Pine Prairie running back JJ Sims rolls around the end for a huge pickup. The senior athlete rushed for 192 yards on 23 carries and scored six touchdowns including a 65 yard punt return for a score. Sims also intercepted a pass on defense in leading the Panthers to a 43-13 win over Mamou Thursday night. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
Winning with purpose
PINE PRAIRIE – Pine Prairie senior running back JJ Sims racked up six touchdowns to help propel the Panthers to a resounding 43-13 win over parish and district rival Mamou Thursday night.
The athletic Sims put on a clinic in all phases of the game, rushing for 192 yards on 23 carries and five touchdowns. Sims also returned a punt back 65 yards for a score and intercepted a pass on defense.
With the win, Pine Prairie moved to 3-3 on the year and 2-2 in District 5-3A play. But perhaps, more importantly, the Panthers picked up valuable power points in their quest to make the playoffs for the first time in school history. Pine Prairie will travel to Eunice Friday night to take on the Bobcats in another district contest.
“This was definitely a must needed win for us tonight,” stated Pine Prairie head coach Yves Prince. “For us to get that third win at this point in the season takes us one step closer to our ultimate goal of making the playoffs. Tonight we played well in all phases of the game.”
“But, our offensive line in particular did a great job of allowing JJ to get some openings,” Prince continued. “JJ is one of the best backs around the area and he proved that again tonight. The only thing I was disappointed in was that we lost our poise at times. We have to always show sportsmanship at all time. Now we control our own destiny.”
The loss for Mamou dropped them to 0-6 on the season and 0-3 in district competition. The 13 points for the Demons was the most points scored in a game this year and marked only the third touchdown in 2018. Mamou will host the Crowley Gents Friday night in a district game.
“All season long, the first half has not been good for us,” stated Mamou head coach Dwight Collins. “From my perspective, despite our record, we get out there every day and work to make sure that we put ourselves in a position to win and that does not seem to translate on the field in the first half for some reason.”
“We had a whole lot of missed tackles and seemed to just go through the motions,” Collins continued. “But, that shouldn’t take away from what Pine Prairie did. They went out and executed and did what they had to do to win the game.”
After the two teams exchanged punts on their respective opening possessions, Mamou was forced to give the ball up once again on their second drive of the game. Punter Dino Deshotel let sail a 32 yard punt right in the direction of Sims, who hauled the ball in at the 35-yard line and sprinted his way past the Demon punt team for the first touchdown of the game. The extra point was good off of the foot of Landon Johnson and with 6:34 to go in the first quarter, the Panthers led 7-0.
Holding the Demons to another three-and-out on the ensuing possession, the Panthers got the ball back in excellent field position after a shanked punt that traveled only eight yards. Utilizing the short field given to them,