No, not a football bowl game. Actually, I’m talking about a bowling program in Ascension high schools.

Kyle Manton was an active bowler in leagues in the Baton Rouge area who switched over to a league at Premier Lanes when it opened in Ascension parish three years ago.

Bowling teams had been attempted in the past for area high schools but logistically could not be sustained because of the distance to travel for practices. The idea soon faded away, only to be a distant memory in the minds of those who gave it a try. Enter Kyle Manton and his idea of starting a team at St. Amant.

After getting an enthusiastic OK from the principal and athletic director, Manton found out much needed information from schools in Baton Rouge and got the bowling ball rolling.

In 2015, the St. Amant Gators, the Dutchtown Griffins and the East Ascension Spartans all will be competing in boys and girls bowling districts for the second year.

“Last year was our inaugural attempt, and since there was no bowling alley in our area, our kids ranged from first time on the lanes to some with a little experience,” Manton stated. “But with the Junior Leagues that were started at Premier, most of our bowlers now come with some good experience.”

The season begins in mid-January and practice is just getting underway. Each team bowls six players in a match each time out, so 10 to 12 members is a good size for a squad.

“The boys teams usually fill up, and this year we’ll have to cut some who are trying out to get down to numbers we need to give everybody a chance to bowl in competition. The girls teams are not full and there is room for a few more players to fill the teams up,” Manton said. “We need some more girls to join us out on the lanes.”

The Gators, Griffins and Spartans will compete against each other along with a few other local teams that are to be determined before the season begins. The teams will compete for the district title, then proceed through regional and bi-regional playoffs to eventually compete for the state title.

There are still spots available and plenty of time to try out and make the bowling teams.

So, anyone for a “bowl” game?

Eagle sighting

Along with the cold weather comes a yearly ritual that never happened years ago, then became a rare thing and now is fairly common for the sharp-eyed person — the return of the bald eagle.

I remember back about 35 years ago when a lone pair of bald eagles built a nest in the cypress swamp on Spanish Lake. Our area was abuzz with excitement, so much so that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries had to seek a law with a stipulation of how close a person could get to the nest so as not to harass the pair and make the birds leave.

Over those 35 years, the numbers of bald eagles nesting in Louisiana grew exponentially. In 1972, only six active nests were reported in Louisiana. By 2008, the bald eagle was removed from the federal endangered species list due to recovered populations. In 2008, Louisiana maintained 387 active nests that produced 530 fledglings.

The Amite/Blind River basin has plenty of those active nests, and there is one in Flat Lake, not far from my house. The pair has returned already this fall and probably has laid their eggs already.

Fish are a main part of their diet, so you’ll always find them nested near or on the water.

With a good eye, one could see them, but you have to look close. When a large bird catches my eye, it’s usually a buzzard, and it would be easy to take your eyes away. It’s worth the effort to take a little time because one time you’ll see a bright, white head or tail. Then your breath gets taken away.

Look for the eagles, we have more here than you might think.

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