Explosive plays and stingy defense have been a proven formula for the (8-0) Sterlington Panthers this season. And so has consistency.
The Panthers embodied all three of those in a 48-8 victory against District 2-3A rival Richwood Friday night.
“Our kids are challenged every day,” Sterlington head coach Lee Doty said. “Whether it’s in the weight room or in the classroom, we challenge them to try to create some adversity for them to work through. Our kids are just used to it. It’s what is expected out of them. We don’t always start the way we want to, but our kids are resilient. I’m really proud of them. It’s hard to win football games.”
The Panthers certainly got the start it was looking for Friday night when Romaj Hatfield scored from 74 yards out midway through the first quarter. That was Hatfield’s lone rush in the game. J’Keldrick Miller found the end zone at the start of a second quarter that featured 34 Panther points. Trammell Colvin exploded for a 64-yard touchdown, Parker Miller scored on a punt block and quarterback Mason Lawhon caught a reverse throwback pass from wide receiver Ram Foster. Colvin scored his second touchdown on the night on a two-yard scamper to give the Panthers a 41-0 halftime lead.
“We have four good backs that all get carries, and we have two or three really good receivers that are explosive. Yes, we are explosive, but we still like to grind it out,” Doty said.
That pretty much covers it as far as explosive plays go, but what about a defense that limited Richwood to just 160 yards on 41 carries? Doty has said in the past that his defense doesn’t have stat stuffers, but everybody works together as a unit. That doesn’t mean there aren’t standouts on that side of the ball, though.
“I think Armod Mills and Chase Mitchell are two of the most improved players that I’ve coached in my career,” Doty said. “They are really good football players. We all know about Luke (Handy) and what he’s capable of, but those two guys have shown the ability to make some big hits and are consistently among the top of our tackle leaderboard.”
And as far as consistency goes, Doty believes a lot of that credit belongs to his staff.
“I think that goes a long way with consistency. We have such a good staff and don’t have any turnover. Nobody is jealous of anybody else’s success,” Doty said.
The Panthers will travel to take on a struggling Franklin Parish team Friday night before hosting Carroll the following Thursday. Sterlington is currently No. 1 in the GeauxPreps.com power rating.