By Doug Ireland
Evan Howe of North DeSoto High School was among nine north Louisiana senior scholar-athletes along honored last Thursday night at the annual National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet.
Receiving NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards and scholarship grants were Caleb Aillet of Byrd, West Monroe’s Tag Banks, Tonzaiha Bland of Logansport, St. Mary’s Graeme Fidelak, Luke Gibson of Mangham, Connor Heard from Minden, Benton’s R.J. Moore and Jed Worthey III of Cedar Creek.
Howe was the first recipient of the KTBS/Johnny’s Pizza Bob Griffin Scholarship, named in tribute of the iconic local TV sportscaster who covered area high school football and other sports for over a half-century. Griffin was also on the local NFF chapter’s board of directors.
Not only is Howe a well-decorated football player, but he’s also been part of a championship fishing team at North DeSoto. A hard-hitting linebacker, he was a two-year first-team all-district choice and made the All-Area first team last fall, also earning All-State honorable mention.
Carrying a 3.8 grade point average, Howe was already taking high school classes in algebra and English as an eighth-grader. He has continued to challenge himself academically with Advanced Placement classes in high school.
Howe helped with hurricane relief efforts in south Louisiana last year. He plans to attend Northwestern State and will compete on the Demons’ fishing team.
Head football coaches around north Louisiana nominated senior players who carry at least a 3.2 cumulative grade point average, have earned all-district honors and are involved in extracurricular activities. North DeSoto coach Dennis Dunn nominated Howe.
Logansport native Toni Mitchell Goodin is the secretary of the S.M. McNaughton north Louisiana chapter of the NFF and is the catalyst behind the annual awards dinner at East Ridge Country Club in Shreveport.
Also honored at the event were legendary retired Northwestern State football coach Sam Goodwin (Contributions to Amateur Football Award) and longtime KTBS-TV general manager George Sirven (Distinguished American Award).
Goodwin is the winningest football coach in Northwestern history with 102 wins from 1983-99. His Demons won conference championships in 1984, 1988, 1997 and 1998, making FCS playoff appearances in the latter three seasons and reaching the national semifinals in 1998.
Thirty-eight of his players reached the NFL, and 22 won All-American honors, including College Football Hall of Fame member Gary Reasons. Goodwin also coached 1998 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete winner Dr. William Broussard and two other Academic All-Americans, along with 42 all-conference selections. After ending his collegiate coaching and administrative career, his love for coaching the game returned him to prep football sidelines in Arkansas and then back in Louisiana at Pineville, Alexandria Senior High, Natchitoches Central, Lakeview and St. Mary’s.
The Pineville native is in the Southland Conference Hall of Honor, NSU’s N-Club Hall of Fame, and the hall of fame at his alma mater (Henderson State) and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame for his playing career at Henderson and his high school coaching accomplishments in the 1970s at Little Rock-Parkview, where his teams won five state championships in the nine seasons he started the program and coached there.
Sirven has managed KTBS as the station emerged as a significant community partner with its sponsorship of major events such as the Freedom Fest Fourth of July celebration, and promotion of many civic causes including St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
Last fall, KTBS celebrated the 25th anniversary of its popular Friday Football Fever scoreboard show, which was just named Best Sports Show by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. The native Cuban is a naturalized American citizen who early in his television career shot high school football footage for Griffin when both worked for KSLA-TV.
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