Bayou Jamb: Sterlington vs. Bastrop, 8 p.m., at ULM
Sterlington closes out preseason play Friday night against Bastrop in the Bayou Jamb at ULM. St. Frederick and Jonesboro-Hodge square off at 6 p.m. in the early game, followed by Sterlington vs. Bastrop at 8:00.
Saturday's card has Jena vs. Ouachita Christian at 1 p.m., Mangham vs. Oak Grove at 3:00, Ouachita vs. Ruston at 5:00 and Neville vs. West Monroe at 7:00.
Sterlington scrimmaged Class 1A Cedar Creek on Thursday, Aug. 16, but the Class 4A Rams present a different set of obstacles.
"Bastrop is very athletic," Sterlington coach Lee Doty said. "They are a lot like the teams we play in our district and the teams we played in the playoffs last year. They are big, athletic and fast. It's going to be a quite a challenge for us."
Bastrop is led by quarterback Quaterius Hawkins, the reigning District 2-4A Offensive MVP, who has scholarship offers from ULM and McNeese State among others. Wide receivers Christian Smith and Calvert "Big Body" Johnson headline an explosive group of receivers.
Defensive leaders for the Rams include end Denterrius McHenry, strong safety C.J. Mullins and free safety Phillip Jackson.
Doty says going up against a team of Bastrop's caliber will make the Panthers better.
"Playing against this type of speed is going to help us," Doty said. "Things will slow down for us after playing them. Not many people have that type of speed and size."
Bastrop's scrimmage against Wossman was cut short Saturday evening due to lightning with the Rams' starters taking only 29 snaps (14 offense, 15 defense).
Sterlington, meanwhile, had a full scrimmage against Cedar Creek, complete with situational work and a live quarter.
"I thought we played a lot better than expected," Doty said. "As long as we stay healthy, we're going to be fine. It's going to take a while for us to get going. We just need to get a few games under out belt and a little experience."
Two areas of intrigue for the Panthers going into the scrimmage were the offensive and defensive lines. Both groups showed promise.
"I thought our offensive and defensive lines played well," Doty said. "Going in, I felt like we had a chance to be decent on the offensive line. I was glad to see the defensive line play as well as they did. We just need to get more consistent there."
With nose guard Colby Rivera and end Bryce Still disrupting the flow up front, the Panthers held the Cougars to 98 yards on 25 rushing attempts.
A trio of veterans — Trey Rugg, Brock Risinger and Jack Anderson — paved the way as the Panthers piled up 383 rushing yards on just 32 attempts (11.9 yards per carry).
Next Friday marks the start of the regular season as the Panthers host West Ouachita at 7 p.m.
"We'll do what we can to get through the Bayou Jamb healthy and start worrying about power points next week," Doty said.
BAYOU JAMB SCHEDULE
At Malone Stadium, ULM
St. Frederick vs. Jonesboro-Hodge, 6 p.m.
Sterlington vs. Bastrop, 8 p.m.
Jena vs. Ouachita Christian, 1 p.m.
Mangham vs. Oak Grove, 3 p.m.
Ouachita vs. Ruston, 5 p.m.
Neville vs. West Monroe, 7 p.m.
Note: Games consist of two 15-minute quarters.