Jason Thompson channeled his inner Dennis Green when looking back on Sterlington’s 27-6 district road win at Jonesboro-Hodge.
The Tigers (4-4, 1-2 2-2A) turned out to be exactly who Thompson thought they were with a physical front-four on defense. But fortunately for Sterlington, they brought their offensive line.
Leaning heavily on the big men in the trenches, the Panthers (5-3, 3-0) controlled the tempo of the game from start to finish, limiting J-Hodge to just six total offensive possessions and two in the second half.
“I thought our offensive line played maybe their best game of the year,” Thompson said. “As the game wore on we were able to tire them out and sustain some long drives.
“Anytime you play around 35 snaps defensively you have to feel good about that.”
Senior Sam Lowery shouldered much of the backfield load with 16 carries for 79 yards after sophomore DeVante Douglas left the game in the third quarter with a stinger. West Monroe transfer Jeffrey Griffin continues to work himself into football shape after battling injuries for most of the year and added 52 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Sterlington offensive coordinator Bobby Breen’s play calling continued the Panthers’ recent trend towards balance with junior quarterback Devon Murphy completing all six of his passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns to Antonio Gray and Ross Lambert.
Murphy is 10-for-10 for 270 yards and four touchdowns in Sterlington’s past two games.
The Panthers’ leading tacklers were linebackers Auston Smith (9) and Luke Temple (8) and free safety Semaj Colvin (8).
Sterlington returns to Panther Stadium next Friday for Senior Night against General Trass.
Oak Grove puts early season issues in past
Former coach Vic Dalrymple’s teams at Oak Grove were known for their slow starts.
It may have taken them a little while to get going, but once they did Oak Grove was always right in the thick of things in its district.
Oak Grove hoped the hiring of former player and longtime assistant Ryan Gregory this offseason would foster a return to the program’s glory days. That remains to be seen, but the slow starts have returned — and the late season improvement that in the past led to four state championships and 24 district titles.
The Tigers (4-4, 3-0 2-2A) remained in the hunt for No. 25 by blowing out General Trass 38-8 on Friday in Lake Providence.
Gregory said things as simple as not turning the ball over and eliminating big plays on defense have helped Oak Grove win three-in-a-row in District 2-2A. The Tigers and Sterlington are the only two teams left undefeated in district play.
“We’ve grown up steadily all year and gotten better each game which is what you want to see,” Gregory said. “There are still things we have to work on, but we’ve given ourselves a chance to make a run at the end of the season.”
The Tiger offense was finally able to get quarterback Chris Mitchell back to full health, and he responded with 88 yards and three rushing touchdowns. The duo of tailback Jaylan Holt and fullback Sam Philley also chipped in with over 100 yards a piece.
Oak Grove ran for 392 yards as a team.
General Trass’ dynamic quarterback A.J. Bruce passed for 124 yards and ran for 102 more, but the Panthers (4-4, 1-2) struggled to cross the goal line against a salty Tiger defense.
“That’s the fewest amount of points we’ve held those guys to in the last six years,” Gregory said. “The defense did a great job limiting his plays and staying in their rush lanes.
“At the same time we’ve got to have a short memory and get back to work.”
Oak Grove starts the first of a two-game home stand to close the regular season next week against Winnfield.
Connect with Adam on Twitter @adam_hunsucker
West Monroe fullback awaits LHSAA ruling
West Monroe senior fullback Parker Davidson was ejected in the first half of a 42-14 win at Pineville for allegedly throwing a punch.
LHSAA rules stipulate that there are different penalties for an ejection depending on the circumstance. If a fight had broken out during the incident, which was not reportedly the case, there could be a one-game suspension.
The determination from the LHSAA will come at a later date after the league office reviews the official’s report from the game.
West Monroe head coach Jerry Arledge said that he expects Davidson to have to undergo an online class through the internet given by the LHSAA for minor infractions.
The team will also be sending in video of the incident to the LHSAA. New rules passed last year that allow the school to appeal a ruling using video evidence.
“We believe we have a good picture of what happened (in the video),” Arledge said. “We will turn it in, and go from there.”
West Monroe can wrap up a District 2-5A championship Friday when they visit cross-town rival Ouachita at 7 p.m.
— Cody Futrell