In their second week of preseason camp, the Sterlington Panthers are gearing to host Cedar Creek in a Thursday, August 17 scrimmage.
Sterlington has devoted a significant amount of practice time to special teams play during preseason camp, and the results are already starting to show.
"We feel like we can be pretty good on special teams," Sterlington coach Lee Doty said. "We have put a lot of emphasis on the punting game, and we feel pretty good about our punt team right now.
Brooks Rushworth averaged 34.8 yards on 10 punts with a long of 48 and Clay Vaughn punted 16 times for a 31.9 norm with a long of 42 last season. Place kicker Landon Green is also getting a look as the punter.
"Brooks and Landon are both doing a great job," Doty said.
Colby Rivera is handling the often-under appreciated deep snapping role formerly held by Austin Goodson.
"Colby Rivera is doing a really good job snapping," Doty said. "You don't realize how important a snapper is until you don't have one. We feel good about Colby."
Green made 62-of-71 extra points as a sophomore, along with three field goals for a total of 71 points. His long field goal was from 34 yards out, but it was a chip shot that mattered the most. Green's 18-yard field goal in triple overtime sealed the Panthers' 40-37 victory over Many in the Class 2A state semifinals. A week later, he made all four PAT attempts to help the Panthers capture their first state championship with a 28-27 decision over Madison Prep.
Doty says Green has shown no signs of letting up.
"Landon has worked hard all summer," Doty said. "He has done a lot of work on his own and been to some camps. Kicking means a lot to him, and it shows."
While the special teams have shown promise, the Panthers are far from a finished product with a Thursday, August 17 date against Cedar Creek rapidly approaching. Starting time for the scrimmage is 6 p.m. at Panther Stadium.
"We have to get a lot better before then," Doty said. "I feel like we are getting a lot of effort out of our kids, but we definitely have some things to get better at and clean up."
Of course, the rough edges are to be expected at this time of the year.
"There are always question marks, and we still have those, no doubt," Doty said. "We have to be prepared by the time we play West Ouachita, and we have a lot of questions to be answered before that game."
Closing out preseason play, the Panthers are paired against St. Frederick in the Bayou Jamb at ULM's Malone Stadium on Saturday, August 26 at 1 p.m.
The regular season gets underway Friday, September 1, with the Panthers traveling to Cadeville to face West Ouachita.