Notes and quotes from Sterlington's 43-34 win over Wossman.
Stats aren't always an accurate reflection of a football game, but they are in the case of Sterlington's 43-34 victory over Wossman on Friday night.
A glimpse at the numbers reveal that tailback Dallas Reagor (24 carries, 382 yards, 3 touchdowns) had an incredible game and fullback Jordan Townsend (17-125-1) was quite effective in his own right.
Now let's take a step beyond the box score. Trey Rugg, Tyler Hitt, Braden Bruscato, Brock Risinger and Jack Anderson aren't mentioned, at least by name. But their footprints are all over one telling line on the stat sheet: 50 carries, 539 yards. From a mathematical standpoint, that's 10.8 yards per carry against a talented defense.
"I can't say enough about those guys," Sterlington coach Lee Doty said of the interior crew. "They played great tonight."
And let's not forget tight ends Hixson Street and Kyle Elee.
As the numbers indicate, there was a whole lot of blocking going on by the charcoal-clad Panthers Friday night.
"They threw a bunch of different formations at us, but we handled it pretty well," guard Brock Risinger said. "We gameplanned really well, worked hard the whole week, and played really well against a good team on homecoming."
In high school football, homecoming can be a more challenging foe than the opposing side itself. To its credit, Sterlington's football team has taken care of its business on the field during recent years.
"The difference between us and most people is we play like it's a normal game instead of a homecoming game," Risinger said.
Over the past two weeks, the Panthers have put up 52 and 49 points.
"We're starting to come together," Risinger said of the offense. "You can see it over the past few weeks."
While the line has been solid, just as Doty predicted during the preseason, the Panthers still have some ball security issues to clean up. Sterlington fumbled four times against Wossman, losing two.
"If we can cut down on the turnovers, we'll be a great offense again," Risinger said.
Sterlington's offensive line, meanwhile, continues to grow.
"We watch film together, go out to eat and spend time together," Risinger said. "That's why we have such good chemistry as offensive linemen."
WARRIOR: Whether on the football field or the pitcher's mound, senior strong tackle Trey Rugg has become known as a fierce competitor. He proved Friday night that the reputation is well-deserved. Despite rolling his ankle on the Panthers' first offensive play, Rugg played through the pain.
"Trey absolutely grinded it out," Doty said. "We had a lot of them playing hurt, but the kids knew it was a big game. We had to tape them up and get it done."
OVER, 1,000: Dallas Reagor cleared the 1,000-yard hurdle Friday night. His current line reads 124 carries, 1,241 yards and 13 touchdowns.
TAKEAWAY: With Wossman driving early in the fourth quarter, free safety Reece Brooks forced and recovered a fumble to preserve the Panthers' 30-26 lead. It proved to be a pivotal turnover as Sterlington scored two plays later to go up 36-26.
Sterlington's ball security issues have been well-documented in recent weeks. The opposition has actually put the ball on the ground more often than the Panthers (13-11), but Brooks' fumble recovery was only the team's third of the season.
"For the first time since Oak Grove, we recovered a fumble," Doty said.
RISING STAR: Sophomore running back Jessie Booker had a stellar night for the Wildcats, accounting for 191 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Wossman's remaining ball carriers were held to seven yards on 17 attempts.
Wossman connected on only 8-of-23 passes, but averaged 21.8 yards per completion.
KICKING GAME: Pressed into service when Landon Green was injured in the Oak Grove game, freshman Jacob Green has kicked field goals of 23 and 36 yards the past two weeks.
Clay Vaughn unloaded a season-long 56-yard punt in the first quarter against Wossman.
43 ON 43: Sterlington offensive coordinator Bobby Breen celebrated his 43rd birthday Friday. Rather than buying a cake with 43 candles, the offense marked every year with a point in the 43-34 victory.