Tailback Hakeem Deggs dashed for two touchdowns as Plaquemine High School used a solid ground-and-pound attack Friday night en route to a 22-6 victory over Tara at Olympia Stadium.
The Green Devils (2-3, 1-0 in District 6-4A) opened league play with a win as the Trojans (1-4, 0-2) failed to get past an impressive Plaquemine defense.
"I thought our defense played lights out," Plaquemine coach Bob Howell said. "They were really tuned in."
The Trojans managed just 64 rushing yards on 21 carries, thanks in large part to a swarming Green Devils defense.
"Our guys did a great job getting to the ball," Howell said. "We were ripping and clawing and fighting the whole way."
Combined with the defensive effort came the overwhelming rushing attack by Plaquemine, led by Deggs, who finished with 93 yards on 16 carries with the two scores.
Junior fullback Julius Maracalin complemented Deggs with another 78 yards and one score on the ground.
After a 32-yard punt by Joseph Jordan ricocheted off a Trojan, freshman Malik Collins jumped on the ball, setting up Plaquemine's best field position at the Tara 40-yard line.
Quarterback Ricky Aro scampered 28 yards two plays later, setting up first-and-goal at the 6.
Two plays later, Deggs notched the game's first points on a 1-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was successful when Deggs ran it up the gut, giving Plaquemine an 8-0 lead as the first quarter winded down.
The Green Devils got the second half off to a quick start after a 25-yard return, setting up at their own 48-yard line.
Four plays later, Maracalin notched the Green Devils' second score after bursting through the line for a 1-yard touchdown. Deggs then provided the two-point conversion on a toss sweep for a 16-0 lead with 8:09 left in the third quarter.
The Trojans answered with a long drive, punctuated by a big play, but ultimately doomed by a turnover.
Facing a third-and-long, Aaron Wright - who led the Trojans with 86 yards on six catches - pulled in an impressive 42-yard reception, sliding across the ground as he pulled the ball in.
"He made some real outstanding catches," Howell said. "We knew we wouldn't be able to shut him down. We made it a point to just try to contain him."
Plaquemine's defense responded with a big play of its own. Following a 6-yard reception, Wright fumbled and Devonte Jenkins jumped on the ball, shutting down the drive and giving the Green Devils the ball in their own territory.
Two series later, Deggs powered in for a 17-yard touchdown run at the nine-minute mark, giving the Green Devils a 22-0 lead after a failed two point conversion.
The Trojans finally scored on their ensuing drive, capping a 62-yard drive with Wright's 2-yard quarterback sneak with 6:33 remaining in the game. Following a failed two-point conversion, Tara trailed 22-6.