De La Salle’s shutout streak came to an end Thursday night.
But the winning streak continued.
De La Salle, led once again by its stellar defense, remained perfect with a 41-16 victory over St. James at Tad Gormley Stadium.
“We just work so hard every week and try to get better and better every week,” said defensive lineman Danquan Edwards, who was disruptive all game.
De La Salle ranked No. 2 in the LSWA Class 2A poll and No. 3 in The New Orleans Advocate Small School Super 10, improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in District 9-3A.
The 8-0 start is the best start in school history, surpassing the 7-0 start in 1969.
It was the first time they gave up a point since Oct. 2 against Lusher. They had shut out their previous three opponents and had four shutouts on the season.
The Wildcats (5-3, 3-2), ranked No. 7, ended De La Salle’s shutout streak in the third quarter on an 11-yard pass from Demarcus Williams to Arron McKenney.
“We wanted that shutout really bad,” said Edwards. “When they scored, we knew we had to just get back up and ready again.”
The Cavaliers defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the second half.
The first was a 55-yard return by sophomore Noble Scott, and the second was a 35-yarder by junior Josh Paul.
“I made a good read on the play,” Paul said. “The defense had a great pass rush all night, and that’s where we get our spark from. We just came out and played hard.”
The defense held St. James to just 24 yards in the first half.
De La Salle built a 13-0 halftime lead, scoring on a 1-yard run by Ricco Wheat that capped off a 13-play, 6-minute drive.
Kicker Fynn La Breche added a pair of field goals of 21 and 28-yards, the latter coming on the final play of the first half.
It was set up by a forced fumble by Edwards.
“Our coaches do a great of preparing our players, and our players do a great job of studying the opponent,” De La Salle coach Ryan Manale said.
The Cavaliers padded their lead on the first possession of the second half, marching 83 yards on a drive that ended with a 7-yard run by Julien Gums, a sophomore quarterback. Gums set up the touchdown with a 68-yard run on the drive.
Myles Ward also scored a touchdown for the Cavaliers.
Tyren Jasmin led the Wildcats with 74 yards of offense.
“I kind of knew what we were up against,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said. “They are a good football team, and they can physically dominate you at times. The first half we kept it close.”
De La Salle plays Sci Academy next week, a game in which they will be favored, and then finish against Lutcher in a game that will likely decide the district title as it tries to extend the best start in school history.
“We’ve got great players,” Paul said. “But it’s about our character. “It’s not just what we do on the field, but also do the right things off the field, and that carries on to the field.”