By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports
STONEWALL – Huntington head coach Stephen Dennis’ message to his team following Friday night’s District 1-4A matchup at North DeSoto was succinct and emphatic.
“When you get punched in the mouth, you gotta own it,” Dennis said to his team gathered near the end zone of Griffin Stadium. “Own it and move on.”
What the Raiders (5-3, 4-1) must own is a 48-6 thrashing by the Griffins, who scored on their second play from scrimmage (on a 62-yard touchdown pass from Luke Delafield to Trysten Hopper) and never let up as they improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in district play. Delafield’s pass to Cole Cory for the 2-point conversion gave North DeSoto a quick 8-0 lead.
It looked like Huntington would put up a challenge as the Raiders took the opening kickoff and went on a 16-play, 53-yard drive that ate up the first seven-and-a-half minutes of the first quarter. Unfortunately, the drive ended when they turned the ball over on downs at the North DeSoto 37.
Two plays later, Delafield found Hopper wide open for the first score by the Griffins, ninth in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A Top 10 poll.
“We had a great opening drive,” said Dennis. “We just didn’t finish it.”
The only drive the Raiders were able to finish came in the second quarter when a 5-play, 80-yard drive was capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kam Evans to Michael Casey. After the 2-point conversion failed, however, they were trailing 29-6.
The Griffins, on the other hand, were able to finish drives – and take advantage of a number of Huntington mistakes. After taking a 15-0 lead following Brian Banks’ 1-yard touchdown run and a Landon Falls PAT at the end of the first quarter, North DeSoto turned interceptions by Evans on two consecutive possessions into touchdowns.
Those two scores – a 52-yard run by Banks and a 17-yard run by John Lewis followed by Falls’ PATs – vaulted North DeSoto ahead 29-0 with seven minutes left in the second quarter. A 29-yard field goal by Falls gave the Griffins a 32-6 lead at the half.
Delafield finished 9-of-15 for 128 yards with one TD and one interception. Banks, who led all rushers with 181 yards on 15 carries, got his third TD on a 59-yard run that put the Griffins up 45-6 to start the fourth quarter.
North DeSoto’s final score came on Falls’ 25-yard field goal with 3:22 left in the game. Falls was 4-for-5 on PATs (Huntington blocked one attempt).
“We knew controlling the line of scrimmage would be the key,” said North DeSoto head coach Dennis Dunn. “And winning the turnover battle.”
Four of Huntington’s turnovers came on fumbles – and one of those was turned into a score when Marques Hampton stripped the ball from John Solomon and ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown – putting North DeSoto up 39-6.
Solomon led Huntington with 38 yards on seven carries, followed by Jamarion Mims with seven carries for 27 yards. Evans, who was 17-of-32 for 206 yards with 1 TD and two interceptions, left the game with a shoulder injury in the second half.
“They completely out-executed us in every phase of the game,” Dennis said of the Griffins. “It’s a testament to them. They deserve to be 8-0. How we respond to this will determine the rest of the year. We’ve got to learn from it and move on.”
The Raiders will try to do just that when they go to Evangel (4-4, 3-2) for next Friday’s district matchup.
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North DeSoto 48, Huntington 6
Score by quarters
Huntington | 0 | 6 | 0 | 0 | – 6
North DeSoto | 15 | 17 | 7 | 9 | – 48
ND – Trysten Hopper 62 pass from Luke Delafield (Cole Cory pass from Delafield)
ND – Brian Banks 1 run (Landon Falls kick)
ND – Banks 52 run (Falls kick)
ND – John Lewis 17 run (Falls kick)
H – Michael Casey 13 pass from Kam Evans (run failed)
ND – Falls 29 field goal
ND – Marques Hampton 30 fumble return (Falls kick)
ND – Banks 59 run (kick failed)
ND – Falls 25 field goal
Huntington (26-88) – John Solomon 7-38, Jamarion Mims 7-27, Evans 8-15, Tre Carter 2-9, Lorenzo White 2-(-1).
North DeSoto (39-272) – Banks 15-181, Lewis 14-74, Kenny Thomas 6-16, Delafield 3-1, Sam Odom 1-0.
Huntington (18-34-3-217) – Evans 17-32-2, 206 yards, 1 TD; White 1-2-1, 11 yards.
North DeSoto (10-16-1-148) – Delafield 9-15-1, 128 yards, 1 TD; Porter Doyal 1-1-0, 20 yards.
Huntington – Kenton Brossett 6-51, Solomon, 5-25, Jarvis Davis 2-65, Kaleb Tucker 2-44, Carter 2-19, Casey 1-13.
North DeSoto – Hopper 3-64, Odom 3-59, Cory 3-28, Banks 1-(-3).