DENHAM SPRINGS — It took five tries for the Denham Springs boys soccer team to score its first goal of the 2018 LHSAA Division I playoffs.
Lucky for them, those five shots all came within the first four minutes of the game, leaving plenty of time to add to their total.
The 10th-seeded Yellow Jackets rode a fast start and a stingy defense into the second round, downing No. 23 H.L. Bourgeois 5-1 in bistrict contest played Friday night at DSHS.
“Our coach told us the more we keep this game 0-0, the less it shifts in our favor,” said Denham’s Collin Turner. “We had to come out early, come out with intensity and put away a goal early so we could get some momentum.”
Denham Springs maintained a high level of attack for the vast majority of the night, outshooting the visiting Braves 26-4, including 17-2 in shots on frame.
But it was the first half where the Yellow Jackets built up their commutable lead for the night.
Sophomore William Chevalier started the bombardment with the first goal of the night when he picked up loose ball in the middle of the box where he promptly volleyed it off the bounce and into the lower corner.
Before the end of the half, three of Chevalier’s teammates would join him with their own goals: Jose Ortega in the 19th minute, Bryan Lagos in the 31st and Turner with a perfectly placed free kick from 40 yards out in the 36th minute.
With a large lead, the Yellow Jackets were less successful scoring in the second half.
Turner scored the Yellow Jackets lone goal of the second half. He dribbled out of the corner of the field to beat three defenders on his way to another goal.
“I was happy with the start,” said coach Christopher Thorne. “I wasn’t happy we didn’t maintain the pressure. We like pressure. We like to go as hard as we can and keep the pressure up top.”
Along with advancing into the second round of the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, the Yellow Jackets also abruptly ended the Braves’ first postseason trip in seven years.
The freshmen-heavy HLB team never got comfortable Friday night, especially after Denham Springs’ fast start.
The lone bright moment came in the 22nd minute when Evan Dugas slipped through the Yellow Jackets’ back line for a goal.
Even in a loss, coach Travis Dupre said it shows a bright future for the program.
“It’s the first time any of these guys have been to the playoffs,” Dupre said. “I think they just came out a little sluggish, a little nervous at first, and allowed them to get that first goal. We settled in and got a goal back, but the lack of experience on the field is pretty much what killed us.”