Fifth-ranked Denham Springs spent the Thanksgiving weekend in Pineville, dominating its competition and going 4-0 on the weekend en route to their third Rebel Cup championship.
In the light of the early-season tournament showing, Denham Springs coach Chris Thorne didn’t mince words.
“In my opinion, this is the best team we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Thorne said. “We’ve always had some weaknesses somewhere in the field and this year, we just…don’t. Not only are we strong at every position, we have depth at every position.”
There is justifiable proof to support such a claim.
Denham Springs (5-0) outscored its four opponents, 16-2 culminating in a tight 2-1 victory over Alexandria Senior High in a rematch of last year’s Division second-round state playoff match.
The title-game victory was a physically tough affair, with 12 cards issued amongst the two teams.
“It was very physical,” Thorne said. “Just like it was during last year’s playoff game. That’s how it’s been between us. It’s not dirty, but it’s definitely a physical game.”
DSHS opened tournament play with a 6-0 blowout over Comeaux of Lafayette before defeating Captain Shreve, 3-1. The lone Captain Shreve goal came when a shot caught a DSHS player out of position and rebounded off the post.
The Yellow Jackets came back Saturday with a 5-0 win over Sulphur to reach the champion ship match.
Will Chevalier scored in all four matches, registering two goals in the 5-0 victory over the Tors, running his total number of goals on the season to five to go along with four assists.
“He’s doing well,” Thorne said. “Not only scoring but he has four or five assists. He’s just playing well right now. Part of it is, we’re not a one-dimensional attack. There are so many guys that can make you pay if you leave them open. That’s allowed him to have a little bit more space to operate. And you just can’t guard Will one on one. You have to have two guys on him.”
That wealth of talent and experience is part of the reason Denham Springs was able to capture the Rebel Cup so handily.
Alex Agurcia scored three goals, while Sam Miller, Collin Turner, and Bryan Lagos added a pair of goals over the weekend, with Turner scoring the first goal in the championship match.
Brennan Amato, Daniel Georges and Jordan Licciardi also scored a goal for the Yellow Jackets in their championship effort.
“We have 12 seniors on this team,” Thorne said. “And so, what you’re going to see throughout the season is all kinds of names popping up. We have so many guys that are skilled and can make you pay. I don’t know that you’re going to see the same name over and over again like you have in the past just because we’re a lot more versatile and a lot more well-rounded.”
Defense and goal-keeping played significant parts in DSHS’ +14 goal differential in sweeping to the tournament crown.
Senior Jose Ortega stepped into the net after an injury took Denham’s starter off the field.
Ortega played a significant role in helping DSHS’ football team to a second-round playoff berth, thus limiting him to one practice with the soccer team before the Yellow Jackets went to Pineville.
“He’s still getting his soccer legs underneath him,” Thorne said. “But with his leg, he can generate our offense by himself from the goal. He can have an 80-yard kick, which completely changes the field on teams. He’s been valuable back there.”