Locals competing in the River Bell Classic

Published 1:32 pm Friday, April 9, 2021

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This year’s River Bell Classic features three players from schools in Washington Parish, as Nicholls State University plays host to Southeastern Louisiana University on Saturday, April 10 at 3 p.m.

Nicholls State has one local in P.J. Burkhalter, while SLU has two, including Damien Dawson and Brendon Kelley.

Burkhalter, a 2015 Franklinton graduate plays on the offensive line.

Burkhalter is a senior and has a numerous the conference’s leading rushing team with 1,628 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Colonels average 271.3 ground yards per game.

Dawson, who graduated from Franklinton in 2016, is a fullback. This season, Dawson has caught three passes for 90 yards.

Kelley, a 2015 Pine graduate, plays defensive line. This season, Kelley has made four tackles.

The teams play for the River Bell Trophy.

Nicholls State University won last year’s River Bell Classic, 28-27, at Strawberry Stadium on SLU’s campus.

Both teams are ranked in the top 25. Nicholls State is 17/18, while SLU is 19/23.

Nicholls State enters with a 4-2 overall record and 3-2 in conference. Southeastern is 3-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play. Sam Houston leads the league at 4-0 overall and 4-0 in conference.

The game starts at 3 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+.

This is the final regular season game for Nicholls State, while Southeastern has one more.

Southeastern will play against Southern Illinois on Saturday, April 17 on the road at noon.

COURTESY PHOTO/Nicholls State University Athletics
Nicholls State University’s P.J. Burkhalter (64) blocks a defender in a game.