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|Sterlington prepares to host Loyola|
A 12-7 victory over Jonesboro-Hodge Friday night earned the Sterlington Panthers a first-round playoff game in the Class 2-A playoffs beginning this week.
Sterlington will host Loyola Prep of Shreveport to begin their playoff quest. While Sterlington may have to go back to the drawing board offensively this week, the defense made huge strides against J-Hodge.
"The defense kept us around," Sterlington head coach Mike Collins said. "I was pleased with the effort there. We did some good things offensively but have work to do."
Jonesboro-Hodge managed just 53 yards of total offense (45 passing, 8 rushing) against the Sterlington defensive unit.
De'Andre Gray scored from three-yards out to open the scoring for the Panthers. After the PAT was no good, Sterlington held a 6-0 lead through the opening quarter.
Jonesboro-Hodge answered quickly even though the offense could not find the endzone. After a J-Hodge punt, a Logan Dobson pass for Sterlington was intercepted by Robdonuars Louis.
Louis made the turnover count with a 35-yard return for a touchdown. The PAT allowed the Tigers to take a 7-6 lead going into the second frame.
Dobson was 11-of-19 passing for 65 yards and one interception. The Sterlington defense clamped down and did not allow the Tigers to cross the goal line again.
Jonesboro-Hodge was even more inefficient passing the football. Quarterback LaTydrick Lawson completed 4-of-15 passes for 45 yards and two picks.
The Panthers eventually turned up the heat and again found the endzone on the ground with a Marquis Douglas touchdown run from four-yards out.
"We moved the ball on the ground," Collins said. "That was a big key, our rushing game made some plays for us."
Sterlington out-gained the Tigers 128-8 in rushing yards for the game. It was the worst rushing offensive attack of the season for Jonesboro-Hodge, a credit to Sterlington.
Now Sterlington, No.11 in 2-A football, turns their attention to the No.22 Loyola Pilots. Loyola comes from the much talked-about Shreveport district sporting top three seeds in Evangel Christian Academy and Calvary Baptist School. The Homer Pelicans also represent the district with a home contest this week to begin the playoffs.
Loyola will incorporate a spread formation that is fearless in throwing to multiple receivers. Loyola is averaging 37.75 points per game over the last month of the regular season. The team has won four in a row.
"They are going to spread the shotgun out," Collins said. "We have to prepare to be on receivers and the biggest thing to me is how we play up front."
Indeed, a big pass rush could be the difference as the large Loyola offensive line will be in the way of the Sterlington defensive line all night.