Sterlington (4-0) at Calvary Baptist (1-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
Outscoring its first four foes by a collective margin of 157-32, the Sterlington Panthers have yet to be tested this season. Coach Lee Doty expects that to change Friday night when the Panthers visit Calvary Baptist at 7 p.m.
"This is the best team we've played so far. It's not even close," Doty said.
Calvary brings a deceptive 1-3 mark into the contest. Facing a tough schedule, the Cavaliers opened the season with consecutive losses to Class 5A Byrd (42-32), Union Parish (32-25) and Class 4A Bastrop (45-30) before getting their first win last week against Peabody (45-12).
Sterlington's defense has the challenge of containing a diverse offense, which averages 418.8 yards per game (253.5 passing, 165.3 rushing).
"They are 50-50 run-pass exactly, and they are good at both of them," Doty said.
Sophomorequarterback Cade Hart has completed 54-of-92 passes for 1,014 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Hart has distributed the ball equally among Frederick "Tank" Davis (15 receptions, 282 yards, 2 TDs), Will Derrick (14-173-1), Mason Woodie (11-152-1) and Kordavion Washington (10-272-3), who averages a staggering 27.2 yards per catch.
Washington is also the Cavaliers' leading rusher with 65 carries for 425 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and 5 TDs. Isaiah Brown (21-142-1; 6.8 ypg) complements Washington in the running game.
LinebackerJack Tyndall (37 tackles, 1 tackle for loss), free safety Cameron Thomas (37 tackles, 1 interception) and linebacker Phillip Legler (26 tackles) top Calvary's tackle chart.
"They have a big defensive line and All-American defensive backs," Doty said. "It's going to be a challenge for us."
Calvary is also sound in the kicking game as Seth Stevens is 14-of-15 on PATs and a perfect 4-of-4 on field goals with a long of 35.
Punter Brian Barber, who has been called upon only five times, averages 38.8 yards per try with a long of 50. Three of his kicks have forced opponents to start inside the 20.
Winners of 13 straight and ranked No. 4 in this week's Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A poll, the Panthers present their own set of challenges.
Last week's 43-13 win over Loyola marked the Panthers' slimmest margin of victory thus far. While the Panthers have had their way on the field, Doty has been disappointed in their mental approach the past three weeks.
"Our focus hasn't been what it has needed to be, in my opinion, since West Ouachita," Doty said, referring to a 45-13 Week 1 win. "We need to be focused and ready to go Friday."
Doty says the Panthers are off to a good start preparation wise.
"We've had two good days of preparation this week," Doty said shortly after Tuesday's practice. "We need to play better than we have been playing. We are going to need to play our best game if we are going to win on the road."
Friday's game marks the second leg of back-to-back trips to Shreveport for the Panthers.
"We're looking forward to going there and playing the game, but we are also looking forward to getting back to the friendly confines of home," Doty said. "Loyola and Calvary both have nice facilities and nice places to dress. If you have to make road trips, those are two good places to go."
Similar to Calvary, Sterlington averages 411.6 total yard per game. However, the Panthers' attack is more geared toward the run (308.8 rushing ypg, 102.8 passing ypg).
Tailback Austin Dupree (67 carries, 592 yards, 6 TDs; 8.8 ypg), who has cleared the 100-yard barrier in all four games, is the centerpiece of a rushing attack which averages 7 yards per carry. Fullback Luke Denman (52-215-3) and quarterback Carson Clowers (18-161-2; 8.9 ypc) are also threats out of the backfield.
Clowers has been efficient through the air, completing 30-of-56 passes for 394 yards and 3 TDs without a pick.
Brooks Rushworth (12 receptions, 215 yards, 2 TDs; 17.9 ypc) and Davis Johnson (7-115-1; 16.4 ypc) are the Panthers' primary receivers.
Linebacker Dawson Snell (36 tackles, 1 sack) continues to lead the Panthers defensively, along with end Tanner Coley (19 tackles, 1 sack), tackle/end Chandler Moncrief (18 tackles, 1 sack), strong safety Trevor Jones (18 tackles), linebacker Bailyn McKoin (16 tackles, 1 sack), tackle Colby Rivera (16 tackles) and cornerback Trey Eddins (10 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery).
Like Calvary, Sterlington has excelled on special teams.
Landon Green has converted 19-of-21 PATs and 2-of-5 field goals with a long of 40.
Rushworth is averaging 45.4 yards on eight punts, four of which have been downed inside the 20.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK for the Loyola game were Austin Dupree (offense), Bailyn McKoin (defense) and Trey Eddins (special teams).
Dupree rushed for a career-high 191 yards on 16 carries, highlighted by a 78-yard TD burst, against Loyola.
McKoin had five solo tackles and an assist as the Panthers held the Flyers to 143 total yards (80 rushing, 63 passing).
PLAY OF THE GAME: Eddins made an acrobatic, leaping catch to recover a sky kick at the Loyola 28. Eddins overran the ball, which bounced well over his head after striking the turf, but was able to corral the ball in the air despite taking a hit to the facemask and landing flat on his back.
"Trey must have jumped about 11 feet in the air," Doty said as he pulled the play up on Hudl. "His body control in unbelievable. That's one of the most athletic plays I've seen in a while."
NEXT: Sterlington opens District 2-3A play at home next Friday vs. Carroll.