Sterlington 48, Richwood 20
Sterlington jumped out to a 20-0 halftime lead on its way to a 48-21 Senior Night victory over Richwood on Thursday night.
Closing out the regular season at 8-2, the District 2-3A champion Panthers will host a first round playoff game against an opponent to be determined. Playoff brackets will be released Sunday.
Richwood ended Sterlington's 2017 season with a 15-14 quarterfinal win at Panther Stadium. Sterlington may have returned the favor by eliminating the Rams from playoff contention in the regular season finale. One year removed from a state runner-up finish, the Rams (2-8) are in danger of missing the 32-team cut.
Thursday night, the Panthers received the opening kickoff and scored on their first series. Jordan Townsend's 8-yard run and Jacob Green's PAT put the Panthers ahead to stay, 7-0, with 7:37 left in the first quarter.
Two series later, after stopping the Rams on downs at the 8, the Panthers ran more than six minutes off the clock while covering 92 yards on 13 plays. Dallas Reagor's 6-yard run widened the spread to 13-0 with 4:47 remaining in the second quarter.
Jacob Green booted field goals of 29 and 24 yards in the final two minutes as Sterlington raised its lead to 20-0 at the midway point.
Things got chippy in a penalty-marred second half.
Benny Davis' scoop and score helped the Rams close within 20-8 early in the third period.
After the two sides traded turnovers, the Panthers put the game out of reach by scoring on their final four possessions.
Layton Rainbolt's 14-yard pass from Hayes Crockett padded the margin to 27-8.
Continuing to hang around, the Rams drew within 27-15 on Michael Sherman's 57-yard run with 2:46 to play in quarter number three.
Sterlington began to separate from there.
Malik Davis' 2-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter pushed the difference to 34-15.
On the Rams' next play from scrimmage, Bryce Still recovered a fumble forced by Cole Jones to turn the ball back over to the Panthers at the plus-5. Crockett took it on the next snap to put Sterlington in control 41-15.
Sherman's second touchdown, from 16 yards out, narrowed the gap to 41-21.
In for Crockett, Grant Mangrum sneaked in from a yard out to put a wrap on the scoring with just under four minutes to go.
Sterlington out-gained the Rams 363-171, but it was the penalty line that stood out on the stat table. Richwood was booked 19 times for 183 yards while the Panthers drew 14 flags for 133.
Led by Reagor's 180 yards on 21 attempts, the Panthers rushed for 275 yards.
Crockett was 6-of-10 for 88 yards through the air while rushing for 73 yards on a dozen tries.
Rainbolt had two receptions for 33 yards and a 50-yard punt return, and Clay Vaughn added two receptions for 38 stripes.
Continuing to make his way back from a Game 1 injury, C.J. Colvin caught a 9-yard pass and returned a kickoff 26 yards.
Free safety Reece Brooks had a monster game on the defensive side with a career-high 14 tackles and an interception. Jones tallied 10 tackles with a stop in the backfield, a sack and a forced fumble. Townsend recorded a sack and Dorian Eddins contributed a pick.