DENHAM SPRINGS — Central receiver Gary Triplett ought to be familiar with just about every blade of artificial turf at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
The speedy senior scored three touchdowns — including a winding, rambling, boundary-to-boundary 70-yard screen play — to pace the Wildcats to a 40-6 win in District 4-5A on Friday night.
Triplett finished with 137 yards on seven receptions, while senior quarterback Jarrad Hayes completed 12-of-17 passes for 196 yards and five touchdowns without an interception.
Central coach Sid Edwards described Triplett’s 70-yard play in the fourth quarter as a thing of beauty.
“That was about as pretty a run as I’ve ever seen.,” Edwards said. “He’s a super-special player. We try to get it to him in open grass and he can usually make something happen.”
The victory placed Central (5-1, 2-0) in a 31-31 tie in the all-time series record against its rival Denham Springs (3-3, 2-1).
The Wildcats rolled up 214 yards on the ground. Senior Jake Myer led the rushing attack with 118 yards on 19 carries.
Edwards said the key to victory was controlling the tempo of the game offensively and keeping the defense off the field.
Denham quarterback Torez Kinchen started slow in the passing department, but finished with 8 completions on 15 attempts for 98 yards.
Coach Dru Nettles said two turnovers in the first half caused the Yellow Jackets to fall behind 14-0 at halftime and made it difficult to play catch-up.
“Those turnovers really wore us out. We let our defense stay on the field too long.”
Denham made an early statement by putting together a 12-play drive to open the contest but came up short on a fourth-and-15 when Kinchen’s pass attempt to Kyandre Brooks in the end zone fell incomplete.
Central took its first possession 68 yards for a touchdown as Hayes found Triplett for a 28-yard TD pass.
Seconds later, junior James Schopp recovered a fumble for Central on the ensuing kickoff and the Wildcats appeared to be poised to add to their early lead.
The Yellow Jacket defense kept the visitors out of the end zone, however, as Central’s offense sputtered when Hayes threw two incomplete passes.
Central took a 14-0 lead into the half as Hayes scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 10-play, 44-yard drive.
Denham fell farther behind early in the third quarter after a pass interference call on the Yellow Jackets put Central inside the red zone. Hayes tossed a pass to Triplett in the left flats and the running back weaved his way through the defensive secondary for a 19-yard touchdown that gave the guests a 20-0 lead.
The Yellow Jackets put their first points on the board early in the third quarter when Kinchen scored on a 1-yard run, but Central responded with a nine-play drive capped by a 13-yard scoring run by Myer to give the Wildcats a 27-6 lead.