El Dorado’s offense was nearly unstoppable Friday as the Wildcats outscored Magnolia 50-30 in non-conference action at Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats improved to 2-1 while the Panthers dropped to 0-4.
El Dorado scored on all five possessions of the first half and 7-of-8 overall, not including the game-ending kneel downs in the final seconds. Magnolia’s only defensive stop came on Colby Garland’s interception at the goal line in the third quarter.
“They played a lot of soft coverage against us so we took the underneath stuff. They changed their front and tightened down and then we hit ‘em over the top. We were able to throw some big punches tonight. Fortunately for us, we made a lot of plays,” said El Dorado coach Steven Jones.
“The only mistake we made in the game was the pick. He was trying to fit it in a tight space down there in the red zone. Outside of that one drive, we were pretty efficient.”
Sharmon Rester completed 12-of-15 passes for 303 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. The senior threw two 80-yard TD passes and broke off an 83-yard touchdown run.
“He was on tonight. He’s just so dynamic and able to extend the play,” said Jones. “There was a couple of times where he goes through his reads and he doesn’t like what he sees. He gets out the pocket, resets his feet and fires a strike. It’s really just fun to watch to be honest. He’s just a playmaker. The way he’s able to extend plays with his feet makes him so dangerous.”
Jackie Washington had seven receptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns. DeAndra Burns Jr., had two catches for 87 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown. Shadarious Plummer rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns on seven totes.
“They played off on our outside receivers - Kamron Bibby and DeAndra Burns. We were able to throw some underneath stuff,” Jones said. “We kind of liked the look the safeties gave us so we tried to attack with Jackie. He made some big catches tonight.”
El Dorado felt it would have its hands full with Magnolia’s flexbone offense. It was right. The Panthers, led by fullback Deray Williams, rushed for more than 400 yards. Williams accounted for 247 yards on 26 carries.
El Dorado led 35-16 at the half. Williams’ 2-yard touchdown run with 8:38 left in the third cut the deficit to 35-23. Garland’s interception gave the Panthers’ possession but the Wildcats’ defense came up with a sack on third down to force a punt.
El Dorado’s ensuing 46-yard drive culminated in Rester’s 5-yard TD toss to Washington with 1:13 left in the third.
El Dorado’s defense stopped the Panthers on downs and, one play later, Rester broke loose for an 83-yard touchdown scamper to put the game away with 9:05 remaining.
“We didn’t have (linebacker) Jyrin Steward in the first half this week so we kind of adjusted to more of a four front. We had trouble tackling in the first half,” said Jones. “The thing I was most impressed with the defense in the second half. It didn’t go our way in the first half but they got a lot better. The last couple of drives, you started to see more and more where we had two or three guys at the point of attack making tackles, making plays. It took us awhile to get going defensively. They popped us with some big runs. It is very difficult to prepare for that type of offense. We’ve got to be better defensively. We’ve got to tackle better. But, overall, their effort in the second half is what I want to build on.”
El Dorado travels to Jonesboro next week.