Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Flooded crops

 Farmers throughout Evangeline Parish took a massive hit to their crop production with the widespread flooding that inundated the area because of heavy rains that fell within a few days of each other in late April and early May. 
 “It’s widespread,” County Agent Todd Fontenot said to describe the amount of the damage associated with the flooding. 
Ted Buller described the damage as “pretty devastating.” Buller, along with his nephew Brad Fontenot farm 1200 acres of rice and 1100 acres of soybeans in the Pine Point area. “We’re currently trying to plant beans, but it’s still wet. We’re not able to get back to the fields just yet.”
 Mamou Mayor Ricky Fontenot heard through word of mouth around town that some of the farmers in the area “have lost all of their crops.”
 One Mamou area farmer that sustained damage is Cody Bieber, who farms with his father Larry at Bieber Farms. “We had quite a bit of acres that went under the water, and it’s too early to tell how much damage will be done,” he said. “We had some that stayed under water seven and eight days.” 
Todd Fontenot went on to say most of damage associated with the flooding is to the rice fields. “We tried to get an estimate last week, and I guess we came somewhere in the neighborhood of around 15,000 acres of rice that was flooded over when it shouldn’t have been and in most cases at least for a number of days,” he said. “Now there’s still a lot of that area even into the Miller’s Lake area and The Platain that still has water on top of rice.” 
 “We have a lot of farmers in the Vidrine, Reddell, and Bond area that are still under water currently, and they have rice crops that are underneath that water,” Buller added. “It’s gonna be devastating to a lot of guys once this water recedes.”
Fontenot added, “A lot of it has kinda receded, but there’s still a lot a lot of water covering some rice that shouldn’t be on top of it where it shouldn’t be. So acreage wise that’s getting close to one-third of our acres in the parish, and most already got covered or flooded over where it shouldn’t have been.”
 The amount of flooding causes the rice stems to become stressed and pushes farmers back in applying fertilizers and herbicides. “For some of that rice, it was time for herbicide application or fertilizer application, and in some cases if you’re not applying some fertilizer and you get those big rains, you lose some of that fertilizer,” Fontenot said. “Some of it washes out. Some of it goes down to the bottom pretty quick in a flood with rice, but in no way is it good for it.”
 “A lot of the rice that’s being affected,” according to Fontenot, “is about midseason already when normally you put the final application of nitrogen, so they’re gonna be delayed even though the water goes down.” He continued, “You want that rice plant to get back strong before you apply that fertilizer so that it can take it. If it’s stressed and weakened, it’s not gonna utilize the fertilizer like it needs to if it’s not already suffering.”
 Buller said his soybean plants will not be set back a whole lot but remains anxious of the outcome of his and other farmers’ rice yields. “We don’t know the outcome of what the rice yield is
gonna be with all this water on it because most rice is at a very critical stage in its growing period to not have all this water covering the top of it,” he said.
 Fontenot went on to describe the kind of water flowing into the rice fields. “It’s muddy water,” he said. “It’s not clear.  It’s not just clear rain water. It’s muddy bayou water and runoff of soil, so that eliminates light.”  
 Bieber farms between 2100 and 2200 acres of rice, and around 400 or 500 of those acres were flooded. He does not know the long-term effect the flooding will have. “We never experienced it at this stage in the rice to know what it’s gonna do,” he said. “I’ve never experienced this much water at this stage of the rice. I’m sure it will have some yield effect. I don’t know.”
 “So we won’t know until we harvest it what exactly the yield loss will be, but there will definitely be a yield loss in the long term effect at this time, but we won’t know until August what’s gonna take place,” added Buller.
 While Buller predicts a yield loss, he remains unsure on how the rice prices will be affected. “Arkansas lost a tremendous amount of rice as well, and I think that could possibly maybe make a price swing, but time will tell on that issue.”
 Soybeans, according to Fontenot, were not as affected as the rice because it is earlier in the planting process. “We’d estimated we had about one-third of the beans planted in the parish, maybe a little less,” he said. “About 60-70 percent of what was planted is most likely going to be replanted, maybe not quite that high because a lot of the farmers who were able to plant soybeans planted on higher ground not so much is rice fields.”
 Like the rice, the stands of the soybean plants will be impacted by the flooding. “Soybeans were just planted, so it’s mostly gonna affect the stand to try to get a stand,” said Fontenot. “If some were planted, they just rotted in the ground because they stayed so wet.”
 Another area of Evangeline Parish agriculture that was impacted is crawfish because some ponds flooded over as well. “Fisherman even in ponds that didn’t flood over weren’t able to crawfish in some of the ponds because you’re already holding a lot of water in a crawfish pond, and then that water gets deeper,” Fontenot said. “Sometimes it covers your traps even before you can let it settle back down, so a lot of crawfishermen were not able to fish some ponds. Some people couldn’t get to ponds. It causes a lot of extra work, and stress, and issues.”
 According to Bieber, “Some of (our crawfish ponds) got flooded, too, but not as bad as the rice.”
 Pastures and hay fields around the parish have also been hit hard. “Several acres have gone under water,” said Fontenot. “A few guys had to move cattle around because the pastures were flooded, and the cattle were standing in water.”
 One crop that was exempt from the flood damage is sweet potatoes that are grown on the higher ground in the eastern part of the parish between the Faubourg and Grand Prairie areas. Larry Fontenot continues to farm his family’s sweet potatoes after the passing of his father Earl.
 “The flood did not affect us that much,” admitted Larry. “The first rain event that took place was a welcomed rain event because we were very dry, and then the one that fell during the middle of the week was not needed, but it did not cause any problems for us other than just a start in planting.”
 “We didn’t have any crop planted at the time,” he continued. “We didn’t have any flooding. We didn’t have any fields that flooded or crops that got destroyed with this recent rain. When you get water backed up into a sweet potato field, usually it’s because we’re very close to a big drainage ditch, canal, or bayou. But for the most part all of your sweet potato ground is relatively high.”    

Warriors dominate at Bernie Moore

 Bernie Moore Track Stadium on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge was again home of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Outdoor Track and Field State Meet May 4-6, 2017. Oakdale sent 11 students to take part in the second day of the event on Friday with its boys’ and girls’ teams each coming out in the top 10 of the Class 2A rankings as seven of the competitors received medals from LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine.
 “It was exciting,” said boys’ coach Michael Deville. “We had several of our kids make it to the podium, and we had a couple state champions. So that’s always fun.”
 Two feet separated Hunter Longino and Travian Daily in the boys’ discus as Longino threw for 135-feet to come out in first place and Daily came out second with a throw of 133-feet. 
 “Much less qualifying two guys in the same event but going one-two in the same event is pretty impressive,” Deville said. “We have a senior who’s led the way all year, and we had a sophomore who had been chasing him. And tonight the sophomore ended up winning the state championship, and the senior came out second.”
 “What a great senior year I finished out,” Daily said. “I'm the District champion, Regional champion, and now state runner up in 2A. I've been having trouble with my knee but everything happens for a reason. I thank God for allowing me to make it this far. Congratulations to Hunter Longino for being the 2017 state champion in discus. We came out one and two. Coach said we was the first to do this at state for Oakdale. Thank God for blessing me with amazing coaches that pushed me every step of the way.”
 A Lady Warrior also earned a first-place medal throwing the discus in the shadows of Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Darien Phillips with a mark of 113-03 beat out K'Yana Jackson from Jonesboro-Hodge and Anna Bristo from Ouachita Christian. 
 Jondasha Davis, who took home a first-place medal in the state indoor meet, took home two medals this time around. She finished behind Kaprecia Cowans of Jonesboro-Hodge and Carlyle Wirtz of Ouachita Christian to come out third in the girls’ long jump with a mark of 16-11. In the girls’ 4x100, she along with Treshunda Joseph, Alexis Davis, and Shadiamond Johnson finished behind Mentorship Academy and Riverside to come out third running 51.25.
 “It’s always a big deal to have girls come and compete at this level,” said girls’ coach Ladeshia George. “It’s very rewarding for them to understand how they rank amongst other people in the state. Coming from a small parish, it’s good to know that you can compete with other people.”
 Both coaches expressed ways they can use this opportunity to build for next season. “The big thing is that we have another guy a sophomore who’s gonna be able and step in and take the place of the senior, and the kid who qualified tonight should just get better,” Deville said. “I’m excited about our field events for the next couple years.”
 “Luckily and fortunately for the girls, we are a very young team,” said George. “We’re losing two seniors that are a big part of the team; however, we have some freshmen in place right now that will be able to step up into those roles and perform at the same level to keep us where we are.”

Oakdale finishes in the Top 12 at State

 Oakdale finishes in the Top 12 at State
Oakdale Tennis sent 11 players to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Tennis Tournament held April 24 - 28, 2017, at UL-Monroe, Monroe, La. While there the Warriors came out in the Top 12. 
“Another successful season in the books,” said head coach Zealon Solomon. “Didn't end as we wanted, but finishing in the Top 12 is quite the accomplishment itself. Proud of all of my kids, their hard work and their dedication.” 
Solomon congratulated Camryn Bullock on making the Boys Singles Round of 16. He defeated Jarrett Berthelot of Oak Grove 2-1 in the first round but fell in the next round 2-0 to Ascension Christian’s Bryce Walker. Walker went on to lose in the quarterfinals to the eventual semi-finalist Arteen Reza from Newman, Isidore. 
In Boys’ Doubles Andrew Sao and Tyler Tichy lost out in the opening match to the duo from Dunham 2-0. Travian Dailey and Dawson Noblitt also lost out in the opening match to Dunham 2-0. The Kris Pelt, Daniel Rodriguez ticket suffered the same fate losing 2-0 in the opening round to Calvary Baptist.
On the girls’ side, Cheyenne Bertrand and Taylor Willis lost their opening match to St. Frederick 2-0. The ticket of Anna Gill and Madeline Jarnagin similarly went down 2-0 in the opening match to Ascension Episcopal.
“To my seniors, Travian Dailey and Tyler Tichy, thank you for buying in to the program we started building three years ago and going above and beyond to lead by example every match- win or loss,” Solomon said.
“I enjoyed every second of my high school tennis career, said Dailey. “I remember I was just a freshmen who didn't have a care in the world. Then going into my sophomore year, I wanted to be the best. That same drive brought me to state two times in a row. I wouldn't be anywhere without my coach Zealon Solomon. He came and changed the whole program around! Bringing winning records and believed in us as players. My years as an OHS tennis Warrior brought many feelings in play.” 
“Thanks to everyone for the prayers, support, and appreciation for what we strive for each and every match,” concluded Solomon.

Oakdale Track sends 11 athletes to the State Meet

 Eleven track and field athletes from Oakdale High School qualified to compete in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Outdoor Track & Field State Championships held May 4 - 6, 2017, at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium on the campus of LSU, Baton Rouge, La.
“It’s exciting for us,” coach Michael Deville said. “It’s exciting to get a few more kids every year and give them that experience, and the kids are excited.”
Oakdale runs into the State meet as the Lady Warriors are the 2017 District 3-2A Champions and the Warriors are runners-up. Highlighting the list of winners are Jondasha Davis who won the District Top Athlete Award finishing first in the 100-meter and first in the long jump. Darien Phillips (Outstanding Field Award) finished first in the discus and second in the shot put, and Phillip Poullard (Outstanding Track Award) came out first in the 110-meter hurdles and in the 300-meter hurdles.
 The list of boys who qualified for State is Travian Dailey qualified in the discus, Terrance Holmes qualified in the triple jump, Hunter Longino qualified in the discus, and James Evins qualified in the 100-meter dash.
 Evins is heading into the meet gimpy, but, according to his coach, he is getting back on track. “The meet before the district meet he kinda strained a hamstring, and we got him immediately some therapy and rehabbing him with the trainers and everything,” said Deville. And he’s getting better. Everyday he’s getting better. He ran good enough at the regional meet to qualify, so all he’s got now is that one chance. He says he feels good, so hopefully he’s ready to go.”
 The list of girls who qualified for State is Jondasha Davis qualified in the 100 and the long jump, Treshunda Joseph qualified as part of the relays, Alexis Davis qualified as part of the relays in the 4-by-1 and the 4-by-2, Shadiamond Johnson qualified in all three relays, Annisia Moton, and Darien Phillips qualified in the discus. Two alternates Stasi Adams and Tynishia Murray are also heading to Bernie Moore.
 Deville talked highly of his freshman Shadiamond Johnson. “She qualified in the 4-by-1, the 4-by-2, and the 4-by-4,” he said. “She’s a special kid. She’s gonna be a good little athlete.”
 Over the course of the season, the program at Oakdale had two athletes who set records. Darien Phillips set a possible school record in the first meet of the season at the Red Devil Relays at Pickering. She placed first in the discus measuring 116-feet 10-inches. Travian Dailey set a new meet record at the Gent Relays in Crowley measuring 126-feet six-inches with his first-place finish in the discus. 
“That’s a positive,” Deville said about his record setters. “That means the kids are working, and that’s all we can ask for them is to keep working and try to get better each week out there.”
Also over the course of the season, several track athletes took home outstanding performance honors. “Since I’ve been here at Oakdale, we’ve been fortunate that we’ve had some kids that individually go out there and win some events,” Deville said. “And this year Jondasha Davis has been a strong person for us. Hunter Longino is just a sophomore, and he’s won some outstanding field medals. We getting him two more years, so that’s gonna be fun.”

Mamou advances past Oakdale to reach the best-of-three second round

Mamou advances past Oakdale to reach the best-of-three second round
 It took five innings for Mamou to dispose of Oakdale in the opening game of the baseball playoffs as the Demons won 10-0 at home Monday night. Mamou now looks like it will travel to Many for a best-of-three series in the second round.
Head coach Dale Serie was pleased with his team’s performance coming into the season. “We did well,” he said. “We’re right at about 20 wins. We’ve been playing well as of late. Seven out of our last eight games we won. We had a tough district. Overall we’re young. We have three seniors, two start. So we got a ton of experience we gained this year and a ton of experience coming back.”
Starting on the mound against Oakdale was junior Li’l Paul Williams. “He’s come on as of late,” his coach said. “He’s emerged as one of our top guys a little bit later in the season.”
Serie knew what to expect from his Warrior opponents. “I know Brent McKoy does a good job with them,” he said before the game. “Typically they’re pretty good. They’ll swing the bats real well. It’s gonna be a dogfight. We’re expecting to be in a war.”
The war that Serie was expecting turned rather one sided. The pitching woes that plagued the Warriors to end the season continued against Mamou. Hunter Longino got the start on the mound and labored in the first inning walking four batters including the first three in the Demon lineup. The defense behind him cost him two runs as a dropped pop up at shortstop allowed two runs to come across the plate for Mamou. 
It then took three Oakdale pitchers to pitch into and out of the second inning. Longino was pulled from the game after facing the first batter in the inning. Terrence Holmes came in and walked two of the four batters he faced. Nick Doyle then came in to pitch and settled things down, but the damage was done as Mamou plated seven runs in the inning.
“That inning was big,” said Serie about the second inning. “We executed some bunts. We executed some things we needed to do. We wanted to test their corner guys. Wanted to test their bunt defense. We were just successful putting some timely hits together, and it worked out in our favor.”
On the other side of the coin, Williams struck out five Warriors in his five innings of work. He walked one, hit a batter, and only allowed one hit that came in the fourth inning. “He was good,” said Serie. “He was real crisp. His fastball was working real good. He painted the corners real good. He kept in knee high just like we worked. He was on today.” 
“Many’s in the same district with Oakdale,” said Serie about Mamou’s possible next opponent. “Oakdale’s beat them once, so it gives us a little confidence going in. And we played some teams Many played, so I think it’ll be a great series.”

Oakdale's baseball comes to an end in Mamou

Oakdale baseball comes to an end in Mamou 
It took five innings for Oakdale’s baseball season to come to an end Monday night as the Warriors lost 10-0 to Mamou.
 The Oakdale coaching staff thought they would have to travel to Springfield for the first game in the playoffs, but Oakdale got a bump in the power points when the final rankings came out sending them instead to Mamou. “We know these guys, we know the coaches,” head coach Brent Mckoy said. “Talking to people in their district and ours and knowing these guys player for player, we think it’s a good match. Whereas going way north somewhere we don’t know anybody, it’s kinda hard to kinda prepare.” 
Hunter Longino got the start on the mound. “Hunter’s our guy,” McKoy said. “We’re figuring with him throwing it gives us a chance to beat pretty much anybody. It gives us a shot. He’s throwing the ball well, and the last few outings he’s been healthy and good.” 
Oakdale entered the playoffs after losing at Rosepine 4-3 and losing at Bunkie 11-2 in the final week of the season. The last game was rained out in Iowa. “We hit the ball decent, coulda hit a little better I thought in the Bunkie game,” said Mckoy. “Our defense has been playing really well the last couple games. We just come up short. We threw four or five guys in that game. Pitching wise we weren’t at our best in that last one, but I think our bats are where we want them to be going into the playoffs.”
The pitching woes continued for Oakdale against Mamou. Longino labored in the first inning walking four batters including the first three in the Demon lineup. The defense behind him cost him two runs as a dropped pop up at shortstop allowed two runs to come across the plate for Mamou. 
It then took three Oakdale pitchers to pitch into and out of the second inning. Longino was pulled from the game after facing the first batter in the inning. Terrence Holmes came in and walked two of the four batters he faced. Nick Doyle then came in to pitch and settled things down, but the damage was done as Mamou plated seven runs in the inning. 
“We just didn’t pitch well tonight,” McKoy said. “Tonight Hunter just didn’t have it, and in relief we brought Terrence in relief, and he didn’t either. It took our third guy to finally settle in, and once that took place it was already nine runs down. So it’s hard to come back from that. And we settled down for three or four innings after that.”
The season may be over now for his Warriors, but McKoy turned upbeat when talking about his team next season. “We got some good young ball players,” he said. “The guy that started tonight, Hunter Longino, is a sophomore. It’s his first playoff start, so that may have had a little to do with it. We had two freshmen in the field tonight starting in their first playoff game, so we got a good young core of the team coming back. And we got pitching coming back too. They got the experience of playing in the playoffs to see what it’s about so hopefully we can build on that.”       

Oakdale's softball season comes to an end at Rosepine

 Oakdale’s softball season comes to an end at Rosepine
After winning its first round playoff game at French Settlement on four consecutive bunt attempts in the top of the ninth inning, Oakdale’s softball team tried the same approach against the number one seeded Rosepine team it had faced twice earlier this season. But the end result for Oakdale was a 7-0 loss on the road ending its season.
 “I was trying to do something to change it up”, head coach Alycia McDaniel said. “We’ve seen Rosepine two other times, so I bunted. And the people that I’ve asked to lay down the bunt they did, but when you’re playing a team at that caliber they have great bunt coverage.”
 “It was rough considering the fact that we lost; however, if it wasn’t as rough if you look at the positives”, she continued. “Ending our season we had played Rosepine twice previously because they were in our district. The first time we played them it was 14-1; the second time we played them it was 15-0. nobody thought that we would make that game last seven innings and give Rosepine, the number one team in the state, a run for their money.”
 McDaniel appreciates her team’s efforts getting to this point and the progression that her players have overcoming some early season adversity. “We came a long way,” she said. “When I took the team on, they had only won one game prior to that. So I look at it as a stepping stone. Last year we made the playoffs, this year we made regionals, next year I hope we can go to State. We had a little bit of setbacks with injuries and some unfortunate circumstances with other players that we lost, but overall I will say that I’m very proud my girls.”
 The coach acknowledged the contributions of her two seniors Darien Phillips and Skylar Chambley. “I’m very sad that I will be losing two outstanding,” she said. “I will have some big shoes that will need to be filled for both of them.”
 Also acknowledged for her hard work and progression was pitcher Breanna Hargrove. “I will commend Brie, my pitcher,” McDaniel said. “She did an outstanding job in our first playoff game. Last season she walked quite a few people and didn’t have the consistency that she had this year, but she worked hard. didn’t give up. She turned around a complete 180.”
 McDaniel went on to recognize the rest of her team’s efforts and progression. “A lot of them had attitudes and really didn’t want to be out there, and we molded and watched them grow into better players and people individually,” she said. “We had to go and take people from different positions that they were not used to and put them in places that we needed so that we could physically win as a team. And I’m very proud of the girls that adapted to the position that I’ve put them in and went full throttle with it.”
“I take the positive out of it instead of the negative,” she said. “We did try a lot of different things. I hope that Rosepine goes on and takes the State title home so that we can say we lost in the playoffs to the State champions.”