VooDoo loses 62-56 nail-biter in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland receiver Jamar Howard scored a touchdown on a New Orleans VooDoo onside kick with 2:05 remaining late Thursday night, sealing the Thunder’s 62-56 comeback win.

The VooDoo (2-12) came into Thursday’s showdown on a five-game losing strike but nearly matched Portland (4-10) score for score.

New Orleans erased an early 14-0 deficit and rallied to take a 28-27 halftime lead.

The Thunder offense recovered, however, and didn’t turn the ball over for the rest of the game, scoring a touchdown on every second-half drive.

The Portland defense intercepted two passes off the arm of VooDoo quarterback Adam Kennedy, and the Thunder ended the game by forcing incomplete passes on four consecutive downs.

Thunder quarterback Kyle Rowley threw seven touchdown passes. Kennedy completed 18 of 37 passes for 202 yards and five touchdowns.

The VooDoo hosts the Pittsburgh Power at 8:30 p.m. July 7 at the Smoothie King Center.

‘Toe’ Nash to be profiled on ESPN

Gregory “Toe” Nash, the Ascension Parish native who gained nationwide fame as the ultimate hidden-gem baseball prospect but soon found himself behind bars, will be profiled Sunday on ESPN, the network announced.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays discovered Nash, a semipro ballplayer who hit with power from both sides of the plate and had a promising arm to boot. But after just one year of pro ball, legal trouble sent Nash to prison for nearly a decade.

The feature, reported by Jeremy Schaap, debuts on “Outside the Lines” at 8 a.m. Sunday on ESPN and will air again at 9 a.m. on “SportsCenter.”

The feature will re-air in other editions of “SportsCenter” throughout the day.

SAU softball coach resigns for post at ULM

MAGNOLIA, Ark. — Southern Arkansas University softball coach Corey Lyon has resigned to take the coaching position at Louisiana-Monroe.

Lyon spent three years as SAU coach and compiled a a 37-26 record this past season as SAU won the Great American Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA regional tournament.

Panthers take Ekblad with top pick in NHL draft

PHILADELPHIA — The Florida Panthers have selected defenseman Aaron Ekblad with the first pick in the NHL draft.

The 6-foot-4, 214-pound Ekblad played for Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League.

Compiled from news releases and the Associate Press

He is the first defenseman to go No. 1 since St. Louis took Erik Johnson in 2006.

Without a clear cut No. 1, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon was open to trading the pick. In the end, he decided to take the 18-year-old defenseman with the first selection at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Panthers had a top-three pick in the NHL draft for the fourth time in the past five years. The first three — defenseman Erik Gudbranson (in 2010), wing Jonathan Huberdeau (2011) and center Aleksander Barkov (2013) — all played significant roles last season.

Saints players appearance rescheduled

The New Orleans Saints’ autograph and picture session at The Pelican House has been rescheduled for July 19.

The event was originally planned for Saturday.

Saints receiver Kenny Stills and defensive backs Jairus Byrd, Kenny Vaccaro and Stanley Jean-Baptiste will be at The Pelican House, 2572 Citiplace Ct. in Baton Rouge, at 1 p.m. July 19 for autographs and pictures.

Tickets are $30 and are available at thepelicanbar.com.