Sports Round Up: Yellow Jackets aim for playoffs again; Walker, Live Oak rebuild with young coaches _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Denham Springs running back Tyre Golmond breaks free for a touchdown against Zachary last season. He is flanked by offensive lineman Kyle Dear.

There’s no question about who the big men are the Denham Springs football team.

The Yellow Jackets have 6-foot-5 defensive end Caleb Roddy, an LSU commitment. DSHS also has 6-6½, 320-pound Justin Henderson, an offensive lineman.

A lot can be said about the little “big” guy … running back Tyre Golmond.

At 5-6, 165 pounds, the sophomore doesn’t cast a physically imposing shadow. Yet he has already established himself as one of the Baton Rouge area’s top runners.

Golmond was the first freshman running back to earn a spot on The Advocate’s All-Metro football team for Class 5A-4A when he rushed for 1,332 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

One of the biggest stories in Week 1 was DSHS’ 23-0 shutout of East Ascension. Roddy and the defense played an obvious lead role. Golmond made his presence felt with 188 yards on 18 carries. The Yellow Jackets (1-0) host Tara (0-1) for a nondistrict game at 7 p.m. Friday.

“I was trying to follow my blocks because I know every play we run is going to work,” Golmond said, describing the EAHS game. “We have to execute. There are plays when the linemen take off just a little bit and I’ll tell them ‘let’s go.’ They really do a great job.”

Because of his size, there were questions about how well Golmond would adapt to high school football. The Yellow Jackets and offensive coordinator Aaron Vice got their answer quickly.

“We watched his highlight film from junior high, and he never got touched on a lot of plays,” Vice said. “It reminded me of Derrius Guice (former Catholic High star now at LSU) and other guys I’d seen play in middle school. We knew he had a chance to be good. Because he was a little guy, we weren’t sure how many carries he could have.

“One thing he does well is he’s a great inside runner. He’s got great vision and he’s not afraid to get in there and cut it back. He’s versatile. He’s not just a guy you have to play in the slot and runs sweeps with. He can run every play in our playbook.”

The other thing Golmond has going for him is genetics. His father, U’Drego, was a standout for Livingston Parish rival Walker, earning All-Metro and all-state honors in Class 4A in the mid-1990s. As a senior, U’Drego Golmond ran for 1,775 yards and 19 TDs.

“I figured I would have to wait my turn (to play in high school),” Golmond said. “My dad always told me you get there (to high school) and see where you fit. He said he sees some of himself in me, but he also more than that.”

Golmond has only seen a few highlights from his father’s career and hopes to see more. Current LSU star Leonard Fournette, former LSU star Jeremy Hill of the Cincinnati Bengals and Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings are other running backs he admires.

He seems destined to carve out his own path. Golmond had a 66-yard run on the Yellow Jackets’ second scrimmage play, making a key statement.

“It’s pretty nice to call a play where you think you’re going to get 3 or 4 yards and you get 50 or 60,” Vice said. “He’s got that kind of ability. You can tell when he hits the second level … he’s gone. Not many are going to catch him.

“The guy who caught him on the 66-yard run had the right angle and speed. Tyre is going to get faster.”

Golmond’s fastest 40-yard dash time was 4.51 seconds run at an LSU camp this summer. As he works toward getting better on the field, Golmond ponders an engineering major in college.

“His demeanor is beyond his years,” DSHS head coach Dru Nettles said. “He’s gotten great guidance at home from his Mom and Dad. He’s been very humble and takes what comes to him.”

There are other goals. Denham Springs notched its first playoff win in 25 years last fall and the Yellow Jackets of District 4-5A have designs on a deep playoff run.

Golmond’s response to a question about whether last week’s win over EAHS was a surprise says it all.

“I knew our team was working hard, and I knew we put in the work over the summer.” Golmond said. “It had to pay off.”