All-state running back Tyre Bracken gave state champion White Castle High School two touchdowns and 161 rushing yards in the first half, then watched the second half from the sideline as his team shut out Glen Oaks 25-0 on Friday night.
The game at Doug Williams Field at the Louisiana Leadership Academy was the first for White Castle (1-0) since it won the 1A championship in the Superdome in December.
“He (Bracken) was cramping up a little bit, and he had a little injury to his leg and we just didn’t want to risk it (in the second half),” White Castle coach Ferrante Dominique said. “He’s healthy, but up 16-0 in the rain, you just don’t want to take any chances.”
Bracken found the end zone on the Bulldogs’ first play from scrimmage on a spread option handoff from quarterback Isaac O’Bear, which he broke down the left sideline for a 56-yard run. His second TD five minutes later covered 25 yards, and White Castle led 13-0 with 5:05 left in the first quarter.
Glen Oaks coach Landry Williams said he wasn’t surprised at Brackens’ performance.
“He’s the all-state back that he is,” Williams said. “He’s what he’s supposed to be. We didn’t have an answer for him tonight.”
After Brackens’ dazzling start, a combination of White Castle mistakes and a stingier defense by Glen Oaks (0-1) slowed down the Bulldogs offense for the rest of the half.
O’Bear tacked on three more points with a 23-yard field goal with 1:07 left in the half.
That score came after O’Bear intercepted a Zachary Gistarb pass and returned it to the Glen Oaks 3. The teams traded penalties and the Panthers turned away three rushing plays before O’Bear kicked the field goal.
White Castle was flagged eight times for 45 yards in penalties in the first half, most of them for false starts. The Bulldogs went on to collect 80 yards in penalties for the game.
The 16-point halftime lead was more than sufficient for the visitors as the Bulldogs defense continued to dominate through the second half.
Their big and experienced defense line kept pressure on quarterbacks Christian Walker and Gistarb all night. In its 10 possessions, including one that started on the White Castle 38, Glen Oaks never penetrated inside the 25-yard line.
“Oh, man, our defense,” Dominique said. “Right now our defense is way ahead of our offense which is just keeping it basic and executing plays. Our d-line has (Gerald) Carlin (301 pounds) and Xavier (Coleman) back from last year, and we got Gregory Jordan (286) back after he missed last year and he’s dominating. They’re just doing a great job.”
White Castle threw only six passes in the game, but senior Terrance Taylor caught three of them, including one for the Bulldogs’ final touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Glen Oaks passing game suffered under the pressure of the Bulldogs’ defensive line with Gistarb and Christian Smith combining for five completions in 16 attempts.
Apart from Corey Washington’s 34-yard reception in the third quarter, the other four passes gained a total of 6 yards.
Running back Johnta Herbert gained 72 tough yards on 15 carries for the Panthers before leaving the game after a big hit by linebacker Marcellis Coleman. Herbert also had two long runs called back by holding penalties.
“With our inexperience, we can’t afford to lose anybody and we had guys falling out there at the end, but they fought hard right up to the end and that’s something we can build on,” Williams said.
“We just lost to a great football team tonight.”
The Panthers mustered one last drive in the closing minutes behind the running of Stephen Smith, who picked up 68 yards in the last quarter. Two bad snaps cost them crucial yardage, though, and the Bulldogs hung on for the shutout.
Jerial Williams had the play of the night for the Glen Oaks defense when he knifed through to knock the ball from O’Bear, then recovered the fumble on the Panthers’ 10-yard line.