For the first time since joining the LSU recruiting class, Denham Springs defensive end Caleb Roddy returned to the football field as he and his teammates opened the season Friday night against East Ascension.
Roddy committed to LSU in June, the kind of development that leads fans to circle a player’s number in the game program.
“There are definitely more eyes on me,” Roddy said. “I have to play up to a higher expectation now because everybody expects me to make every tackle and make every play.”
He nearly did, it seemed, in the 23-0 blanking of East Ascension.
Roddy stuffed the stat sheet with eight tackles, three sacks, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and a quarterback hurry.
Two third-down sacks and a batted-down pass on third down forced punts by East Ascension in the game’s first 15 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Roddy sacked quarterback Kyran Irvin once again, this time forcing a fumble and then recovering it.
For good measure, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound senior also made his mark on special teams.
After teammate Henry Scott fielded an EA punt from his own 44-yard line, Roddy made the key block when he leveled a defender near the home sideline.
Scott went the distance for an early 7-0 lead.
“He did a fantastic job,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said. “Your best players have got to show up and play, and he made a huge impact. They tried to run away and he ran some down. It’s something he can build on and grow from.”
Alas, Roddy wasn’t perfect.
He received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he performed a celebratory pushup after tackling Irvin for a 6-yard loss early in the fourth quarter.
“He can’t do that,” Nettles said. “Got to learn to grow up and mature.”
Roddy had a huge junior season, recording 78 tackles and 12 sacks as Denham won a playoff game for the first time in 25 years.
He hopes to help the program take the next step as a senior.
With their LSU commitment leading the defense to a shutout win, the Yellow Jackets couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“Everybody wants us to win every game,” Roddy said. “There’s one of them.”
Walker shines in Lawley debut
New coach Brandon Lawley inherited a Walker program coming off a winless 2014 season and riding a 15-game losing streak.
He didn’t need long to change that.
The Wildcats won Lawley’s debut Friday in convincing fashion, blitzing Northeast 56-6 behind quarterback Terry Bozeman’s four passing touchdowns and one rushing score.
Walker had not won since beating Loranger 28-17 in October 2013.
The Wildcats will look to make it two in a row when Franklin visits Walker on Friday night.
In other action last week, Albany blanked W.L. Cohen 56-0, Springfield lost a 28-27 heart-stopper to Independence in overtime and Live Oak suffered a 35-13 setback to St. Amant in new coach Brett Beard’s debut.
Springfield went for the win in overtime after Damariae Claiborne scored on a 1-yard run, but Keenan Allen was stopped on the two-point try.
St. Amant scored on five of its first six possessions against Live Oak and led 32-0 at the half.
Springfield looks to bounce back this week with a home game against Christian Life, and Live Oak plays host to Kipp Renaissance.
Albany faces East Iberville in the second of seven straight home games to start the season.
Denham Springs welcomes Tara to Yellow Jacket Stadium this week.
DSHS honors HOF inductees
Denham Springs honored the school’s latest Athletic Hall of Fame inductees during halftime of Friday’s game against East Ascension.
The Class of 2015 included former football players Harvey Armstrong, Bradley Harris, Kenny Loup and Ron Zachary, as well as basketball players Tasmin Mitchell and Sammy Dixon Hannaman, basketball player and distance runner Rene Moseley Severio, and basketball player and track athlete Teresa Babin Fontaine.
Live Oak Middle wins two
Live Oak Middle’s football teams scored two wins last week as the eighth grade defeated Denham Springs Junior High 40-6 and the seventh grade beat Ponchatoula 32-18.
The eighth grade has its next game against Albany at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the old Live Oak High football stadium.
DSHS swim team fundraisers
Three September fundraisers to benefit the Denham Springs swim team begin with “Rotolo’s Night” on Monday at the Rotolo’s Pizzeria Bass Pro location.
Twenty percent of sales from 5 p.m. to closing time on Monday will go to the team when customers mention the DSHS swim team.
Also, this month brings the DSHS swim team’s jambalaya sale and “Raising Cane’s Night” to benefit the team.
The jambalaya sale is set for Sept. 19, when the swim team will set up outside the Walker Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jambalaya will be sold for $6 per plate.
On September 29, both Denham Springs Raising Cane’s locations — 2364 S. Range Ave. and 31685 Range Ave.— will donate 15 percent of sales when customers mention the DSHS swim team, from 5 p.m. until closing time.