GEISMAR — After giving up 22 first-half points, Dutchtown coach Benny Saia knew something had to give. Saia just hoped it wasn’t his team’s defense.
The second-ranked Griffins didn’t let their coach down. Dutchtown shut out Zachary in the second half and rode the running of Landon Collins, Austen Brown and Mason Nickens to a 43-22 nondistrict victory on Friday night at DHS.
“Their screen passes are what hurt us,” Saia said. “We knew they’d do that coming in, it’s just hard as heck to defense sometimes.
“I thought our coaches did a great job making adjustments. We just sat on some screens and tried to tighten up our coverage. What we did wasn’t technical. We just had to execute.”
With the victory, Dutchtown (4-0) remains unbeaten. Defense proved to be just as challenging for Zachary (3-1). While Zachary had 250 passing yards, Dutchtown rolled up 485 rushing yards.
Collins led the with 179 yards on seven carries with four touchdowns, including a 76-yard score in the third quarter that gave the Griffins breathing room.
Austen Brown added 157 yards on 18 carries, while Nickens, the DHS quarterback, added 139 yards on 16 carries.
“We showed in the first half we’ve got a pretty good offense,” Zachary coach Neil Weiner said. “Obviously, they showed theirs is a little better. Hats off to them.
“We didn’t notice them doing a lot of different stuff on defense. But you have to give them credit they shut us out. When they made a stop on that series it gave them some confidence.”
Mason Pace completed 24 of 41 passes for 250 yards and two TDs to pace the Broncos, completing passes to nine receivers. Ron Pennington ran for a team-high 41 yards and also had seven catches for 61 yards.
The teams traded touchdowns at a furious pace, scoring 51 points and piling up over 450 yards in the first half. Those totals didn’t include TD runs by Collins that were called back because of penalties.
Zachary got the first turnover, a fumble recovery by Darryl Garner. Brandon Delhom booted a 26-yard field goal after the miscue to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
Dutchtown countered quickly. Collins scored on a 24-yard run to end a rapid-fire 69-yard drive that included a 39-yard run by Nickens.
Tyler Sarrazin’s PAT kick made it 7-3 with 5:04 left in the first period.
After a punt, Brown’s 27-yard run set up a 12-yard touchdown run for Collins that made it 14-7 with 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
The tempo got faster in the second quarter. First, Zachary drove 80 yards in just more than two minutes.
Pace completed a 19-yard TD pass to Ladarrius Vessell that made it a 14-9 game with 10:06 left.
Next came a 72-yard Griffins drive. Brown’s 37-yard run set up a 6-yard TD run by Collins. It was 21-9 with 6:30 left and the teams were not done.
The Broncos scored twice more. Dutchtown added another TD. First, there was an 81-yard drive that ended with Pace’s 25-yard TD pass to Connor Haynes.
An 81-yard kickoff return by Corey McBride set up a 16-yard TD run by Nickens. A two-point PAT run by Nickens made it 29-16 at the 3:11 mark. Next came another 80-yard Zachary drive that ended with Pace scoring on a 3-yard run with 1:12 remaining.
Zachary got the ball first in the second half and got two first downs, before punting. This time, the Griffins turned the tables on ZHS with Nickens throwing the ball.
A 27-yard Nickens-to-Corey McBride pass set up the next TD — a 36-yard pass from Nickens to McBride. The Griffins led 36-22 with 6:40 to go in the third quarter.
Then, the Griffins defense got another stop. Four plays later, Zachary got the ball back when Kevin Williams recovered a DHS fumble.
Dutchtown’s third stop of the Zachary offense in the third quarter set the stage for Collins’ 76-yard TD run. That play with 32 seconds left in the period made it 43-22.
The Griffins got three more stops defensively. Victor Mattaur recovered one of two fumbles for the Griffins.
Afterwards, Saia complimented his offensive linemen Zannie Black, John Saxon, Brian Hernandez, Zac Hill
and Jared Spriggs for their effort.