Junior quarterback Matt Erwin threw a pair of touchdown passes for Denham Springs as the Yellow Jackets came from behind to slip past Salmen 21-12 in a nondistrict contest at Denham Springs on Friday night.
Though the game was delayed for more than an hour and a heavy downpour made it a night for keeping the ball on the ground, Erwin made the difference with his arm.
Erwin completed 6 of his 10 attempts with no interceptions as the Jackets erased a 6-0 first-half deficit to claim their first win. His two TDs went to Nolan Satcher and Bailey Holstein.
Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said his quarterback showed considerable improvement between the first and second games.
“Matt came out and played a very steady game for us tonight,” Nettles said. “I thought it was a was a better effort than a week ago, and we’ve seen some improvement. I was happy for him that he could come out here and have a great game.”
Senior running back Anthony Bracy collected 102 rushing yards on 17 attempts for Denham Springs (1-1), while Chris Thomas gained 102 yards on 26 carries for the Spartans (0-2)
Though Denham’s offense was able to control the ball and produce enough points for the win, it was the defense that came up with a huge play late in the third quarter.
Needing a score to tie the game, Salmen’s Ashon Cook weaved his way 28 yards through the defense and was just 2 yards away from paydirt when Denham senior defender Cole Spear punched the ball out of Cook’s hand and the ball rolled through the back of the end zone as Denham took over at the 20.
Both teams responded to the wet conditions by keeping the ball on the artificial turf with straight-ahead ground attacks.
For Salmen, that meant sending Thomas repeatedly into the teeth of Denham Springs’ defensive line.
The hard-charging workhorse pounded out 74 yards in the first half on 15 carries, but it was a big gain by Cook that helped the Spartans to a first-half lead.
After giving Thomas most of the ball-carrying duties, the Salmen coaching staff caught Denham Springs’ defense off guard by calling Cook’s number. Cook turned his first carry of the game into a twisting, winding 27-yard gain that set up the Spartans at the Denham Springs 2-yard line.
Assisting on the big play was Ivan Price, who handed off to Cook from his quarterback position and then executed a key block when Cook reversed field. Joey McLeod scored on the next play, but the point-after failed and the Spartans took a 6-0 lead.
Denham Springs answered Salmen’s score with a short touchdown drive aided by senior Wes Brown’s 30-yard punt return. Brown’s return placed the Yellow Jackets at Salmen’s 11-yard line. The visitors held and forced a fourth-and-4 with 14 seconds to play in the first half.
Erwin took three steps back, looked to his left, and found Satcher behind the defensive secondary in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Zac Boothe’s point-after put the Yellow Jackets ahead 7-6 going into halftime.