Griffins’ grind outlasts Denham Springs

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Leonard?Wyatt and Randy Thackery drop Denham Springs’ John Simon in the first half of the LeBlanc Food Stores’ Jamboree Friday evening.

DENHAM SPRINGS – Dutchtown showed its grinding capability and quick strike ability scoring on its first two possessions before holding off Denham Springs for a 17-9 jamboree victory in the opening game of the LeBlanc Food Stores Ascension – Livingston Challenge at Yellow Jacket Stadium Friday evening.

“Great job - good effort,” Dutchtown head Benny Saia told his team. “We got a lot of work to do but that is OK because everybody has a lot of work to do. The teams that get better, those are the teams that make the playoffs. Everybody is in the same spot right now. Remember we don’t get to this but 10 times. Let’s get better and make them all count.”

Dutchtown drove 80 yards in 14 plays to open the contest capped by Grant Auzene’s 23-yard field goal with 9:43 left in the half. Kelvin York carried seven times and quarterback Wesley Perkins connected with Colby Little for 12 yards to cross midfield.

Perkins hit Effrem Reed deep over the middle for a 53-yard scoring strike on the first play of the Griffins next possession after forcing Denham Springs into a three-and-out. Auzene’s kick made it 10-0 with 7:15 left to play.

“I thought Wesley Perkins played well,” Saia said. “I thought that was a beautiful throw on the deep ball. We have been working very hard on that so that was good to see.”

Denham Springs drove 49 yards in 10 plays on the ensuing possession capped by Josh Lewis’ 48-yard field goal to cut it to 10-3 with 2:51 left in the half. Quarterback Kevin Long connected with running back John Simon out of the backfield for 26 yards to fuel the drive across midfield.

“I think our guys came out to prove we can compete against anybody we play,” Denham Springs head coach Dru Nettles said. “You don’t want to give up big plays. That obviously separated us but our guys responded.”

Aaron Dunn recovered a fumbled snap at the Griffin 43 to stall the ensuing Dutchtown drive.

Simon capped the Yellow Jackets 14-play 80-yard drive to open the second half with an 11-yard burst. Justin Lathers 22-yard sprint brought Denham Springs to midfield and Simon carried the load after. Jared Braud blocked Lewis kick to leave the score 10-9 with 8:55 left to play.

“They had a great drive to start the second half and ate up a lot of the clock but I was proud of our guys,” Saia said. “Denham Springs did a real good job. They have two quality backs and they put a good drive together. We answered and came right back down. We had three penalties on that drive that we overcame and we scored and ate the clock up. That is our game. We put our sophomore quarterback in there because I think it is important he gets some experience. I want to win everything I do but bottom line is this game doesn’t count.”

Leon Blouin orchestrated a 16-play, 80-yard drive on the ensuing possession and capped it with a 2-yard sneak. Auzene’s kick made it 17-9 with 58 seconds left to play. York carried nine times on the drive and Blouin kept for 14 yards to cross Dutchtown pass midfield.

“Dutchtown is a quality team and hopefully our guys learned a lot tonight about playing that kind of competition,” Nettles said. “We were right in there with them and one possession away from tying it. They have real good backs but I think our guys tonight proved we have a good mix. York made some good runs when they had long yardage and we didn’t get off the field on third and long. We had a chance.”

York finished with 114 yards on 17 carries. Reed added 36 yards on five carries and  Lyndon Holmes provided 28 yards on three carries. Dutchtown was without its returning leading rusher Eddie Lacy who is expected to miss two to three weeks with a knee injury received in the Griffins scrimmage against Zachary a week earlier.

“When somebody gets hurt, you have to play a little harder and carry a little more of the load,” Saia said. “That is what we are. They got too.  We are tailback oriented.”

Simon led the Yellow Jackets with 60 yards on 11 carries and Long was 7 of 14 for 60 yards.

Dutchtown regular season opener against Assumption at Griffin Field Friday night in Geismar was cancelled due to Hurricane Gustav.

Dutchtown’s Kelvin York bursts through a hole created by Lyndon Holmes, Robert Chandler, Thomas Harvey and Michael Hernandez on the Griffins’ first drive against Denham Springs in the LeBlanc Food Stores’ Jamboree Friday evening.