Coming off the program’s first playoff victory in 25 years and with several key starters returning, the Denham Springs football team kicked off the season Friday with expectations sky high.
Their opening act showed the Yellow Jackets may have the goods to meet them.
Sophomore running back Tyre Golmond picked up where he left off during a breakout freshman campaign, and senior defensive end Caleb Roddy showed why he is one of the state’s top college prospects, as Denham rolled to a 23-0 win over East Ascension before a big home crowd at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
“Our guys came out with a lot of energy tonight,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said. “I think we cruised through the month of August at times, but these guys have a lot of experience and were ready to play.”
Golmond rushed for 188 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, bursting out of the gate with a 66-yard scamper on the game’s second play from scrimmage.
Meanwhile, Roddy wreaked havoc on the defensive side.
The LSU commitment’s stat line included three sacks, five tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup.
He even threw the key block on sophomore Hunter Scott’s 56-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
“There are definitely some things we need to work on, but we did a great job of playing up to the expectations,” Roddy said. “Everybody wants us to win every game. There’s one of them.”
In a matchup of two teams that reached the second round of the Class 5A playoffs last year, the Yellow Jackets struck an early blow when
Golmond’s run — combined with a facemask penalty — set Denham Springs up inside the EA 15 with less than two minutes gone.
But the momentum swung again when Golmond was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the 4.
Not to worry. After the Denham defense did its job by forcing a punt, Scott fielded the ball at his own 44 and jetted down the left sideline for a 7-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets were in control the rest of the way, building the lead to 17-0 just before halftime.
EA coach Paul Bourgeois called Denham Springs “a very good football team” and credited the Yellow Jackets for being well prepared. But he said the Spartans suffered from an emotional hangover following their 21-14 victory over rival St. Amant in the jamboree.
“We don’t do a good job with the win over our rivalry team,” Bourgeois said, “and we were struggling all week. We tried to tell them how good Denham was, but it just didn’t mean that much.”
The one-two punch in the EA backfield of quarterback Kyran Irvan and running back Joshua Bates never got going as the Spartans were forced to punt seven times.
A tackle-breaking 74-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Raekwon Mackyeon in the second quarter was nullified by an illegal blocking penalty.