Sterlington 38, Calvary Baptist 20
SHREVEPORT — When it comes to tailbacks, Sterlington is taking its "Next Man Up" mantra to the extreme.
Dallas Reagor, who began the season on defense, became the Panthers' latest emergency tailback Friday night. Making his first start a memorable one, the 5-10, 170-pound sophomore rushed for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 25 carries as the Panthers trounced Calvary Baptist 38-20.
Entering the game with a mere three carries for 7 yards — all in mopup duty during a 43-13 Week 4 victory over Shreveport Loyola — Reagor became the latest in a growing list of Panthers to thrive at tailback.
Sterlington's tailback revolving door began in Week 1 when C.J. Colvin, the original starter, suffered a season-ending foot injury on a punt return. Projected to share the load with Colvin, Malik Davis hasn't played since Week 1, either, due to a fractured ankle. Davis, who is wearing a surgical boot, said last week that he expects to be ready in time for the Panthers' Oct. 13 matchup at Wossman.
Meanwhile, Austin Dupree, who began the season at fullback, stepped in at tailback. With Dupree reeling off four straight 100-yard games and Luke Denman settling in at fullback, the Panthers appeared to have finally found some stability in the backfield. However, Dupree rolled his ankle in practice Wednesday afternoon, sending the Panthers back to square one.
Sure, running behind the offensive line of Brock Risinger, Trey Rugg, Landon Jinks, Whit Buffington and Chandler Jones makes life easier for a tailback. But the way Sterlington continues to find tailbacks without missing a beat is nothing short of remarkable.
Reagor's breakout party wasn't the game's only storyline. Sterlington outscored the Cavaliers 21-0 in the fourth quarter to turn a 3-point deficit into a definitive victory.
Down 17-7 at intermission, Calvary closed within a field goal on Kordavion Washington's 33-yard run, and took a 20-17 lead on Cade Hart's 1-yard sneak with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter.
After forcing a Sterlington punt, the Cavaliers (1-4) regained possession at their own 46 with a chance to add to their lead.
Three plays later, Sterlington linebacker Dawson Snell's interception flipped the momentum.
Back on offense, the Panthers regained the lead for good with a nine-play, 65-yard drive. Carson Clowers' 19-yard touchdown pass to Brooks Rushworth, who made the catch after the ball caromed off the hands of a teammate, put Sterlington ahead 24-20 with 9:44 to play.
Calvary's next three snaps resulted in a pair of turnovers.
Snell came up big again, forcing a fumble, and teammate Cole Jones made the recovery at the Cavaliers' 29.
Needing just three plays to capitalize on the short field, the Panthers extended their lead to 31-20 on Reagor's 1-yard TD plunge with 8:25 remaining.
Sterlington was back in the end zone 59 seconds later after the defense came up with its third straight turnover.
Dorian Eddins returned an interception 45 yards to the 1, and Denman punched it in from there to cement the Panthers' victory.
Receiving the opening kickoff, Calvary marched 65 yards on seven plays, grabbing an early 7-0 lead on Washington's 3-yard run.
Sterlington matched the Cavaliers' seven-play, 65-yard drive on its second series, tying the game on Reagor's 8-yard TD burst.
Calvary threatened on its next possession, advancing to the Sterlington 11 before Trevor Jones blocked a 38-yard field goal attempt.
Shortly thereafter, Landon Green's 34-yard field goal gave the Panthers their first lead, 10-7, early in the second quarter.
For the second straight week, the Panthers' hurry-up offense beat the clock with time winding down in the first half. Denman's 15-yard reception off of a shovel pass capped a six-play, 78-yard drive with 53 seconds remaining, enabled the visitors to carry a 17-7 lead into recess.
Sterlington (5-0) makes its District 2-3A debut at home Friday night against the Carroll Bulldogs (2-3).
Notes: Sterlington held Calvary to a season-low 95 yards passing. ... The Panthers' front four was relentless as Tanner Coley (2.5 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries), Colby Rivera (1.5 sacks, 2 QBH) and Chandler Moncrief (1 sacks, 3 QBH) combined for five sacks and seven QB pressures. ... Snell paced the Panthers defensively with a dozen stops, while create two turnovers. Trevor Jones was next with nine tackles and a blocked FG. ... Eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season, Washington rushed for a season-high 163 yards and two scores on 20 carries.