2021 Monroe Carroll at Sterlington football

Played at Panther Stadium, Sterlington, La. 2021Nov4. Photo by TOM MORRIS/The Ouachita Citizen. c.2021.www.TomMorrisPhotos.com. All Rights Reserved

The bridge was going to have to be crossed at some point for Sterlington High School. Might as well cross it in Ouachita Parish.

To win the Class 3A State Championship, you have to eventually go through No. 8 Madison Prep, so might as well duke it out in the quarterfinals at Sterlington High School Friday night.

“They’re the defending state champs, and their schedule is the only reason they’re not the No. 1 seed,” Doty said. “They’re definitely deserving of a higher seed than No. 8, I can promise you that. We knew if you’re going to win a state championship, you’ll eventually have to beat Madison Prep. I’d rather try to beat them at home than beat them in the dome.”

Madison Prep is 11-1 this season with five wins against opponents that have five wins or more to their credit. That includes victories over teams like St. Thomas More, Southern Lab and Brusly. The Chargers only loss this season came against undefeated University, and that was a 37-29 affair.

Madison Prep is led by Zeon Chriss on offense, who led his team with 2,902 total yards and 41 touchdowns last year en route to earning LSWA All-State honors. Chriss is committed to play for the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

“He’s just an absolutely phenomenal athlete,” Doty said. “He can run it and throw it. We’re fortunate that we’ve played some really good quarterbacks this year that can help us prepare for this kid. But he’s the best football player I’ve seen. It’s going to be a challenge.”

On defense the Chargers are led by Quency Wiggins that folks down in Baton Rouge are hoping and praying stays home and dons purple and gold. Wiggins has Alabama, LSU and Florida in his top three schools, as the 2022 4-star prospect nears his decision in December. At 6’6, 274 pounds, Wiggins recorded two sacks against No. 9 St. James in a 33-10 second-round victory last Thursday.

Madison Prep is the favorite on paper, but the Sterlington Panthers know a thing or two about upsetting a Madison Prep team that’s loaded with elite talent. The Panthers knocked off Madison Prep in the Class 2A State Championship Game, 28-27,to win the school’s first state title. Enough said right?

“If you can’t get fired up for playing Madison Prep and all the guys you see all over the recruiting services then something is wrong with you,” Doty said.

Sterlington made sure a matchup with Madison Prep was possible with yet another strong second half showing to beat No. 17 Westlake on the road, 51-27.

One of the talented quarterbacks the Panthers have played this year is none other than Westlake quarterback Jamaal Guillory. And Doty said he was as advertised, as Guillory rushed for 159 yards and totaled four scores against the Panthers. 

“We missed two assignments that led to two touchdowns, but one of them they just out played us,” Doty said. “Other than that I thought the kids played really well. That quarterback for them is special. And we knew that going in.”

The Panthers led 21-20 at halftime before outscoring Westlake 30-7 in the second half. Sterlington rushed for 320 yards in the win with Trammell Colvin accounting for 169 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries.

“We went in at halftime and talked about sitting on that quarterback and not letting him beat us,” Doty said. “Mainly, though, the kids and coaches didn’t panic. We were able to come out in the second half and overwhelm them like we wanted to at the start of the game. Maybe we had to shake off that long road trip in the first half.”

Sterlington quarterback Mason Lawhon connected with John Barr on a receiver screen that went 71 yards for a score to put the Panthers on top 21-20 at half. Lawhon also scored on an 11-yard run later in the contest. Lawhon was five-of-seven for 130 yards in the win. 

J’Keldrick Miller found the end zone on a 22-yard run in the second quarter, Romaj Hatfield scored on a six-yard run in the third quarter, and Mr. Dependable Jacob Green nailed a 22-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

On defense, Sterlington's Jay Bonner and Cole Thompson recorded interceptions in the win. 

The Panthers remain undefeated with a 12-0 record. 

Award-winning sports writer for columns and features since joining the field in 2013. As the first-ever featured columnist of the month at Bleacher Report, Martin cut his teeth with online media before joining the newspaper business in 2014.

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