It wasn’t the usual suspects doing the damage for the Cavaliers on Friday night.
Senior running back Kendall Collins Jr. and sophomore back Montrell Johnson were both sidelined with injuries, but it didn’t matter as junior receiver Richon Porter and freshman running back De’Ante Lebranch picked up the slack in the Cavs’ 42-7 win over Lusher at Pan American Stadium.
Lebranch filled in as the lead back for De La Salle and ended with 133 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
“It felt awesome. It was a great honor to lead my team in the win,” Lebranch said.
Although De La Salle's running back group is banged up, they challenged and motivated Lebranch as he assumed the starting role.
“They told me I have to step up and get the job done, get the win for the team and that’s what I did,” Lebranch said.
The Cavs didn’t just have success running the ball, but got their passing game going as junior quarterback Fisher Rojas completed 16 of 19 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns.
“Completing passes definitely helps you, and knowing receivers are going to catch it, it’s a big adrenaline rush," Lebranch said. "It’s just great having receivers that are dedicated to the team and want to catch touchdowns and want to make plays."
His biggest target on the night was junior Richon Porter who scored twice and had 93 yards on three catches.
“I got my first two touchdowns today. I thank Coach Manale for the opportunity to put me on the field. Fisher’s got an arm and we finally could use it. We’ve been running the ball a lot lately and we used his arm for some damage,” Porter said.
Rojas said having a good rapport with Porter in practice and in the locker room helps translate the chemistry onto the field and in games.
“He’s fast. He can catch and he can run,” said Rojas, who connected with Porter on 41- and 42-yard touchdowns.
The Cavs didn’t waste any time in getting the scoring started as they got out to a 35-0 lead by halftime.
Lusher had trouble getting their offense going as De La Salle smothered the Lions, forcing four turnovers, including a pick-6 early in the third quarter.
“We’re getting a little bit better on defense. Each week we’re improving. Coaches and then players are working their butts off. We’ve suffered some key injuries on that side of the ball, so it’s a week to week thing improving,” De La Salle coach Ryan Manale said.
The Cavs, who are ranked No. 2 in the New Orleans Advocate Small School Super 10 rankings move to (4-2, 2-0) on the season and travel to No. 4 St. James (5-2, 2-0) next week in tough District 10-3A match up.
“I got a chance to see St. James in person, they’re a very good football team. We’re going to go on the road and play definitely one of the top 3A teams in the state and I can’t wait for the challenge, but I know we have to get a lot better in all three phases to go up there and win that game,” Manale said.
Despite the loss, Lusher coach J.J. Smith said he was pleased with his team’s ability to battle through injuries and fight back toward the end of the game against the Cavs.
“We had a couple guys injured tonight. That’s heavy on my mind. I don’t like seeing guys walk out and not finish games. We don’t ever quit, we fight to the end. These guys have big hearts and Lion pride,” said Smith of his team who scored in the final minutes of the game.