Collins, Matthews Help Lead Panthers

Collins, Matthews Help Lead Panthers

The Panther football program surprised some in the state of Louisiana during the COVID-shortened 2020 football season. The Panthers, led by second year Head Coach Marcus Randall, finished the season by hosting a first round playoff game. Although Woodlawn High fell short in that game, they far exceeded most expectations by ranking in the top 16 of the LHSAA Class 5A Power Rankings.

Cornerback Jordan Matthews has received scholarship offers from Mississippi State, Virginia, and FAU.

Members of the Class 2023 helped supply the Panthers with lots of offensive firepower and many defensive stops. Quarterback Rickie Collins and cornerback Jordan Matthews were two student-athletes that excelled on the field in the fall. At the conclusion of the season, the pair was named to the 2020 District 5-5A All-District team. However, the recognition that the two received did not stop in the fall.

Both Matthews and Collins have since received several scholarship offers from colleges around the country. Matthews was the first to receive an offer, from SEC West member-school Mississippi State. That offer came in early January, and was quickly followed by and offer from the University of Virginia only three days later. Florida Atlantic University was the third school to offer Matthews.

“I knew that I would eventually get offers, but I had no idea that they would come this early,” said Matthews. “I also realized that getting the offer was not the ultimate goal, so I have to continue to outwork others to continue to succeed.”

Not to be outdone, Collins was the next out of the pair to receive an offer. He didn’t just receive one or two offers, Collins received three offers in a two and a half week period. The University of Memphis offered, followed by the University of Arkansas. Virginia Tech offered Collins a scholarship two days after Arkansas.

Rickie Collins had received scholarship offers from Arkansas, Virginia Tech, and Memphis.

“The Class of 2023 is full of really good quarterbacks in the state,” said Collins. “I knew that some of them had already received some scholarship offers, but I knew that my offers would eventually come. Most athletes don’t get any offers until their junior or senior year, so I knew that mine would come when it was my time.”

Collins and Matthews both acknowledge their excitement at receiving interest from major college programs. They were both able to point out what led to this interest.

“First, our intelligence is high. Both on the field, and in the classroom,” explained Matthews. “We have high field IQ, and we also have high GPAs.”

Matthews, who is a student in the Great Scholars Academy, carries a 4.6 GPA. Collins, who takes traditional classes, carries a 3.5 GPA.

“I want to piggy-back off of what Jordan said, and add that we also have a lot of people in our corner,” said Collins. “Our coaches and family have always had our back, and always helped promote us.”

As the discussion with Collins and Matthews continued, the two student-athletes continually brought up their teammates.

“Football is a team sport, and the two of us aren’t the only reason that we have a chance to be a good team,” said Matthews. “We need everyone to contribute to the success of the team. We have a lot of talented players on both sides of the ball in our class.”

Offensively, offensive lineman Roy Brackins and wide receivers Clayton Adams and Tramon Douglas were mentioned multiple times. Defensive linemen Devyn Jones and Devin Boyd, along with defensive backs DJ Delmore and Dawaun Harris, are defensive players from the class of 2023 that Collins and Matthews talked about.

“Roy is going to be next. His size, smarts, and athletic ability on the offensive line are getting him attention already,” said Collins. “Clayton and Devin and Devyn will get some (scholarship offers) as well. Hopefully schools coming to see us will notice all of the other talented players that are on the field.”

The attention that Collins and Matthews bring to Woodlawn High will, undoubtedly, bring higher expectations. The two understand that, and are ready for it.

“Our expectations are to win championships. Anything less than that is a failure, in my eyes,” said Collins. “We have all the tools; players, coaches, and support. I realize that I have to be the leader, I have to work harder than everyone else, and that will lead my teammates to work harder.”

Panther Seniors Participate in National Signing Day

Panther Seniors Participate in National Signing Day

On Wednesday, February 3rd, three Panthers were able to sign paperwork to continue their academic and athletic careers at the next level. Lanard Harris, Terrell Landry, and Eric Randall were fortunate enough to participate in the celebration, which included teammates, family members, and friends.

National Signing day is a very special day for student-athletes and the families. This is the day where seniors that have been offered to continue their playing careers at a higher learning institution, while furthering their education, make their official decision on where they will be attending college. In this case, those institutions will in turn grant scholarships to these student- athletes.

Harris wass a three-year All-District player for the Panthers. Harris played defensive back and outside linebacker, while also lining up at wide receiver and kick returner. Harris was also a two-time state champion hurdler. He chose to sign with Cisco College in Cisco, Texas.

Landry was a two-year starter on the defensive side of the ball for Woodlawn High. As a senior, his season was cut short due to injury. Ever the team player, Landry continued to support his team daily at practices and games. He has also been on the baseball team for all four years of his high school career. Landry chose to sign with Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama.

Randall was an All-District defensive back in his only season as a Panther. The highly-touted recruit transferred to Woodlawn High with several scholarship offers. Randall chose to honor his commitment to the University of Memphis by signing with the Tigers on National Signing Day.

Head Coach Marcus Randall had both advice and praise for this group of seniors.

“On this day you have not only made a four year decision on college, but a 40 decision for the success of your life,” said Coach Randall. “I wish the very best to all of our 2021 senior
football players. You guys have done a great job of setting and leaving a legacy here at Woodlawn High School. You will always be remembered and are always welcome here at Woodlawn High School.”

Panthers Sign Letters of Intent

Panthers Sign Letters of Intent

Woodlawn High School celebrated the careers of five football student-athletes who will continue their playing careers on the collegiate level. The seniors celebrated this accomplishment with family, friends, teammates, coaches, and support staff in the library at Woodlawn High School.

Caleb Blanchard, Carl Owens, and Jonero Scott each signed with the University of Arkansas at Monticello. Located in Monticello, Arkansas, the Division II program is home to former Panther Jonathan Scott.

Caleb has played wide receiver for four seasons at Woodlawn High. He carries a 2.7 GPA at Woodlawn High. Caleb was named to the 5-5A All-District Second Team during his senior season.

Carl has been a member of the football team at Woodlawn High for the past two seasons as an outside linebacker and defensive end. Carl has also played basketball for all four years at Woodlawn. Carl carries a 3.93 cumulative GPA.

Jonero will join his older brother as a running back in Arkansas. Jonero has a 2.8 GPA at Woodlawn, and has played football all four years. Jonero was named to the 2019 5-5A All-District Second Team.

Defensive Back Chris McNair, a four year member of the Panther football team, will continue his academic and athletic career at San Joaquin Delta College, located in Stockton, California. Chris currently has a 2.6 GPA.

Offensive Lineman Quentin Ross signed letter of intent to join Garden City Community College. Quentin plans to continue his academic and athletic career for the next two years in Garden City, Kansas. Quentin currently carries a 2.5 GPA. Quentin was named to the 2019 5-5A All-District Second Team.

Coach Randall was extremely pleased with these five student-athletes. While addressing the crowd, he expressed how proud he was with the accomplishments these young men had achieved over the past four years and looks forward to their future at the next level and beyond.

Fall Sports Begin

Fall Sports Begin

With the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year comes the beginning of 2018 Fall Sports. Cross Country, Football, Swimming and Volleyball seasons begin in August. Practices for all four sports are currently underway, with the first official contest for each of the sports taking place in the final week of August.

Students interested in participating in any of these fall sports are invited to contact the prospective head coaches. While some sports have limitations on students returning to Woodlawn High School, all freshmen and new students are invited to participate.

Students interested in running Cross Country should contact Coach Rogers ([email protected]). Coach Rogers can be found in the library throughout the school day.

Coach Luquet ([email protected]) is the Head Football Coach. Coach Luquet invites all new students and all freshmen who are interested in playing football to speak to him in the courtyard before school or during either lunch shift.

Ms. Heyer ([email protected]) invites all students, new or returning, who are interested in swimming to see her in room 1208 during their lunch shift.

All new students interested in playing volleyball should see either Coach Malpica ([email protected]) or Coach Gonzalez ([email protected]). Coach Malpica can be found in room 1211, while Coach Gonzalez can be found in the gym.

In addition to the four sports beginning now, several other sports will begin practice and contests during the fall semester. Wrestling, led by Coach Guidry ([email protected]) can begin practice on October 1st. The boys and girls basketball teams can begin practice on October 8th. Students interested in basketball should contact Coach Fernandez ([email protected]).

Boys and girls soccer will be the next sports to begin practicing, with the first official practice date set on October 22nd. Female students interested in playing soccer this year are asked to see Coach Hampton ([email protected]) in room 206 as soon as possible. Male students should listen for upcoming announcements from Coach Barnes ([email protected]).

Powerlifting will begin in November. Athletes interested in powerlifting should speak to Coach Baronich ([email protected]).

While bowling, golf, and tennis will not begin until the spring semester, interested students are invited to contact their coaches now. Prospective bowlers should contact Coach Gonzalez. Coach Malpica should be contacted by any interested golfers. Any students interested in joining the tennis team should contact Coach Broussard ([email protected]).

With the multitude of fall sports going on at Woodlawn, the hope is that every student is able to find something to interest them!

Woodlawn Seniors Shine in 49-13 Rout of Tara

Woodlawn Seniors Shine in 49-13 Rout of Tara

Jerit Roser, www.datboot.com

Woodlawn was dominant from the onset Thursday en route to a sixth straight victory.

Xavier Lodge prepares for the snap versus Tara.

The Panthers’ defense immediately set the tone, and the offense exploded for its highest point total in more than a year in the 49-13 rout of visiting Tara (3-4, 0-2).

“That’s why we always defer,” coach Daniel Luquet said. “We want to get our defense on the field, because they’re the best part of our team right now. Not taking anything away from our offense. But when you’ve got the players we’ve got on our defense, you want to get them on the field and give an offense a sense of what they’re gonna be up against the rest of the night.

“We’ve really stressed turnovers because that’s the one thing this defense hasn’t really had a lot of is turnovers. Now the last two weeks we’ve gotten a couple here and there. And I’m telling you, when you’re playing that good of defense and you can turn the football over and give your offense a short field like we did tonight, we can be really good.”

Senior linebacker Anthony Arinze intercepted the Trojans’ second play from scrimmage and returned the ball 25 yards to the 6-yard line.

An offsides penalty brought Woodlawn to the 3-yard line, and senior running back Chris Middleton Jr. scored on first down.

“We knew it was gonna be pass all the way, so I dropped back in coverage and I don’t think the quarterback saw me,” Arinze smiled. “They had a lineman between me and the quarterback. All I saw was the ball come out, and I just went for it and tried to run around the corner and get an edge.”

Brian Byrd fires a pass against Tara.

The Panthers (6-1, 2-0) forced a three-and-out on Tara’s next possession, and senior quarterback Brian Byrd and the offense got quickly back to work again.

Woodlawn marched back down the field for a 12-yard touchdown from Byrd to senior Evin Puckett.

“Me and Brian’s relationship is very good,” Puckett said. “We’ve got good chemistry on and off the practice field. We just hook up and do good things and make big plays on the football field … We’re doing good.”

The defense continued to stifle Tara, other than occasional long runs by standout running back Chris Avery.

And Byrd and company used their opportunities to further extend the lead with second-quarter strikes to Puckett and junior Bryson Reaser.

“I feel good back there,” Byrd said. “From Week 1, things were kind of shaky and we didn’t have as much chemistry. But now, Week 7, I feel comfortable back there. We’ve got some playmakers on the outside. And my job is to just get them the ball.”

The Panthers pinned Tara deep in its own territory in the final minutes of the half and sacked the punter at the 2-yard line to regain possession and set up an immediate touchdown run by Xavier Lodge for the 35-0 halftime margin.

“It feels good,” said Lodge of his opportunities to help the team on both sides of the ball. “My mindset is to score. That’s how I feel. It feels good when I play both sides.”

Avery broke free for a long third-quarter touchdown to break the shutout.

But Woodlawn answered twice to further seal the contest.

A second short run by Lodge capped a 90-yard drive late in the third, and sophomore running back Ray Sierra burst 36 yards into the end zone to push the lead to 49-6.

And Jadarius Givens rushed for a late Tara score, but only after the contest was well out of reach.

“To me, the defense, we did excellent,” said senior defensive back Jonathan Scott, who intercepted a pass in the end zone and broke up multiple other attempts. “We’ve got little stuff to pick up and patches to fill. But other than that, we’re ready.”

Chris Middleton sheds a Tara defender.

Byrd completed 12 of 22 attempts for 166 yards — led by 53 on two passes to Puckett and 48 on three to Reaser — and ran four times for 18 yards.

Lodge and Middleton led the rushing attack with 87 and 77 yards, respectively, and Joshua London and Sierra added 37 and 36.

Woodlawn finished with 280 rushing yards and 195 passing yards, and the 49 points marked the team’s most since Sept. 16, 2016, at Lafayette.

The Panthers’ six-game win streak marks the program’s longest since claiming eight straight victories in 2010.

“We knew it was going to happen,” Lodge said. “We just had to build. Last year we had a lot of young players, but most of them are seniors this year, so we’re ready to rock and roll now.”