Pine Prairie running back JJ Sims (6) follows the block of teammate Joel Franks (24) as he tries to pick up positive yardage. Sims and the Panthers defeated Ville Platte 26-6 Friday night for the Panther’s first win over the Bulldogs in school history. Pine Prairie is now 1-1 on the year (Gazette photo Nicholas Jagneaux)
PINE PRAIRIE -- The last two seasons, the Pine Prairie Panthers have made school history by putting together back-to-back three win seasons.
After the final horn sounded Friday night, the Panthers had added to their team history, as they took down Ville Platte 26-6 for the first time ever.
“This was a huge win for this program,” stated an elated Pine Prairie head coach Yves Prince. “A win like this puts our confidence through the roof. We needed this win, especially after the Tioga loss. We had a great week of practice and it showed out there tonight.”
Two factors were the main contributors to the historical victory for Pine Prairie; the Panther running game and crucial Bulldog mistakes.
The Panthers kept the ball on the ground for most of the entire game, chewing up 321 total rushing yards on 46 attempts. The heaviest load fell on junior running back JJ Sims who toted the rock 31 times for 336 yards and scored all four of Pine Prairie’s touchdowns.
Add to that Ville Platte’s five turnovers and 64 yards in penalties and therein lies the formula for an upset win.
“Our offensive line did a tremendous job tonight getting great push up front,” said Prince. “I knew that if we were able to make some seems, JJ (Sims) could take it to the house. I am also proud of our defensive effort. We were able to come up with some big turnovers and hold their potent offense to that one touchdown.”
It took a while for either team to get it going offensively. It wasn’t until the first play of the second quarter until either team would score, when Sims jaunted 15 yards for the first Panther touchdown. Landon Johson added the extra point and Pine Prairie led 7-0.
Ville Platte responded quickly. It took the Bulldogs only five plays on the ensuing possession for them to light up the board. Facing second and 11 at the Panther 31-yard line, Bulldog quarterback Brandon Veazie connected with Jaishaun Doucet for the touchdown pass. The extra point was no good. However, at the 10:10 mark, Ville Platte had cut the lead to 7-6.
Two possessions later, the Panthers struck again. Getting the ball on their six-yard line after an Isaiah Payne interception, Pine Prairie fed Sims on three straight running plays. The third time was the charm, as Sims sprinted 89 yards for the score. Johnson’s extra point was true and with 4:09 left in the first half, the Panthers led 14-6.
The second half mirrored the first half, as neither team could add to their total throughout the entire third quarter and half way into the fourth period.
After a Ville Platte punt gave Pine Prairie the ball at their 45-yard line, Sims collected two yards on his first run and sprinted 53 yards to pay dirt on his second touch down of the possession to pull the Panthers ahead 20-6 with 7:59 left in the game.
Sims would score his final touchdown of the game the next time Pine Prairie had the ball, as he blew past all Ville Platte defenders for a 78 yard score with 4:34 left on the clock.
Pine Prairie (1-1) will host Beau Chene on Friday, while Class 4A Washington-Marion travels to Ville Platte (0-2).