STERLINGTON — Despite a monster night on the ground by Panthers running back Taylor Lockwood, No. 6 Calvary Baptist won the battle of high-octane offenses Friday night in Sterlington, defeating the No. 22 Panthers 56-28 in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
Lockwood finished the night with 262 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He reeled off touchdown runs of 54 and 32 yards. He also had two more big plays of 34 and 54 yards.
But in the end, the Cavaliers offense and three Panthers turnovers proved too much for Sterlington to keep its late-season run alive.
After a see-saw first quarter, the Cavaliers (9-3) used a 35-point second quarter to distance themselves from the Panthers (6-6).
The Cavaliers and the Panthers traded opening-drive scores, highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown pass from Panthers quarterback Devin Murphy to Casey Sutton. The Cavaliers tacked on a second first-quarter touchdown, and the Panthers threatened to do the same.
But Sterlington coughed up the ball on the Cavalier 9-yard line on a bad option pitch. The Cavaliers scored on their next drive and began building their insurmountable lead.
“The turnovers for them were the difference. That’s what broke this open and allowed us to separate,” Cavaliers head coach John Bachman Sr. said.
The biggest turnover of the night came with a little more than 5 minutes to go in the first half.
The Cavaliers recovered the fumble on the Panthers 10-yard line and punched it in on a 10-yard rush by Jake Bartley.
Calvary ran a no-huddle offensive attack nearly perfectly throughout the night, getting a big offensive showing from quarterback Daniel Fitzwater.
Fitzwater had an exceptional night, going 20-for-26 passing with 290 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 24 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Fitzwater was involved in the first five touchdowns the Cavaliers scored, including 17- and 34-yard touchdown passes to Colin Stogner. Stogner finished the night with 82 yards and two touchdowns on five catches.
Panthers head coach Mike Collins praised his team for climbing out of an 0-4 start to the season to finish second in their district and make it to the second round of the playoffs.
“I’m really proud of our guys for turning our season around,” Collins said. “The guys gave it everything they had.”
Calvary will continue its quest for a state title next week, facing off against No. 3 University Lab.