Black Knights capitalize  on Rough Riders turnovers

DENHAM SPRINGS — The Black Knights forced five turnovers and turned four of those into touchdowns on the way to a 41-0 victory over the Rough Riders in the 11th annual U.S. Army Red Stick Bowl on Saturday at Denham Springs High School.

The Black Knights, who scored 14 points in the second quarter and 20 in the third quarter, were plus three in turnover margin. The Black Knights got three rushing touchdowns from three and two quarterbacks passed for the other three scores.

“It was a total team effort,” said Black Knights coach David Oliver of St. Amant.

“We had a very talented team that picked things up quickly. Our coaches did a great job of focusing on little things all week.”

Catholic High’s Khalil Thomas scored two touchdowns, Brusly quarterback Jay Christophe passed for two touchdowns and Lutcher quarterback Ruston Matherne passed for a score and rushed for another to pace the Black Knights.

Thomas, awarded the outstanding skill player for the Black Knights, rushed six times for 45 yards and caught three passes for 45 yards. He opened the scoring with a 1-yard TD run and caught a 16-yard pass from Christophe in the third quarter. Thomas also had a 67-yard punt return in the first quarter that was nullified by an illegal block.

“I’m really excited about how our team played,” Thomas said. “We just all bonded together as a team really quickly. I was able to trust in everybody for their blocking. I ran through some big holes. Our offensive coordinator (Dwain Jenkins) from Lutcher put in a system that was easy to learn.”

“We had a good drive going in the first quarter and got inside their 10-yard line but couldn’t convert,” Rough Riders coach Guy Blanchard of Port Allen said. “The Black Knights have some great players and their players started making plays and our players didn’t make as many plays. My hat goes off to them.”

The Black Knights were held without a first down in the first quarter. The Rough Riders had two good drives in their first four possessions. The first ended in an interception by Central’s Brett Courville, who had three interceptions in the game. The second drive ended when Port Allen’s Darian Claiborne was stopped short on a fourth-down run from the 9-yard line.

The Black Knights then drove 92 yards in 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Thomas with 5:33 remaining in the second quarter. The Black Knights had just one third down in the series and Matherne gained 3 yards for a first down on that play.

“Stopping them on fourth down and changing field position was critical,” Oliver said.

St. Amant’s Jacob Morales intercepted Courville to set up a four-play, 44-yard drive. Matherne passed 30 yards to East Ascension’s Devin Speligene
as the Black Knights led 14-0 with 1:24 remaining until halftime.

Dutchtown’s Chris Collins intercepted a Claiborne pass to set up a two-play, 8-yard drive. Matherne scored on an 8-yard run and Port Allen’s Jestin Kelly blocked the PAT for a 20-0 lead.

The Black Knights forced a three-and-out and then drove 52 yards in six plays. Christophe had a 16-yard scoring pass to Thomas for a 27-0 lead.

Parkview Baptist’s Hunter Brian recovered a fumble by Pointe Coupee Central’s Kevin Bourgeois to set up a four-play, 29-yard drivee. Christophe then threw a 4-yard TD pass to University’s Zach Aguilar.

“That was supposed to be a jump pass, but when I started to creep up toward the line, they thought I was going to run and I didn’t have to jump on it,” Christophe said. “This game was fun.”

East Ascension’s Vance Grayson intercepted Courville early in the fourth quarter and returned it 40 yards to the Rough Riders 7. Three plays later, Parkview Baptist’s Hezekiah Randolph scored on a 4-yard run.

East Feliciana’s Dequan Franklin was named the outstanding interior lineman for the Black Knights. Franklin played defensive tackle in high school and defensive end in this game.

“Dequan Franklin was in their backfield all night long,” Oliver said. “He was very disruptive.”

“I just followed the ball,” Franklin said. “I like playing end. Our defense did great.”

Central receiver Devon Gales was named outstanding skill player, and Scotlandville center Jeremy Wade was named outstanding interior lineman for the Rough Riders. Gales had six catches for 48 yards.

Scotlandville’s Deondre Dobbins and West Feliciana’s Deldrick Harris had interceptions for the Rough Riders. University’s Jarrod Franklin also had an interception for the Black Knights.

This was the third time in six years that the Black Knights have shut out the Rough Riders.