BY CHARLES SALZER
Special to The Advocate
October 13, 2012
DENHAM SPRINGS — While its defense was dominant, it took the Denham Springs High School offense a quarter to get itself in gear Thursday night against District 4-5A rival Live Oak.
The Yellow Jackets’ defense controlled the line of scrimmage, allowing the offense all the time it needed in posting a 30-7 win over Live Oak.
Denham Springs finished with 12 tackles for losses, and limited Live Oak (4-3, 1-1) to 80 yards.
“Our defense played lights out,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said. “It was a dominating defensive effort. We had field position, and we just had to clean up a few things. I think our physicality wore them down.”
Denham Springs (4-3, 1-1) was led by its 1-2 rushing duo of Justin Martin and Kaleb Blanchard. Martin ran 14 times for 81 yards and two TDs, while Blanchard had 11 carries for 80 yards and two more scores.
Martin gained 77 yards and both of his touchdowns came on his last four carries, an indicator that the Live Oak defense wore down in the second half.
Live Oak quarterback Michael Claverie completed 6-of-10 passes for 41 yards, and was sacked four times.
“(Denham Springs) just dominated the line of scrimmage,” said Live Oak coach Barry “Tut” Musemeche. “It wasn’t on both sides in the first half, but their defense came to play. We just couldn’t keep up.”
Live Oak trailed 7-0 early in the third quarter when it faced a fourth-and-2 from the LOHS 48. The Eagles lined up ready to run a play, but pitched back to Wesley Howard, whose punt never cleared the line.
Denham Springs took over at the LOHS 44, and all it took was carries of 20 and 24 yards from Martin for a 14-0 lead.
Live Oak fumbled the ball back to Denham Springs
on its next play from scrimmage, and the Yellow Jackets were in business at the Live 0ak 30. This time, Blanchard carried twice, the second a 29-yard burst up the middle for the touchdown.
Live Oak was forced to punt from its 13 on its next series, but the snap was high and rolled out the back of the end zone for a safety.
Following the ensuing free kick, Denham Springs drove 35 yards in four plays to take a 30-0 lead. Blanchard capped the drive with a 14-yard run.
Both teams struggled to move the ball early. Both teams managed just a pair of first-quarter first downs, although Denham Springs won the field-position battle.
In the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets ate up more than eight minutes with a 19-play, 64-yard drive as they took a 7-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by three fourth-down conversions.
The first conversion came at the DSHS 45 where Martin picked up 4 yards on fourth-and-1. The Jackets then converted a third-and-11 when Zach Borne found Bailey Holstein on the right sideline.
On fourth-and-4 at the LOHS 35, Borne connected with Kyandre Brooks for 5 yards to keep the drive going.
Borne wasn’t done, as he used his legs three plays later running for 9 yards on fourth-and-8.
After an incompletion, Borne kept for 10 yards to the LOHS 4. From there, Martin carried over left tackle and scored standing.
“We made some key plays right before the half,” Nettles said. “That was a big score.”
For the half, Live Oak had eight plays result in negative yardage.
Eagles quarterback Michael Claverie was sacked three times, and Live Oak finished the half with just 8 yards.