DENHAM SPRINGS - Denham Springs High offensive lineman Tevin Lawson is used to doing double duty as a defensive tackle when an opponent ventures into the red zone.
Lawson carried out his role to by crashing through Catholic High’s offensive front on third down to throw the Bears’ Khalil Thomas for a 4-yard loss with three minutes to play.
That tackle provided the spark DSHS needed to hang on for a 21-14 nondistrict win Friday night.
“I just do whatever I can to help the team,” Lawson said. “We called the right play because we knew they were going to run up the middle. I used the swim move on my man and just got to the running back.”
Denham Springs Coach Dru Nettles said he had confidence Lawson would come through.
“I thought their offensive line controlled us up front most of the night,” Nettles said. “But it’s tough to play against Tevin when he’s on defense. He’s a force out there and we needed him.”
After Lawson’s tackle-for-loss, the Yellow Jackets secondary broke up a pass on fourth-and-7 to turn back the Bears.
But the visitors weren’t done. Needing just one first down to run out the clock, Denham fumbled a handoff and Catholic’s Myles Nash recovered at Denham’s 28-yard line with 48 seconds to play.
On the next play, the Bears launched a pass to Thomas near the goal line, but DSHS defensive back Cole Spear intercepted to seal the win.
Though Thomas was denied that final pass, he had a big night. He led all rushers with 240 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
“He pulls quite a load for us,” Catholic coach Dale Weiner said. “We depend on him a lot to give us some offensive production and he had a great game tonight.”
Catholic fell to 0-3 with the loss while Denham Springs advanced to 3-0 on the season. The Jackets defeated the Bears for the first time since 2008.
Denham Springs quarterback Kyle Cedotal was 5-for-15 passing with 103 yards and no interceptions. Cedotal hit Sterling Suggs and Dron Singleton for touchdowns.
“I thought we had a pretty good night,” Cedotal said. “We found a rhythm on offense and we were able to move the ball on them in the second half. Catholic High has a great team and they always play hard.”
Catholic made a strong statement early by opening the contest with a 77-yard scoring drive. The Bears placed Thomas in the Wildcat position in place of their usual starting quarterback Ben Braymer. Thomas took the shotgun snap on 10 plays in the 11-play drive, while Braymer entered the game briefly to convert a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1.
Thomas immediately stepped back into the Wildcat formation again and five plays later attacked the heart of the Yellow Jacket defense for a hard-charging touchdown run. Thomas appeared to be stopped for a short gain but worked his way out of the scrum and broke loose for a 25-yard score.
The Yellow Jackets used a fumble recovery by defensive back Hunter Porter to set up their first score. Porter gave DSHS possession at Catholic’s 41-yard-line when he jumped on a fumble. Denham went the distance in three plays.
Tailback Kaleb Blanchard wrangled his way through the middle of Catholic’s defense for a 14-yard touchdown and David McKey’s conversion knotted the score at 7-7.
Catholic responded with an 80-yard touchdown drive capped by a Thomas 54-yard run. Similar to his previous scoring run, Thomas appeared to be stopped by Denhambefore wiggling free and scoring.
Denham Springs tied the score on its first drive of the second half.
The Bears stopped the hosts on the first three plays, but were flagged for roughing the punter, keeping the drive alive.
Cedotal found Singleton for a 32-yard touchdown pass. Denham took its first lead with a touchdown at the 2:15 mark of the third period.
This time, Cedotal threw a perfect strike to Suggs for a 23-yard score.