and a clincher from four-star recruit Kendrick Law Jr. in the closing minutes. It’s the first time since 1985 for Shreve to be undefeated at this point.

Natchitoches Central (6-1, 3-1) fell behind 24-0 but pulled within 24-20 midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a pair of touchdowns by quarterback Brian Young Jr. and one from Braylin Demars. But the Gator defense turned the visitors away twice on fourth down conversion attempts to remain in the lead.

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Captain Shreve’s Kendrick Law might be the most team player in the country

North Louisiana is well-known for its production of decoys, at least the mechanical kind, thanks to the team over at Duck Commander in Monroe.

Not so well-known are decoys of the human variety like Captain Shreve athlete Kendrick Law Jr. Although the senior has been offered by just about every school in the country, you’d never know it by looking at his stats. He might just be the most classic team player in the country.

Heading into Friday’s District 1-5A matchup with Benton, the 6-foot, 195-pounder had seven rushes for 28 yards, 10 receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns and one kickoff return for 46 yards – yawn. But you never hear him complaining about not getting the rock and he enjoys his teammates having success.

“All my brothers gotta eat,” he said. “I know they say I made it and they didn’t, but we all make it together. One go down, we all go down. If Shreve loses, it ain’t just me. It’s everybody.”

Alabama assistant coach and wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins was on the sideline Friday night during Shreve’s 48-35 win over Benton, watching not only how Law conducted himself on the field but how he dealt with his teammates. Wiggins coached fellow Louisianan DeVonta Smith, so he knows a thing or two about quality wideouts, which is what the Tide wants the multi-talented Law to play if he chooses Tuscaloosa as his landing spot.

“Louisiana always has a boatload of talent,” said Wiggins, who can’t comment on a specific recruit.

Some schools want Law as a defensive back, while others want his services on the offensive side of the ball.

“Kendrick is in the rare 1% of kids who can pick up the phone and go anywhere he wants,” Shreve coach Bryant Sepulvado said. “And there’s been zero issue with him not getting the ball as often as some kids at his level demand.”

Law got a few more touches than normal against the Tigers (4-2, 1-2). He had a short touchdown run along with a 48-yard, fourth-quarter run to help seal the game. He finished his night with seven rushes for 55 yards and five catches for 57 yards for the Gators (6-0, 3-0).

He also caused the Gators faithful to gasp when he went down with an ankle injury after a long reception to set up a Kendall Terrell touchdown late in the third quarter. But he was back in the game moments later.

“We never take an opponent lightly, but we came out and executed,” Law said. “We had a few mistakes and they cost us, but we made up for it in the end.”

Law said he was undeterred by having Wiggins on the sidelines.

“I never let that affect me whether they’re on the sidelines or in the stands,” Law said. “I still play my game no matter what.”

When Law goes in motion, he is tracked by two, sometimes three, defenders leaving teammates room to shine.

While Law was visiting with Wiggins on Friday afternoon at the school, he spent a lot of time promoting teammates like Braylon Finney, Matt Hall, William Moore, Cam Randolph and Marquez Stevenson, who having great seasons thanks to his ability as a decoy.

“That’s one of the things that makes him special,” Sepulvado said. “He understands football that when we motion him and three guys go with him, it’s hard.”

The Gators coaching staff has moved Law around the field attempting to get him open offensively, and opponents try to avoid his side as a defender.

“One good thing is they can’t get away from him on defense,” Sepulvado said. “In the kicking game, no one in their right mind will kick it to him.”

Like most teenagers, Law wants the ball, but he also wants to win. And he isn’t expected to make a college decision until Thanksgiving, depending on the Gators’ playoff run.

“Right now, he wants to concentrate on football and just have fun,” Sepulvado said. “His maturity and mental approach to the game, and his understanding of football, separate him from a lot of normal high school athletes.”

Read more and see videos at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Louisiana high school football 4-stars Kendrick Law, Trey Holly shine in Shreve-Union Parish game

Long before they met on the field Friday night at Shreveport’s Lee Hedges Stadium, Captain Shreve’s Kendrick Law Jr. and Union Parish’s Trey Holly had moved into elite territory.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Law, the No. 3 rated athlete in the country for 2022,  and Holly, the No. 7 running back in the country for 2023, are both four-star recruits, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Both scored  in Shreve’s 22-21 win. Holly had 219 yards on 29 carries, and Law caught a season-high six passes for 63 yards while also playing a solid game in the Gators’ secondary.

“It was definitely exciting and we knew going against Trey Holly was going to be a challenge,” Law said. “We knew if we could stop the run, we could do it. And as you can see, we did it.”

The 5-8, 180-pound Holly passed one test earlier this year when his Farmers won at Many, the defending Class 2A state champion. Following the game, he met up with Many 2023 four-star Tackett Curtis for a few words and a photo op

“Me and Tackett really have a good bond. We’ve been communication with each other way before that game,” Holly said. “We try to encourage each other to be a better payer and be humble because we know how fast it can be taken away.”

Shreve’s Bryant Sepulvado has coached just one other 4-star (Jonathan Stewart), and that was 12 years ago when he was an assistant coach at Byrd.

“It’s definitely a challenge to try to come up with a scheme to try to stop a talent like Holly,” Sepulvado said. “But that’s why we get into coaching. It’s exciting because you don’t get to see two kids this talented on the same field.”

Law can choose just about any school in the country he’d like to attend, and he hasn’t yet committed with early signing in December. Holly said he’s “still open and still looking” at the moment, but he has another year to decide.

Right now, Holly is a nearly unstoppable force behind an  offensive line that includes Jayden Washington, Raylen Hunter and Brandon Rosson. He entered Friday’s game averaging 212 yards per game and 8.7 yards per carry.

The Gators’ first two opponents, North DeSoto and Leesville, negated Law as an offensive threat at wide receiver, but lost by lopsided scores when they devoted too much manpower to Law allowing other Gators, like Braylon Finney, to shine. And as a defensive back, the senior All-State speedster scares quarterbacks from throwing his way. Matt Hall scored twice for the Gators against Union Parish.

Following Friday’s game, Holly sought Law for the same face-to-face he had with Curtis a couple of weeks ago. They didn’t get in a photo, but they did shake hands and share a couple words.

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Braylon Finney wins Shreveport Times Week 2 football Athlete of the Week

Captain Shreve’s Braylon Finney secured enough votes this week to win the Times online poll for Football Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.

A standout senior wide receiver for the Gators, Finney becomes the second football winner of the 2021-22 school year.

Finney and his supporters totaled 698 votes, a solid 24% of the 2,883 votes cast in the weekly online recognition. Those numbers allowed Finney to top a field of 11 additional candidates, including second-place Jacob Lafitte of Loyola College Prep, who totaled 496 votes (17%).

Captain Shreve's Braylon Finney

Finney will receive a backpack, a boxed lunch combo and some additional swag courtesy of Raising Cane’s.

Finney leads the Gators in receiving with 9 catches for 284 yards and a 31.6-yard-per-catch average through two games.  He had 183 receiving yards and two touchdowns last week in a 54-0 win over Leesville.

Read more at ShreveportTImes.com

Times – Captain Shreve’s Destinee Darnell tops Times top athlete voting

Captain Shreve’s Destinee Darnell secured enough votes this week to win the Times online poll for Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.

Darnell and her supporters racked up 28,604 votes, a solid 49% of the 58,228 votes cast in the weekly online recognition. Those numbers allowed Darnell to top a field of 11 additional candidates, including Northwood cheerleader Kadence Peal, who made a strong run for the recognition with 24,098 votes (41%).

A cheerleader since the third grade, the senior has cheered at Shreve for four years. She enjoys writing poems, and being a member of BSA and National Honor Society.

“Destinee was also a part of the photography club, BETA club, and Fellow Christian Athletes,” Shreve cheer sponsor Alicia Carroway said. “She was also an All-American Cheerleader. Throughout her four years of high school, Destinee has taken the leadership roles as captain of freshman cheer and co-captain of junior varsity cheer.”

Darnell maintained straight A’s her senior year and posted a 4.7 GPA. She plans to attend Southern-Baton Rouge to major in nursing.

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Captain Shreve’s Mikel-Ann Ricardo tops Times top athlete voting

Captain Shreve’s Mikel-Ann Ricardo secured enough votes this week to win the Times online poll for Athlete of the Week, sponsored by Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.

A standout softball player for the Lady Gators, Ricardo becomes the third Captain Shreve athlete to win the poll this school year, joining cheerleader Alexis Haley and soccer player Kiley Rourke.

Ricardo and her supporters racked up 31,335 votes, 32% of the 96,566 votes cast in the weekly online recognition. Those numbers allowed Welch to top a field of nine additional candidates, including Parkway baseball standout Brady Norcross, who had 25,604 votes (26%) and Evangel trickster Aaronyana Wilson, who finished with 17,309 (18%) votes.

Ricardo, who won for a second time in two years, will receive a backpack, a boxed lunch combo and some additional swag courtesy of Raising Cane’s.

“Mikel-Ann was one of my players who I knew was going to give 100% effort on the field,” Shreve coach Mitch Fant said. “She drove in the winning run against Northwood at the end of our season for a ‘walk off’ win that helped propel us toward a playoff appearance this season.”

Ricardo is hitting .366 with one home run, six doubles and 22 RBIs on the season. On the mound, she has 185 strikeouts in 161 innings with a 9-20 record.

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Captain Shreve hires Sonny Kerbow as volleyball coach

New Captain Shreve volleyball coach Sonny Kerbow expects to bring something new to volleyball in the region when he takes over the Lady Gators.

“I plan to bring a different type of game than most people are accustomed to in Northwest Louisiana,” Kerbow said Monday. “We’ll have a more advanced power game – not the ‘let’s just get the ball back over the net’ type of play. We want to be able to compete with the teams in south Louisiana.”

Kerbow replaces Shio Bolkeim, who lost his battle with cancer at the start of last season. Shreve assistant principal Marita Hunt coached the team during most of the 2020-21 season.

A Texas native, Kerbow has an extensive coaching record at a number of levels that he brings to Gatorland. He currently works with the juniors’ program with the Twin Cities Elite club volleyball team.

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

Times – Captain Shreve tops Benton in battle of NW La. teams

HAMMOND – In a classic battle of District 1-5A foes, Captain Shreve captured its second LHSAA Class 5A state championship in three years Saturday night in Southeastern Louisiana’s University as the last of 12 title tilts.

Captain Shreve (21-5) defeated Benton (17-7) won 50-39 in a game that probably should have been played in Bossier City’s Brookshire Grocery Arena.

The Lady Gators asserted themselves late in the third quarter behind Kyra Stokes and Kiayra Ellis, expanding to a 15-point lead to keep the Lady Tigers from repeating as state champs. Ellis, an Arkansas State signee, was selected the game’s MVP after posting a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Benton and Captain Shreve battled for the LHSAA Class 5A state title Saturday night in Hammond.

Shreve’s Jordan McLemore and Benton’s Anna Robins were selected the Horizon Award winners from their schools for their commitment to community and scholastics.

The Lady Gators used their superior length to hold Benton’s Jada Anderson to just 11 points on a 4-of-16 shooting night before she moves on to ULM.

Although players on both sides are familiar with each other and the school’s principals have long ties, the game was a battle of the fittest from the opening tip. Benton struggled to adjust to Shreve’s reach in the early going, but the Lady Tigers were ignited by super sub Riley Grace Stanford (14 points) after Ellis gave the Lady Gators an early lead.

By halftime, Shreve led 19-16 as nerves and defense kept the offensive scoring to a minimum.

Read more at ShreveportTimes.com

See also: Captain Shreve, Benton showcased power of District 1-5A in LHSAA girls basketball

Times – Captain Shreve’s Anthony Bryant shatters backboard with dunk

There wasn’t much time remaining in the third quarter of last week’s Captain Shreve-Byrd basketball game when Shreve’s Anthony Bryant created a memorable experience for the socially distanced fans in attendance.

Bryant came racing down the court in the Gator gym behind junior point guard Kyron Reed, who missed on a short pull-up jumper. The 6-foot-2 Bryant saw the opening for an easy bucket and went for it.

He slammed the ball through the hoop. Trouble was, the backboard, which was installed this summer, was shattered by Bryant’s follow through.

The cheer squad could be seen gasping in the stands behind the goal as glass scattered. No students were injured.

Read more (and see video) at ShreveportTimes.com