LIVE OAK — Denham Springs High is putting together a sterling boys soccer season, and the Yellow Jackets maintained their winning ways Wednesday evening at Live Oak.
Even so, after staying undefeated in Division I, District 4, with a 3-0 win over the Eagles, Yellow Jackets coach Chris Thorne was unimpressed with the effort.
“The way we’ve been playing this season, the way we played this past weekend, I expected us to come out a lot more focused,” Thorne said. “We came out very flat. A win is a win, but I’m disappointed in our effort.”
Denham Springs (17-3-1, 4-0) took care of all its scoring in the first half. Joao Borsato, Camden Hilliard and Kyle Alain each found the back of the net giving the Jackets a comfortable halftime lead.
It was all the scoring there would be as Live Oak (5-4-2, 2-1) held Denham Springs scoreless in the second half.
“Our effort was great. Our system worked for us,” Live Oak coach Brady Cloud said. “We have four freshmen starting, and they’ll learn from their mistakes.
“We fought hard, and didn’t give up any more goals in the second half. We’re proud of that.”
Asked to identify the top effort he noticed during the game, Thorne admitted it was Live Oak’s Braden Betz that impressed him.
“I thought (Betz) did a heck of a job in the middle of the field,” Thorne said. “I liked his effort. He was all over the field. He was winning balls.”
In the opening half, both teams were scoreless until the 12th minute. The Yellow Jackets’ Zachary Kimball took a shot from 25 yards out that got past diving goalie Noah cloud, and caromed off the left goal post. Borsato was there to put the ball into an open net.
In the 25th minute, Crag Hodges centered to Hilliard, whose kick from 20 yards found the right side of the net.
“I got the ball at the top of the 18,” Hilliard said. “I just picked up my head, saw I had space for a shot, and it went in.”
Hilliard helped push the lead to 3-0 in the 37th minute when he centered the ball from the end line left of the goal. The ball made its way through traffic to Alain, who scored at close range.
The shutout was the 13th of the season for Jackets goalkeeper Tyler Medina.
The effort comes on the heels of Denham Springs’ 3-2 showing last weekend at the Carencro High tournament. The three wins were all shutouts. The two losses were by a 2-1 margin at the hands of Lafayette power Acadiana High.
Acadiana is currently the top-rated team in the LHSAA’s unofficial Division I power ratings. Denham Springs, which is 10th, has defeated already defeated No.15 West Monroe and no.16 Dutchtown this season.
The Jackets also own wins over Leesville and St. Michael, two of the top five teams in Division II, and Parkview Baptist, seventh in Division III.
“Last year we were asked all the time, ‘Who is Denham?’, ‘Who have they played?’,” Thorne said. “This year we made it a point to schedule tougher tournaments and tougher teams.
“We left it in the boys’ hands to make sure people know who we are.”