DENHAM SPRINGS - Third-ranked Denham Springs exploded midway through the first half with five goals en route to a decisive 9-1 mercy-rule victory Tuesday over Live Oak at Yellow Jacket Stadium.
The Yellow Jackets (6-0) outshot the Eagles, 20-2 and put 12 of their shots on target and took six corners. The visiting Live Oak only placed one of its shots on frame and took two corners.
Will Chevalier led the Denham scoring effort with a hat trick, including a goal from a penalty kick and Axel Agurcia recorded two goals.
“I made a couple of mistakes but in the end, it was a decent game,” Chevalier said. “It was a decent showing. This gives us confidence, not just for this game but for throughout the season. We started the season strong, but we want to finish strong.”
Despite the dominance, Denham Springs coach Chris Thorne wasn’t pleased with the overall product. With lofty expectations for a talented team, Thorne believes his team still has plenty to work on.
“I think that’s the worst soccer we played all year,” Thorne said. “We weren’t connecting passes, we weren’t challenging many 50/50 balls, we let ourselves get stretched out, and we weren’t finishing really well. That seems tough to say when you mercy (rule) a team, but we just weren’t playing well.
“We have high expectations for the team and they have high expectations for themselves,” Thorne added. “The score was what it was, I don’t think we met that.”
For Live Oak, the matchup with the over-powering Denham side couldn’t come at a worse time. Following their 5-0 defeat of St. Thomas
Aquinas last week, coach Zach Miller focused on retooling his team. Despite improved health and a fully confident team, he realizes his Eagles were facing an uphill battle.
Miller was still able to come away with a few positives.
“I asked the guys at halftime ‘what does it feel like right now?’,” Miller said. “Reflect on the first half and what does it feel like we’re doing. ‘Coach, it feels like we’re chasing the ball all over the place’. That’s because they’re taking one or two touches and getting it off their feet. And that’s exactly what we were practicing this weekend. Could we do that and exhaust the other team. I knew it’d be tough to do against this team, but they got a good look at it in action. What does it look like to be on the field, facing that in action and have that feeling? This is difficult.”
Denham Springs jumped ahead following only three minutes of play when a free kick was knocked into a bevy of Live Oak defenders with Brennan Amato sneaking around tapping the ball into the net from point-blank range.
The Yellow Jackets scored on another set piece in the 15th minute, taking advantage of an own corner when a corner kick went into the face of goal followed by an errant clearing attempt
Ten minutes later, Will Chevalier was tripped inside the box and was awarded a penalty kick, which he calmly rolled to the left for a 3-0 lead
Chevalier secured another goal five minutes later when he made an impressive run, slicing up LOHS’ defense and delivered the ball to the goal.
Collin Turner scored in the 36th minute with a first-time shot and two minutes later Agurcia took the ball following a deflection off a Live Oak player and buried his shot to give for a 6-0 lead.
Live Oak avoided a shutout in the 57th minute on Jackson Earle scored on an uncontested shot near the corner of the box and went for the vacated far post.
Denham responded with two quick goals with Agurcia and Chevalier adding scores. The Jackets were able to end the match in the 69th minute with a goal from Bryan Lagos.