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|Sterlington tripped by Oak Grove|
The Sterlington Panthers (3-2) will look to bounce back from their second consecutive loss when they hit the road to take on the Farmerville Farmers this Friday night at 7 p.m.
Sterlington is attempting to shake off a tough loss to rival Oak Grove last Thursday, 39-32.
After trailing Oak Grove 28-8 at halftime, Sterlington reeled off 24 unanswered points to take a 31-28 lead over the Tigers in the fourth quarter.
Oak Grove took the lead right back on the ensuing possession on a Jimmy Pepmiller touchdown run.
With 9:54 remaining in the fourth quarter, Sterlington made yet another big effort on offense as quarterback Logan Dopson connected with Clay Branton on a 62-yard touchdown throw that was the second time the Sterlington duo had connected in the game.
Branton caught a 60-yard score from Dopson in the first quarter to open the touchdown spree for the Panthers.
"He is just a real solid player," Collins said. "He is having to play both ways, but it was not as humid in that game and I think that helped. You cannot be in any better condition though. Whatever you want to run, those Branton boys will run all day with you."
That second score capped a 3-play, 72-yard drive by Sterlington. D'Madrei Richardson scored on the next play for the fourth two-point conversion by the Panthers to give the Panthers a 32-31 lead.
Sterlington seemed to put the game away on the ensuing Oak Grove drive when senior cornerback Patrick Sutton plucked a Pepmiller pass out of the October air and returned it to the Tiger's 30-yard line.
The Sterlington drive quickly stalled and the Oak Grove offense took the punt. A few plays later they found a hole in the Panther defense when running back Kendrick Jackson threw a pass deep down field, which De'La Mayer caught for a 82-yard score. Mayer then caught a pass in the back of the end zone to tack on a two-point conversion that would seemingly end the Sterlington hopes for a hard-fought victory.
Dopson and the Sterlington offense still had one more chance for victory, but a second down snap over the head of Dopson with just 1:18 left put the Panthers back in a hole. A deep pass on fourth down drew a pass interference call against Oak Grove. That would have gave the panthers first down in Oak Grove territory with one minute left to play. The referees quickly huddled up and reversed the call because the line judge determined the ball was tipped before the hit on D'Mari Richardson of Sterlington.
Now Sterlington turns their attention to one of Class 2A's best squads over the past two seasons, the Farmerville Fighting Farmers who are 4-1 on the season. Farmerville suffered their first loss of the season last week at the hands of the Class 3A Rayville Hornets.
"They are a very solid, and very athletic team," Collins said. "We have to play with more intensity and tackle better this week."
Head coach Joe Spatafora has skillfully guided the Farmerville program back to prominence and even a quarterfinal playoff appearance a year ago.
Farmerville quarterback Caleb Kelley is averaging 131 yards passing per game. Running back Depail Elliot is a true threat to return every kick back for a score and did so two weeks ago against Springhill.
Shannon Ward and Eric Loyd also recorded rushing touchdowns for the Farmers against Rayville.
Sterlington will look to cut out penalties and turnovers on offense to be more proficient and let their tested defense get more rest in the second half of games.