Bolton alumni concerned about future of noteworthy windows at school


For almost a century Bolton High School’s iconic windows have provided a view to the world, and in a notable instance, outer space, to students.

As the school approaches a structural and student body metamorphosis, concerned alumni and preservationists are asking for a voice in deciding how upcoming remodeling and reconstruction impacts those windows.

The classical revival structure on Vance Avenue is listed on the National Registration of Historic Places. Among the students who may have gazed out of those windows was future U.S. astronaut Daniel Berry (Class of 1971).

In a letter to Supt. Jeff Powell and School Board President Dr. Stephen Chapman, alumni association officers ask for a sit down within 10 days to discuss their concerns as well as what the board has in mind.

Changes are coming in the physical plant as the school prepares for a shift next summer to grades 6-12 and the following school year, or as soon as practical thereafter, to pre K-12 magnet format. The change was approved by the board last week.

The alumni association is also conducting an online petition drive to support its requests. More than 1,000 persons had responded through Tuesday afternoon. (The petition can be read at

“The undersigned write to you as business owners, taxpayers, parents, educators, preservationists, and community leaders. We are advocates for modern, functional school infrastructure that serves students’ needs, and we believe this goal can be achieved in harmony with the preservation of our historic structures if appropriate consideration is applied.

“Our immediate concern is the recent disclosure of the proposal to utilize funds from the District 62 Bond (the ‘Bond’ or ‘Bond Funds,’ as contextually appropriate) for the replacement of windows at Bolton High School.

“We appreciate that the Board, along with its construction and design partners, has worked diligently for the last four years to involve the public in discussions related to the Bond; however, given that the proposed window project at Bolton did not appear in publicly-available materials before June of this year, and that the character of a wholesale window replacement on a historic structure must be considered beyond the scope of ‘miscellaneous renovations,’ we consider our inquiry timely and respectfully ask that it be given attention appropriate to its gravity,” the letter states.

“While Bolton holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many as an educational institution, Bolton High School as a structure possesses a unique character among RPSB facilities.

“No other building in the district holds the independent architectural significance of Bolton, and perhaps no other is as emblematic of the success or failure of its surrounding community.

“The district holds both the honor and the burden of being the ultimate custodian of the architectural integrity that underpins those defining traits.

 “We feel that this matter has broader implications for the stewardship of our community’s historical legacy, as well as for maintenance of the public trust in the Board’s ability to demonstrate its transparency and responsiveness.

“It is our intent to articulate why we believe any alterations should be made with a deep appreciation for the historical context and architectural significance that this school represents,” the signers state.

In addition to the association president, Jennifer Wright, and vice president, Stephen Tumminello, signers include Dorman Clayton, retired director of facilities & construction for the Rapides school system; Phoebe Taylor, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, National Trust for Historic Preservation; and Megan Lord, owner of a preservation and design firm active in the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation. 

“Of the many architectural elements that define Bolton, windows are the most numerous and hold the most significant architectural weight. They play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the school’s architectural character, and they were also originally designed to achieve the functional aim of providing cross-ventilation to a structure that was built before modern air conditioning was available.

“Maintenance and repair of original architectural features is a regular task for all owners of historic structures, and custodians of National Register-listed buildings must take extra care to ensure their repairs do not adversely affect their building’s original style, materials, and detailing. “Complete replacement with modern materials is well-documented as a last resort among preservationists and architects who emphasize that unsympathetic alterations can result in the loss of a building’s National Register listing. 

“A decision to replace Bolton’s windows would be effectively irreversible, and thus all appropriate prudence must be brought to bear.

“Given the foregoing concerns, we respectfully request that the following information be made available for public consideration:



  1. Reasons for Window Replacement: Please provide a detailed explanation of why the windows at Bolton High School are slated for replacement, including any structural or safety concerns, along with the assessment documenting the current condition of each window upon which project administrators have relied.
  2. Types of Windows: Please provide information about the types of windows being considered for use in replacement, including manufacturer, profiles, measurements, and examples of other historic properties where these windows have been installed.
  3. Alternative Considerations: What repair and restoration options were explored as alternatives to replacement?
  4. Proposed Costs: What is the estimated cost for the proposed window replacement, and what, if any, projects on the original slate of Bond items will be supplanted if the proposal is carried out? What is the alternative estimated cost of repair for windows that require it?
  5. Other Relevant Details: We further request any additional details regarding this proposal or any other that may impact the architectural or historical integrity of Bolton High School.

“As this project is not scheduled to be placed for bids for several more weeks, we kindly ask that no final decisions or commitments be made until all interested parties have had ample opportunity to review and comment on the above-listed deliverables.

“Transparency and community representation are essential in ensuring that the use of Bond Funds aligns with the public’s interest and the preservation of our historic structures. To that end we further request a meeting between the signatories to this letter and the appropriate RPSB and Bond project decisionmakers within the next ten business days to review the requested materials and to discuss how our respective groups might work together to advance our common interest in the responsible stewardship of Bolton High School.”

Editor’s note: The reporter of this story is a Bolton graduate.

LCU football kicks off tonight at home against rival ETBU

PINEVILLE — Expectations surrounding the Louisiana Christian football team are sky-high as the Wildcats open the season at home tonight at 7 on Wildcat Field against East Texas Baptist.

It’s billed as “The Battle for the Border Claw,” a trophy the teams have contested previously when they were American Southwestern Conference foes. It’s the first game of 2023 for both teams.

LC is receiving votes in the NAIA Preseason Top 25 for the first time since joining the division in 2021 and will be eyeing its first postseason appearance since 2012 with a number of key players back in Pineville.

The Wildcats were 7-4 last season while ETBU, a former NCAA Division III playoff team, was 5-5.

Andrew Maddox begins his fourth season as LCU’s head coach and is the reigning 2022 Sooner Athletic Conference Co-Coach of the Year. He is second on the program’s wins list since reinstatement (13) while leading LCU to its first winning record in eight seasons in 2022.

The Cats entertained the masses with a high-scoring, dynamic system last fall that saw the Orange and Blue put together over 4,000 yards of total offense scoring 30-plus points a night, really coming into their own during a season-ending six-game winning streak.

All-SAC Honorable Mention signal-caller Sal Palermo laces up the cleats one more time, running it back after a dozen passing touchdowns, eight rushing touchdowns, and 2,221 all-purpose yards.

Behind him in the backfield will be Devin Briscoe, who will have the honor of donning jersey Number 0 in 2023. The graduate student, a former Nicholls State transfer, nearly snagged double-digit scores (9) on the back of 4.6 yards per carry last year for the Wildcats.

The receiving corps brings back all-conference first team tight end Jacob Ganote and receivers Ethan Christman, Sammy Feaster and Glenn White, along with pass-catching threat Dayton Charles as a running back option for new offensive coordinator David Feaster, long one of north Louisiana’s most successful and offensive-minded high school coaches.

Defensive coordinator Tyson Andrus will have an arsenal of playmakers to deploy including five 2022 All-SAC honorees.

Anchoring the line will be NAIA Second Team All-American Logan Brimmer, who last season made 21 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks.

LC won the last meeting, 23-17, in 2021

Whitetails Unlimited’s success in Lincoln Parish is a great example

It began with a dynamite meal earlier this month at the Ruston Civic Center when the 8th annual fund raising banquet for Whitetails Unlimited was launched. Have you ever had the Log Cabin’s “Catfish Opelousas” meal? A catfish filet resting on a bed of rice with crawfish etouffee drizzled over the top was “slap yo mama” good.

What followed was a series of events that saw multiple attendees put their hands around valuable prizes from dozens of guns, prized works of art, gun safes, hunting bows topped off by a trio of unusual but coveted prizes, a Lane Burroughs helmet donated by the Louisiana Tech baseball coach, a guitar autographed by Hank Williams Jr and a Cincinnati Bengals helmet autographed by none other than Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback of LSU’s national championship, Joe Burrow.

There was one “fly in the ointment” that kept the crowd a bit lower than in years past. Several other events in the community were taking place at the same time which meant scores of folks who would have attended were obligated to take part in some of the other important activities.

Even so, there were more than 350 men, ladies and youngsters in attendance who forked over some $70,000 in gross proceeds. Once expenses were paid to finance the banquet half of the net proceeds stayed in my community to assist local groups that promote outdoors activities.

Since the banquet was first held eight years ago and despite COVID knocking out the event for two years, here are some of the groups that have received benefits from funds raised at the annual banquets. It’s no small piece of change when you consider that over the years, Whitetails Unlimited has invested over $100,000 in this one particular community.

A partial listing of groups that have benefitted from these funds include the Lincoln Parish Archery Range, Lincoln Parish 4-H Shooting Sports, Med Camps of Louisiana, Tech Scholarship Fishing Team, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office K-9 Fund, Lincoln Parish National Rifle Association chapter, Lincoln Parish Ducks Unlimited, Trailblazer, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Lincoln Parish Livestock Club and Louisiana AIM.

This year’s banquet was spearheaded by a heads-up group of volunteers headed by chairman Brandon Williams.

“Knowing that we had competition this year because of other events being scheduled the same night, we ended up about where we thought we would,” said Williams.

Since the Lincoln Parish chapter of Whitetails Unlimited became a popular organization eight years ago, the attendance and funds raised caught the attention of national headquarters.  After the first year of local operation the national chairman of the organization, Jeff Schinkten, flew down from Wisconsin to present the Lincoln Parish chapter with national honors as the chapter had immediately risen to the top nationally in raising funds and in banquet attendance.

Except for the two years when COVID stopped things, this event has caught the attention of area folks as well because of the popularity of the annual get together. However, for the success to continue, something is badly needed, something chairman Williams addressed.

“Although we have had a fantastic group of volunteers working with us to put on our annual banquet, we are always looking for other folks willing to work with us,” said Williams. “We would love to have more volunteers.”

If you’d like to have a hand in seeing this organization continue to grow, visit Lincoln Parish Whitetails Unlimited on Facebook to offer your services. If you’re elsewhere, look for your local Whitetails Unlimited group and consider getting involved if you’re not already.

Contact Glynn at

Kick Cancer partnership set for year 2

After a successful debut in 2022, Rapides Cancer Center’s Tackle Stroke partnership with local high school football teams returns for the 2023 season.

Tackle Stroke provides the eight football-playing high schools in Rapides Parish the chance to earn money for their programs and for the American Cancer Society.

Schools will earn $20 for every field goal made during the regular season and postseason, and $10 for every successful PAT following touchdowns. Each school will receive a minimum $500 with a corresponding donation made to the American Cancer Society.

In 2022, Alexandria Senior High claimed the inaugural Golden Boot for raising $500 through 44 PATs and 3 field goals. In all, $4,500 was donated to the ACS on behalf of the schools after Pineville coach Bryant Bell donated his team’s share to the ACS.

“Partnering with our local high schools to raise awareness of the great work done by the American Cancer Society was a huge success last season,” said Charla H. Ducote, Vice President of Public Relations, Marketing and Business Development at Rapides Regional Medical Center.

The annual cancer death rate in Central Louisiana is 175.3 per 100,000, which is on par with the state’s death rate. However, the cancer death rate for the country is 155.6. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Cenla, followed by breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer. All are higher than the national average.

“The need for cancer screenings is great in our area, and in Louisiana overall,” said Ducote. “Hopefully, Tackle Stroke can help bring attention to the importance of preventive screenings in our community.”

Schools partnering with the Rapides Cancer Center are Alexandria Senior High, Bolton, Buckeye, Holy Savior Menard, Northwood, Peabody, Pineville and Tioga. The regular season begins Thursday, Aug. 31 and concludes the first weekend in November, with the state high school football playoffs beginning the following weekend.

Natchitoches man killed in Rapides Parish motorcycle crash

Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a two-vehicle crash on Aug. 30 around 8:30 am on Hwy. 112 at Earl Linzay Road.  The crash claimed the life of Robert Hebert, 68 of Natchitoches.

The initial investigation revealed that a 2010 Nissan, driven by Roy Andrea, 36 of Plaucheville, was traveling west on Hwy. 112. For reasons still under investigation, Andrea attempted to make a left turn onto Earl Linzay Road, but failed to yield to an eastbound 1998 Honda motorcycle. As a result, the Nissan struck the motorcycle causing Hebert to be ejected. 

Hebert, who was wearing a helmet, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Andrea, who was restrained, sustained minor injuries. Toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis.

While the cause of this crash remains under investigation, distracted and inattentive driving continues to be a leading cause of crashes in our state.  Louisiana State Police urges all motorists to stay alert while driving.  A lapse in one’s awareness can have deadly consequences.

In 2023, Troop E has investigated 37 fatal crashes, resulting in 42 deaths.

Alexandria Police investigate shooting on Carr Street

Alexandria Police officers responded to 2205 Apt B. Carr Street on Aug. 29 around 10:30 pm in reference to someone being shot. Upon arrival at the residence, officers were advised that the adult male victim had been transported to a local hospital.  Alexandria Police Detectives and Crime Scene also responded to the scene and are currently investigating this incident.

This is currently an ongoing investigation.

The Alexandria Police Department encourages citizens to report suspicious activity that they witness. If anyone has any information about this incident or any other type of crime in the Alexandria area, please contact the Alexandria Police Detective Division at (318) 441-6416, or APD Dispatch at (318) 441-6559.

Operating ‘clandestine laboratory’ lands 18-year-old in jail

Rapides Parish felony arrests. An arrest is an accusation, not a conviction.

August 29
Randy Blalock, 36, Pineville — Battery 2nd degree;
Lexi Herrington, 18, Alexandria — Criminal conspiracy, operating clandestine laboratory;
Lonnie Joseph, 36, Alexandria — Parole violations, theft, criminal damage, contempt of court six counts;
Winnie Lott, 48, Alexandria — Battery aggravated, contempt of court two counts.

Fentanyl continues to factor into drug arrests

Rapides Parish felony drug arrests. An arrest is an accusation, not a conviction.

August 29
Katrina Chidester, 36, Pine Bluff, AR — Possession fentanyl, carfentanil < 2 grams, Legend drug possession, sale, distribution without legal prescription;

Shonda Fisher, 50, Alexandria — Possession CDS II < 2 grams, possession paraphernalia, battery, contempt of court;

Clinton Tassin III, 29, Ball — Possession CDS II < 2 grams, possession paraphernalia.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

Sheet Pan Garlic Butter Shrimp is one of 10 recipes featured in my Back to School Survival Meals!  Go the extra mile to pick up fresh shrimp for this one.  I peeled them before baking so the boys wouldn’t make any extra mess.

This is a dinner-on-the-table in about 35 minutes meal.  My house gave it all their thumbs up so it’ll be a repeat!


  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled
  • Parmesan if desired 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking sheet.

In a small bowl whisk together butter, garlic, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place shrimp in single layer on baking sheet. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine.

Bake 8-10 minutes, just until shrimp are pink and cooked through. 

Garnish with Parmesan for serving if desired. 

Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author who lives in Minden, La.

Theatre Louisiana Christian presents Agatha Christie’s ‘Mousetrap’ 

By Carmen Taffi, Wildcats Media 

Theatre Louisiana Christian (tlc) is opening its first show of the 2023-24 season on Sept. 7 with “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie. 

“The Mousetrap is an exciting whodunit dramatic mystery filled with comedic twists and turns that will keep everyone on the edge of their seat,” said LCU senior theatre major Colleen Andrews, who is stage managing the show. 

The show is the longest continuously-running murder mystery play in American history–beginning Oct. 6, 1952, and running until March 16, 2020.  It just celebrated its 70th year of touring.

“With such a diverse mix of majors from across the campus, it’s even more impressive how the students have been handling this material,” said Enrico Cannella, assistant professor of music and director of the play. “It’s been such a joy to work with such a creative group at LCU. This family-friendly mystery captures the ‘Murder She Wrote’ charm, and if you care to come a second time, it may be nice to find the hidden clues.”

The news spreads of a murder in London as a blizzard breaks out and floods the roads with impassable snow. Five guests find themselves stuck at a guest house in the country. Unexpectedly a police sergeant arrives, and the guests soon find out that there is a killer in their midst. One by one the five guests reveal their suspicious pasts. Mollie and Giles Ralston, played by freshman Olivia Huffman and sophomore Cayden Walls, must care for these five guests as all of them, including themselves, are interrogated by the police about the sudden murders. 

Everyone has something to hide. But are their secrets deadly, or did they just want a quiet place to reside? 

Come find out who has done it Sept. 7-8 and 14-15 at 7 p.m. and Sept. 9 and 16 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for LCU students, faculty, and staff; $12 for senior citizens and non-LCU students and $15 for general admission. Groups of 10 or more can attend for $10. 

Visit Https:// to get your tickets. 

Notice of Death – August 30, 2023

Charles Gayle Norwood
March 3, 1938 – August 26, 2023
Service: Thursday, August 31, 2023, 11 am at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Alexandria.
Egidio John DiStefano
February 8, 1943 – August 23, 2023
Service: Friday, September 1, 2023, 10 am at St. Margaret’s Catholic Church.
John Gallemore Alley
December 10, 1934 – August 25, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 2, 2023, 10 am at Calvary Baptist Church, Alexandria.
The Rapides Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $95. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above are FREE of charge. You may email them to

Detectives seek public’s help locating stolen motorcycles

Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Detectives are requesting the public’s assistance in locating two stolen motorcycles.
According to initial reports, both motorcycles were stolen off of Elmer Road between Aug. 21-24.
If anyone has any information on the theft of these motorcycles, please contact Det. Russell Norsworthy at 318-473-6727 or 318-793-6001. You may also contact Crime Stoppers at 318-443-7867.

Police investigating attempted murder on Mansour Drive

The Alexandria Police Department was called to the 5400 block of Mansour Drive on Aug. 25 around 8:30 pm in reference to gunfire being heard in the area.  When officers arrived, they located a 29-year-old victim suffering from a gunshot wound.  The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.  During the investigation, probable cause was developed for an arrest warrant to be issued on Kameron Thomas, 20 of Alexandria, for one count of Attempted Second Degree Murder. 

This is currently an ongoing investigation.

If anyone has any information about this incident or any other type of crime in the Alexandria area, please contact the Alexandria Police Detective Division at (318) 441-6416, or APD Dispatch at (318) 441-6559.

Failed ‘Great Switcheroo’ part of lengthy rap sheet


Jerome Hobbs, back in the Rapides Jail this month, is most known for his role in a grift older than Newman and Redford.

Hobbs, 39, was booked on several charges Aug. 23 and was still in jail as of Aug. 29.

In October 2018 Hobbs and another man allegedly tried a Great Switcheroo at Walmart on Coliseum Blvd.

About 3 a.m., the other man paid $1,900 in counterfeit money for two TVs.

Twelve hours later both returned, both took the TVs back, asking for a refund, in legal currency of course.

Problems arose in the grift when police were called. While his partner scuffled with officers, Hobbs exited to the parking lot.

When alerted officers searched him and his vehicle, he was charged with distribution and manufacture of CDS I, possession of CDS I 1st 14 and possession CDS II three counts.

His current charges stem from being stopped while biking about 8 p.m.

He is charged with possession CDS II < 2 grams and 2-28 grams, resisting an officer, contempt of court six counts and having no front/rear lamps or side/rear reflectors on the bicycle.

Ten months after the TV case, Hobbs was booked on charges of parole violation, possession firearm by convicted felon, possession of CDS I, II and III, possession written stolen or forged legend drug prescription, resisting officer, obstruction of public passage and contempt of court.

A year later he was booked for alleged parole violation, possession firearm by convicted felon, illegal carrying firearm with drugs, possession CDS I 4th or subsequent charge, possession CDS I < 2 grams, flight from an officer and theft.

In October 2022 Hobbs was charged with resisting an officer, possession CDS I and theft.

In April this year he was arrested on two contempt of court counts.

Police investigate shooting on Railroad Avenue

The Alexandria Police were called to the 1000 block of Railroad Avenue on Aug. 23 around 1:20 am in reference to someone being shot.  Through the investigation, it was learned that a residence had been shot several times, and one person inside the residence had suffered a gunshot wound.  The victim was transported to Rapides Regional Medical Center and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The Alexandria Police Department detectives identified a suspect in the Railroad Avenue shooting on Aug. 23 around 2:15 pm.  Detectives were able to establish probable cause for the arrest of 20-year-old Taylor Boyer for two counts of Attempted Second Degree Murder.  Boyer was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

This is currently an ongoing investigation.

If anyone has any information about this incident or any other type of crime in the Alexandria area, please contact the Alexandria Police Detective Division at the phone number (318) 441-6416, or APD Dispatch (318) 441-6559.  You may also email information to detectives at

Proactive crime suppression efforts lead to multiple arrests

Alexandria Police officers were working proactive crime suppression throughout Alexandria on Aug. 25. Several subjects were arrested as part of this proactive detail. Alexandria Police continue to work eagerly to combat illegal weapons and narcotics in Alexandria. Below are the subjects arrested.

Arrested Subjects:

Jason Harper

DOB: 08/08/2004

1302 Palmetto St. Pineville, LA


Stop Sign Violation

Poss of CDS I w/Intent to Distribute

Poss of CDS I w Intent to Distribute (THC Cartridges)

Poss Drug Paraphernalia

Calvin Celestgine II

DOB: 06/15/1983

3515 Evergreen Alexandria, LA



Illegal Tint

Poss. of CDS I w/Intent to Distribute

Poss. of CDS I w/Intent to Distribute (Ecstasy)

Poss. of Drug Paraphernalia

Derrick Charles


1930 Rapides Ave Alexandria, LA


Bicycle Violation

Illegal carrying weapon

Felon in Poss of firearm

Deandre Johnson


102 Mary St, Alexandria, LA


Bicycle violation

Illegal carrying

Felon in poss of firearm

Poss Marijuana 1st

Poss Fentanyl Less than 2 gm

Poss CDS I less than 2 gm

Poss with intent CDS V

Johnson was previously convicted in 2019 for illegal firearms possession.

This is currently an ongoing investigation.

The Alexandria Police Department encourages citizens to report suspicious activity that they witness. If anyone has any information about this incident or any other type of crime in the Alexandria area, please contact the Alexandria Police Detective Division at (318) 441-6416, or APD Dispatch at (318) 441-6559.

Possession charges for Ball woman

Rapides Parish felony drug arrests. An arrest is an accusation, not a conviction.

August 28
Ashley Haley, 38, Ball — Possession CDS II < 2 grams, possession CDS IV except flunitrazepam, possession drug paraphernalia.

Scanning YouTube got LSU’s Ramos kick-started

SELF TAUGHT:  LSU’s sophomore kicker, Damian Ramos, earned Freshman All-SEC honors last year after learning his craft in unconventional ways. (Photo courtesy LSU Athletics)

By RON HIGGINS, Journal Sports

BATON ROUGE – Suffice to say, LSU’s history of great placekickers starting in Shreveport in the late 1950s with Fair Park’s Tommy Davis has never included someone who learned how to kick by watching videos.

Until now.

Sophomore Damian Ramos, who returns for his second season as LSU’s starting kicker after walking on in 2021 as a virtual unknown, taught himself as a youngster in Baltimore how to kick watching YouTube videos.

“In little league football, they lined up the whole team to kick and I was really the only one that could make an extra point kick,” said Ramos, who hit 10 of 14 field goals and 55 of 57 points as an All-SEC freshman team honoree last season. “I just kicked straight on with my toe. I never played soccer in my life.

“We had a son of an ex-NFL kicker (Matt Stover) join my team. I beat him in the first competition. In the second one two weeks later, I hurt my quad. My dad and my brother were like, `If you want to get the spot back you should learn the actual (correct) way of kicking.’

“So, I looked on YouTube and watched just about every single video I could find.”

Ramos soon focused on Baltimore Ravens placekicker Justin Tucker, who’s now starting his 13th pro season as owner of the NFL’s career-made field goal percentage record of 90.5 percent.

“I wouldn’t say my form is exactly like his form, but I think I have a similar form to him,” Ramos said of Tucker. “I watched a lot of him because he’s really good.”

The more Ramos practiced, the more he was hooked on perfection.

“During the day and at night, I started kicking into a lacrosse net in my basement,” Ramos said. “I’d go outside and practice year-round in all conditions. I’d even kick in the snow during the winter.

“I just really got obsessed with kicking further and further and better and better. The more I backed up, the more I always tried to record myself to see what I did wrong and try to improve. That’s really how it started.”

It could have ended from the sheer discouragement of a high school career at St. Paul’s in Baltimore filled with roadblocks.

“My first three years (at St. Paul’s), I had a coach who didn’t like kicking field goals,” Ramos said. “He wasn’t about it. In my senior year (in 2020), I had a new coach come in, and he was about kicking field goals. But COVID hit and we only played three or four games.  I made a couple of field goals.”

What kept Ramos believing in himself was his performances at national and regional kicking camps where he won field goal and kickoff competitions.

The only recommendation on his resume entering his senior season came from Chris Sailer, director of the Chris Sailer Kicking Camps.

“Damian is a fantastic high school kicking prospect,” Sailer wrote on his website. “He has a strong leg and kicks with excellent technique and consistency. His field goals are outstanding. He hits a clean ball off the ground and easily has 55+ range. His kickoffs are strong, D1 Ready. He is a great competitor that thrives under pressure. All the tools are there to take his game to the next level.”

Ramos tried to market his talents through social media. But even with his self-promotion and a sparkling rating from Sailer, Ramos’ only scholarship offer was from Sacred Heart, a private Connecticut university in Fairfield with an FCS (formerly known as NCAA Division 1-AA) football program.

“I got to the point where I know I can play at a big school but it’s really hard for them to find me,’ Ramos said. “I thought was maybe if I apply to these schools and if they accept me, maybe it’s a possibility that I could go to the school, walk on and make the team.”

Ironically, Ramos kept getting prospective student enrollment e-mails from Jose Aviles, then LSU’s vice-president for enrollment management who’s now vice provost for enrollment management at Temple University.

“He (Aviles) sent me an e-mail that I still have to this day,” Ramos said. “I sent him a really well-written email. I wanted to go to LSU, but a big part of my decision was football. I put some information on there.

“He didn’t respond back. He just sent the information over to the football office. A couple of days later, I got a call from LSU. It was one of the coaches. That’s how I really got started.”

Ramos spent his first season at LSU in 2021 as a redshirt walk-on watching York finish a fabulous career, then won the job and a scholarship last season.

Despite a breakeven college debut when he scored five points vs. Florida State but had a field goal and a game-tying extra point blocked because of kick protection blocking breakdowns, Ramos now has the unquestioned endorsement of head coach Brian Kelly.

“I’ve definitely gotten a lot stronger since I’ve been here,” Ramos said. “When I first came in 2021, I was around like 160 and now I’m weighing 188. So, I’ve definitely got a lot stronger. I’m able to hit my better ball a lot more consistently.

“My kicking is very, very mental. I’ve really grown on routines and habits. I’ve always said that consistent routines lead to consistent performances. It’s worked for me.”

Contact Ron at

Pineville roundabout receives Beautification Award

The Alexandria Garden Club and its Pineville Civic Development Chairperson recently honored the City of Pineville for the month of August with a Civic Beautification Award for the Susek/Edgewood Roundabout.

The Pineville Beautification Department has worked hard to make this more than just a roundabout – and thanks the the Alexandria Garden Club for this recognition of their hard work.