Tuning up for Thursday night’s district championship game against Carroll, Sterlington carved out a 46-6 victory over Franklin Parish, Friday night at Winnsboro.
Capitalizing on a sluggish start by the Panthers, the Patriots grabbed an early 6-0 lead.
Sterlington picked up a first down on the game’s initial possession, but soon brought on the punting unit.
Franklin Parish started from its own 16 after the punt, and immediately struck for a big play as Keon Washington streaked 74 yards. Moments later, Greg Bailey punched it in from two yards out to put the Patriots in front 6-0. Cole Jones blocked the extra point.
Forced to punt on their second straight series, the Panthers went three and out.
Sterlington began to get untracked on its third possession when it drove 61 yards on 11 plays. Dallas Reagor’s three-yard run and Jacob Green’s PAT gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead, 11:02 before halftime.
“We did not seem to be excited about playing,” Lee Doty said. “When they scored, it woke us up a little. Once our guys realized, ‘Hey, we have to play,’ they kind of handled it.”
Franklin Parish’s final four drives of the half resulted in three straight punts and a turnover.
Meanwhile, the Panthers closed out the half with two touchdowns and a field goal.
Sterlington needed just one play to score on its fourth series as Reagor’s 56-yard TD dash expanded the difference to 14-6.
Following an FPHS punt, Jordan Townsend’s 20-yard pass from Hayes Crockett sealed an impressive 10-play, 85-yard drive. Crockett then caught a 2-point pass from Grant Mangrum as the Panthers upped their lead to 22-6 with 1:30 still to play.
Dorian Eddins’ fumble recovery at the FPHS 24 with 1:09 on the clock presented the Panthers with another scoring opportunity just before the break.
Out of timeouts, Sterlington rushed its field goal unit on to the field for the final play of the half. Green’s 35-yarder sailed through the goalposts as the horn sounded, upping the visitors lead to 25-6.
Layton Rainbolt 53-yard punt return opened the second half scoring.
Jaden Davis’ second interception of the season gave the Panthers quality field position at the plus-42 for their first offensive series of the half.
Three plays later, Crockett and Rainbolt teamed up for a 20-yard touchdown pass as Sterlington’s lead swelled to 39-6.
Davis was involved in another turnover — this time on a fumble recovery — to set up the game’s final touchdown, a one-yard run by Zach Crain.
Reagor ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to pace the Panthers offensively. Employing 10 different ball carriers, the Panthers rushed for 294 yards on 40 attempts.
Regrouping after the first drive, Sterlington held the Patriots to 193 total yards (165 rushing, 28 passing).
“The defense played lights out after the first series,” Doty said. “Cole (Jones) had a great game.”
Jones’ tallied 10 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, forced a fumble and blocked a PAT to lead the defensive effort. Colin Foy was next with eight tackles and a sack, followed by Eddins with seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Jordan Doaty added two stops in the backfield, Caleb Andrews had a sack and Luke Handy caused a fumble.
Seeking its third straight District 2-3A title, the Panthers (8-0, 3-0) host the Carroll Bulldogs (6-2, 3-0) in the regular season finale Thursday at 7 p.m.
By the Numbers
SHS ………………………….. FPHS
14 ………. First downs …...…… 8
40-294 …. Rushes-yards …… 33-165
56 ………. Passing yards ….… 28
11-6-0 …. Passes (A-C-I) …. 2-1-1
2-30.5 …. Punts-avg. ……….. 4-26
1-0 …….. Fumbles-lost ……... 6-5
9-60 …… Penalties-yards ….. 8-65
Sterlington …. 0 25 21 0—46
FPHS …….….. 6 0 0 0—0
FP—Greg Bailey 3-run (kick blocked), 7:00
S—Dallas Reagor 3-run (Jacob Green kick), 11:02
S—Reagor 56-run (Green kick), 8:14
S—Jordan Townsend 20-pass from Hayes Crockett (Crockett pass from Grant Mangrum), 1:30
S—Green 35-FG, 0:00
S—Layton Rainbolt 53-punt return (Green kick), 7:06
S—Rainbolt 20-pass from Crockett (Green kick), 4:23
S—Zach Crain 1-run (Green kick), 1:30
RUSHING—Sterlington: Reagor 10-83-2, Crain 6-59-1, Townsend 8-50, Mangrum 3-35, Crockett 4-30. Franklin Parish: Keon Washington 5-102, Bailey 14-40-1.
PASSING (A-C-I-Yds-TD)—Franklin Parish: Terrence Richardson 6-2-1-28-0.
RECEIVING—Sterlington: Reagor 4-18, Rainbolt 2-20-1, Townsend 1-20-1. Franklin Parish: Troy Meadows 1-28.