DUTCHTOWN — Neither coach knew exactly what to expect.
Dutchtown got just enough — including a 40-yard touchdown pass from Jared Sparks to Brandon Ricca with a 3:28 remaining — to notch a 21-14 victory over Denham Springs in the LeBlanc Food Stores Jamboree on Thursday night at Dutchtown.
“Certainly there’s a lot of things to get better on,” Dutchtown coach Benny Saia said. “That running back (Denham Springs’ Tyre Golmond) is explosive, and that quarterback (DSHS Torez Kinchen) is explosive.
“We have three starters back on offense and three back on defense. We didn’t know how and really still don’t know how they’ll react when the lights come on, and there’s no coach in the huddle to fix things. But I am pleased with the way they handled the management of the game.”
Sparks completed 8 of 10 passes for 129 yards and also ran for 40 yards for District 5-5A Dutchtown. Fitell Bolding scored the other two TDs for the winners. Golmond ran for 106 yards on six carries, including runs of 35 and 58 yards.
“We’re coming back in the second half … next week,” a smiling DSHS coach Dru Nettles quipped. “We did some good things. The big thing is we got out healthy, and I hope Dutchtown did too. We made some plays in the last few minutes. We responded, and we grew from it.”
The Griffins established themselves early with Sparks, a Southern Mississippi commitment, at the helm. Dutchtown took the opening kickoff and drove 70 yards for a TD and led 14-0 at halftime.
Sparks’ 27-yard scamper was the biggest play. A 14-yard Sparks-to-Ricca pass helped set up a 1-yard TD run by Bolding with 9:23 left. Ricca caught three passes for 74 yards.
“It was a good team win,” Sparks said. “I was a little nervous at first, but I was determined not to show it.”
Denham Springs was set to answer. Golmond broke loose for a 35-yard run in front of the Dutchtown bench.
The Yellow Jackets had a first down at the Griffin 25. Dutchtown defensive back Diondre Brock sacked Kinchen for a 10-yard loss that forced a punt. Brock also had a key pass breakup.
“The coaches prepared us,” Brock said. “I knew exactly what to expect and what to do.”
Dutchtown got its other TD with 1:07 left in the first 12-minute half.
Sparks completed a 21-yard pass to Ricca, and Bolding scored on a 5-yard run.
Golmond’s longest run set up a 1-yard TD run with 5:51 to go. Dutchtown scored the game-winner in an unusual way. An 8-yard TD run by Sparks was nullified by unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Griffins faced a third-and-goal from the DSHS 40. Sparks hit Ricca in stride with a slant pass that made it 21-7 with 3:28 remaining.
Kinchen closed the gap with a 34-yard touchdown pass to De’Juante Edwards with 1:39 left. Dutchtown ran out of the clock.