Denham Springs High already has more wins than a year ago. The Yellow Jackets face a crossroads Friday night.
Can Denham Springs (5-1, 2-0) match the power brokers of District 4-5A? The answer may be revealed when DSHS travels to play 10th-ranked Zachary (4-2, 2-0).
“This game is very personal,” Denham Springs first-year coach Bill Conides said. “We ultimately know that to win the district you have to go through two schools, Zachary and Scotlandville. If we want to achieve that goal, this is certainly a big one for us.”
The Denham Springs-Zachary game is one of three key Class 5A/4A showdowns set for 7 p.m. In District 5-5A, Dutchtown (3-3, 0-1) hosts eighth-ranked St. Amant (6-0, 1-0) looking to make it mark and keep pace with the league's top teams. In 6-4A, fourth-ranked Plaquemine (5-1, 1-0) travels to Parkview Baptist (3-3, 1-0) for the first matchup of two of the area's top programs. Also in 4-5A, fifth-ranked Scotlandville (6-0, 3-0) travels to Live Oak (2-4, 0-3).
DENHAM SPRINGS AT ZACHARY: Conides’ “modern football” offense got much of the preseason billing, but the Denham Springs defense has been steady and held the Yellow Jackets first two 4-5A foes to six points each. Running back Tyre Golmond leads area 5A/4A players with 15 touchdowns and has 663 yards rushing.
Quarterback Cameron Feucht has 1,200 yards passing and 14 TDs. On the flip side, quarterback Keilon Brown has 795 passing yards for Zachary, the 2015 Class 5A LHSAA champion. A year ago, Scotlandville was the Division I select runner-up. DSHS had three wins in 2016.
“We’ve got to continue to play good defense, keep their quarterback contained and not give up the big play,” Conides said. “On offense we need to be efficient and execute every single play. We need to control the tempo with what we do on offense. We’ve got to keep the ball in the hands of our big-play people."
ST. AMANT AT DUTCHTOWN: Quarterback Halen Miller and running back Cade Nelson have combined for 1,823 passing/rushing yards for St. Amant and illustrate a key talking point for DHS first-year coach Guy Mistretta.
“St. Amant has some very good football players,” Mistretta said. “Their whole package is greater than their parts. To me, the thing that makes them special is that they play so darned well together.”
The Griffins and quarterback Ben Mays (735 yards passing, 393 rushing yards) must limit the Gators’ scoring chances.
PLAQUEMINE AT PARKVIEW: Who is in the lineup? That is a major question, since both teams could play without multiple starters.
Defensive tackle Nelson Jenkins, an LSU commitment, has a knee injury and is among players in question for Plaquemine. Parkview running back Connor Joffrion (shoulder) and Plaquemine quarterback Herb Thomas (hip) are lost for the year.
“If either team gets a couple of guys back, it can make difference,” PBS coach Jay Mayet said. “Right now, we’re both waiting to see.”
Quarterback Alex Aucoin has 534 yards rushing and 492 passing for PBS. Michael Sproles leads a balanced rushing attack and may play quarterback for the Green Devils.