DENHAM SPRINGS - Denham Springs High School broke in the new artificial turf at Yellow Jacket Stadium in fine fashion Friday night with a 20-6 win over Broadmoor.
Though the newly installed turf provided better footing in the steady drizzle that fell throughout the contest, gripping the ball presented another challenge.
But the Yellow Jackets were able to control the ball and committed no turnovers as senior quarterback Kyle Cedotal led the squad to a season-opening nondistrict win.
“The rain made the ball slippery and a little hard to handle, but we managed it,” Cedotal said.
The senior southpaw was 5-of-10 passing for 67 yards and no interceptions, including a key 35-yard completion and an 18-yard touchdown pass to Dron Singleton.
Singleton’s 35-yard reception on third-and-7 highlighted the Yellow Jackets’ seven-play scoring drive to open the game. The reception set up junior Justin Martin’s 5-yard touchdown to give Denham the early advantage.
Martin had 20 yards on seven carries in the first half but was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury. Sophomore Anthony Bracy stepped up and led all rushers with 76 yards and one touchdown on 14 attempts.
The Yellow Jackets got their season under way without the services of junior running back Kaleb Blanchard.
DSHS coach Dru Nettles said Martin should be able to return next week while Blanchard’s condition will be reassessed during practice this week.
“Kaleb is coming along well. He’s itching to get out there, and we’re ready to have him back,” Nettles said.
DSHS took command with Martin’s touchdown and the offensive unit kept applying the pressure by taking its last possession of the second period 64 yards for a score. The drive featured a 12-yard run by Bracy to convert on a fourth-and-3 situation to keep the drive alive.
Bracy later reeled off a 20-yard run to set up his own 5-yard touchdown run that gave the hosts a 14-0 lead with one minute to play in the first half.
Broadmoor, which failed to score in a 14-0 loss to Woodlawn in jamboree action last week, had no intentions of just going away quietly.
The Bucs pulled to within a touchdown and gained some momentum on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Facing a fourth-and-11 situation near midfield, junior quarterback Joshua Rogers found receiver Devontae Thomas open on a flag pattern for a 52-yard touchdown. Rogers’ run for the two-point conversion failed, but the big play put Broadmoor back in the game.
That’s when Cedotal and the Yellow Jackets offense clamped down and went on an 11-play, clock-chewing scoring drive to preserve the win.
Cedotal found Singleton on a slant pattern on the right side and hit the big receiver in stride for the 18-yard score.
Broadmoor coach Rusty Price said his squad showed heart but just fell short.
“We have a lot of inexperience and we were just outmanned. We’ve got a lot of guys playing both ways and for a lot of them this was the first game they ever played,” Price said. “I can’t see anything but good things to come, not necessarily because of our execution or technique but because of the effort our kids put out. They still believe in themselves and we believe in them.”
DSHS will travel to Woodlawn next week while Broadmoor hosts Walker.