Lyle Johnson

Spartans advance with win over Sulphur

The East Ascension Spartans (6-5) used their home field advantage, topped only by Kyran Irvin’s outstanding offensive performance to topple the Golden Tors, of Sulphur, by a score of 52-14 in the first round of football playoff action. Irvin threw for two touchdown passes and ran for four more to cap a stellar performance, finishing the night with 114 yards rushing and 117 yards passing. Running back Joshua Bates led the rushing attack with 131 yards. East Ascension’s coach Paul Bourgeois led the Tors as head coach from 2002-09.

Two early turnovers gave Sulphur the opportunity to keep the game close as they converted both fumbles for touchdowns. But the Spartans scored the remaining 44 points unanswered for the victory.

East Ascension will face a tough one as the 16th-seeded Spartans will travel up to Shreveport to face the undefeated No. 1 seed C.E. Byrd Yellow Jackets (11-0) on Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Donaldsonville advances by downing Iowa

The Tigers of Donaldsonville kept their playoff hopes alive as they topped the Iowa Yellowjackets by the score of 24-13 with a well-rounded offensive and defensive performance on Friday night. The No. 21-seeded Tigers will host the No. 5-seeded Saints of West Feliciana at Floyd Boutte Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday.

Other playoff results

The Bulldogs, of Ascension Catholic, couldn’t quite hold off the much larger Madison Prep Academy team and fell by a score of 38-18. The Griffins, of Dutchtown, lost a heart-breaker to Barbe by the close score of 14-10, and the Gators, of St. Amant, took one on the chin as they lost to Acadiana, by the score of 37-0.

The No. 4-seeded St. Amant girls volleyball team took on No. 12 Fontainebleau in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. The Gator girls battled the Bulldog ladies for a 3-0 (27-25, 25-21, 25-20) win to advance to the semifinals. The Gator girls fought hard but lost to No. 1-seeded St. Joseph’s Academy 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-21).

There is hope!

Back in the early ’90s, Gary P. Shaffer, a biologist from Southeastern Louisiana University, began a study of the health of the Lake Maurepas swamp. Needless to say, the report wasn’t very positive. There is no new growth of cypress trees and the swamp is actually sinking.

Three things are culprits in the problem; first is the lack of nutrients. Plants and trees need nutrients and sunlight to produce energy to grow and survive. Because of the lack of fresh water flowing through the swamps, there is no food to sustain the present and certainly not enough to encourage new growth.

Second is salt water intrusion; this is old history as development of oil and gas canals as well as private development has allowed salt water to travel upstream farther and farther. That’s why we can catch specs and redfish in Blind River and Lake Maurepas during low rain summer months. Cypress trees handle the salt water better than Tuplelo gum but not at the rate it comes in now. Too much salt water without any flow of fresh water to compensate for the salinity will eventually kill the trees.

Third is the continuous flooding of swamps. The mature cypress and tupelo trees can handle submersion in water for an extended period of time, but seedlings and saplings need dry time to take root for survival.

Schaffer’s study and fix for the problem was named “The Hope Canal” project as fresh water from the Mississippi River would be diverted into Hope Canal in Garyville for dispersion in the Lake Maurepas swamp to add nutrients for the soil and push back the intrusion of salt water and its effects.

The project has been rebranded as the Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project. The studies are all done, all approvals are done and all it’s waiting on is funding. We may well have the opportunity to see it happen!

The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has chosen this project as one of five nominated to the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council for funding from a part of the BP oil spill penalty money. The state is asking the council for $14 million to help advance planning for the project.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reel or