By T. Scott Boatright
SHREVEPORT — Early on during Friday night’s game at Calvary Baptist, Lincoln Prep looked like it could shock the world, or at least the Louisiana Class 1A football world against the second-ranked Cavaliers.
But the Cavaliers have more weapons, and more experience at tough games and at winning, and that showed as Calvary Baptist raced away from an early deficit for a 70-12 home win over the Panthers.
Part of that early success for Lincoln Prep came via a 109-yard interception return by Dmitry Payne, who picked the ball off in the back of the end zone and outraced everyone else to paydirt to put the Panthers up 6-0 less than three minutes into the contest.
“They had a guy running the baseline in the back of the end zone, and ‘Mitry stepped in front of it and it was off to the races,” said Lincoln Prep coach Glen Hall. “He took it back 109 yards. It was one of the best plays I’ve ever been part of.”
Calvary Baptist countered with a quick touchdown to go up 7-6, but the Panthers, and Payne, weren’t done with their early success.
“We drove the ball all the way down to about the 15-yard line,” Hall said of the series after the Cavaliers scored their first touchdown. “We ran a couple of screens, and after that, they were biting on that play. We call it ‘Ghost.’ And on the next play, the Ghost was wide open to the No. 2 receiver. Everybody was biting on Dmitry because he’s our top player and we had a receiver wide open in the end zone. There was never a player more open. And (Panthers quarterback) Ta’Rell Simmons) just short-armed it, like a pitcher making a bad throw. Three guys were on Dmitry. So we turned the ball over to (Calvary) and they never looked back.”
Payne also provided Lincoln Prep’s other score in big-play fashion as he raced a kickoff return back 87 yards to paydirt.
“This guy, he’s the best special teams guy I’ve coached since Dominique Hill, and he’s on my staff now,” Hall said. “He’s the best special teams guy I’ve coached in at least eight years.”
Cavalry ended up leading 28-6 at the end of the third quarter and 56-6 at halftime. Scoring slowed down after intermission as the Cavaliers went deep into their bench, only scoring 14 points in the final 24 minutes.
“They had a couple of defensive scores and ran a punt back for a score,” Hall said. “There was nothing disrespectful on their behalf. They just executed and took it to us, even after putting in most of their young guys.
“We just didn’t execute. We read our own media stories and didn’t live up to the hype they created. We just didn’t play well on offense, or defense, and we gave up two special teams touchdowns. It’s one of those things where I’m not even going to show the team the film of this game. We’re just going to start getting ready for next week and put this one behind us.”
On the night, Payne had two receptions for 30 yards along with seven kickoff returns for 290 yards — that’s an average of 41 yards per return.
Jamarius Buggs led the Panthers on the ground with 30 yards on six carries while Simmsons connected on 4-of-13 pass attempts for 40 yards.
Lincoln Prep remains on the road next week as the Panthers, 3-2 overall and 1-1 in District 1-1A, play at Lakeside (3-1 overall).
Photo by TONY VALENTINO
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