Feeding off the momentum of a goal line stop early in the second quarter, Sterlington reeled off 42 unanswered points on its way to a definitive 49-14 homecoming victory over District 2-3A rival Wossman on Friday night.
Gifted an early score, the Panthers (6-0, 2-0) never trailed.
Sterlington picked up a pair of first downs on the game’s opening series before Parker Coley’s 28-yard punt backed the Wildcats up to the 9.
Dorian Eddins stopped a third-and-seven pass for a minimal gain to bring on the punting unit.
A fumbled snap on the punt enabled the Panthers to take over at the 1, and quarterback Hayes Crockett punched it in from there. Jacob Green’s extra point made it 7-0 with 7:19 to play in the opening quarter.
Aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct flag and a pass interference penalty on fourth-and-16 from the 31, the Wildcats countered with a nine-play, 65-yard drive. Jessie Booker’s nine-yard run to the left side brought the Wildcats within 7-6, but the Panthers denied the potential go-ahead 2-point run.
Sterlington replied with a seven-play, 73-yard drive. Surprise starter Dallas Reagor opened the series with a 13-yard carry. Six plays later, Townsend blasted through the heart of the defense for a 34-yard touchdown scamper, and a 14-7 Sterlington lead with 38 seconds left in the quarter. It was the start of a three-touchdown night for the senior fullback, who tallied 109 yards on just 11 carries.
Buoyed by Booker’s 42-yard run and an 11-yard pass from Antrell Green to Dezmeon Watson, the Wildcats appeared to be on the verge of lining up for the game-tying 2-point conversion.
Facing first-and-goal from the 1, two running plays netted no gain before a holding penalty negated Booker’s touchdown reception.
“I was surprised they called it,” Sterlington coach Lee Doty said. “There were things going on all night that I thought were flag worthy, but they let it go.”
Wossman eventually turned the ball over on downs at the 7, and Sterlington had its way the rest of the night.
“What a stop,” Doty said. “They were on the two-inch line, and we stopped them twice before the hold. That was a heck of a job by our defense.”
From Wossman’s perspective, it was a squandered chance.
“Sterlington has a great scheme, and they execute well,” Wossman coach Dean Smith said. “You are not going to beat them once you get behind them.”
Wossman was held to five first downs on their final six possessions.
“We turned it all the way up tonight,” Sterlington linebacker Colin Foy said. “We gave up a couple of fourth down conversions early, but after that we were able to get off the field and get our offense on the field. We just communicated, and everybody gave their all and did their job.”
Sterlington missed an opportunity of its own after the defensive stop. Starting at their own 7, the Panthers went three and out, but maintained possession when Cole Jones recovered a muffed punt at the Sterlington 43. From there, the Panthers marched to the Wossman 21 before a false start on fourth-and-one derailed the drive.
Following an empty possession by the Wildcats, the Panthers took over at their own 44 with 2:42 to play in the half.
Reagor’s 10-yard run and Layton Rainbolt’s 29-yard reception led to a second-and-10 at the 16. Ram Foster then housed a screen pass to the left side. Blocks by Brock Risinger and Joby Guthrie helped spring the play as the Panthers opened up a 21-6 lead with 52 seconds remaining before halftime.
It was an overall good night for the Foster family. Ram scored his first varsity touchdown, while coach Larry Foster’s offensive linemen — Braden Bruscato, Risinger, Cameron Rivera, Guthrie, Matthew Husser and tight ends Hixson Street and Zach Jones — turned in a splendid performance.
“That’s the best game our offensive line has played all year,” coach Foster said after the Panthers piled up 425 yards of total offense (372 rushing, 53 passing).
Sterlington struck the fatal blow on the first two series of the second half.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Wildcats managed a first down on Broderick Stinson’s 14-yard run before Edmun Williams and a host of Panthers stopped a fourth-and-one running play at the Sterlington 40.
“The touchdown before halftime was huge because they got the ball to start the second half,” Doty said. “When we got inside, we talked about how important it was to get a stop to start the second half.”
An unsportsmanlike conduct infraction against the Wildcats at the end of the fourth down play, enabled the Panthers to begin their initial offensive series of the half from the plus-44.
Six plays later, Townsend found paydirt from 27 yards out to put the Panthers up 28-6.
Rainbolt’s 22-yard punt return and Zach Crain’s 29-yard carry set up Townsend’s two-yard run, which extended the margin to 35-6 midway through the third quarter.
Sterlington’s lead swelled to 49-6 in the fourth quarter on Crockett’s six-yard run and J’Keldrick Miller’s 80-yard burst.
Wossman (4-3, 0-1) wrapped up the scoring on Watson’s 64-yard pass from Antrell Green. Watson caught 10 passes for 141 yards.
“The wheels came off for us tonight, but we have a lot of games left,” said Smith, whose team visits Carroll on Friday before closing out the regular season with home dates against Richwood and Union. “We still have a good team. We just have to watch the film, and get back on the practice field. This is when you find out who still wants to play football.”
Sterlington continues district play at home Friday night against Richwood.
Notes: Sophomores Ram Foster and Miller both scored their first varsity touchdowns. … Eddins intercepted a pass on the final play of the first half for the second straight week. The senior free safety now has a team-high three picks. … Reagor, who sat out the Panthers’ 18-17 Week 6 victory over Union, rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries. He played only one series in the second half. … Sterlington was perfect on seven PATs —six by Jacob Green, one by Oren Keller. … The Panthers improved to 12-0 in regular season district games since making the jump to Class 3A in 2017.
By the Numbers
WHS ………………………… SHS
13 ………. First downs ….…. 15
31-111 … Rushes-yards …. 44-372
173 …….. Passing yards …. 53
29-13-1 .. Passes (A-C-I) . 6-4-0
2-32 …… Punts-avg. …….… 2-29.5
2-1 …….. Fumbles-lost …… 0-0
5-42 …… Penalties-yards … 8-85
Wossman ……… 6 0 0 6—12
Sterlington …… 14 7 14 14—49
S—Hayes Crockett 1-run (Jacob Green kick), 7:19
W—Jessie Booker 9-run (run failed), 3:46
S—Jordan Townsend 32-run (Green kick), 0:38
S—Ram Foster 16-pass from Crockett (Green kick), 0:52
S—Townsend 27-run (Green kick), 6:41
S—Townsend 2-run (Green kick), 5:03
S—Crockett 4-run (Green kick), 10:36
S—J’Keldrick Miller 80-run (Oren Keller kick), 5:12
S—Dezmeon Watson 64-pass from Antrell Green (kick failed), 3:13
RUSHING—Wossman: Booker 14-90-1. Sterlington: Townsend 11-109-3, Zach Crain 10-89, Miller 1-80-1, Dallas Reagor 13-52, Crockett 5-31-2.
PASSING (A-C-I-Yds-TD)—Wossman: Green 29-13-1-173-1. Sterlington: Crockett 6-4-0-53-1.
RECEIVING—Wossman: Watson 10-141-1, Pat Williams II 1-31. Sterlington: Layton Rainbolt 2-36, Foster 1-16-1.