ZACHARY -- Chris Thorne had a pointed message for his team at halftime against district-foe Zachary Thursday night.
Holding onto the ball is great, but attacking with the ball is even better.
It took some time for the Yellow Jackets to follow their coach’s advice in the second half, but once they did, they turned a tight game into a rout.
Elmer Romero scored a quick goal two minutes into the game, Daniel Goerges picked up a hat trick late in the second half, and No. 3-ranked Denham Springs pushed its current unbeaten streak to eight games with a 4-0 victory on the road against the Broncos.
Denham Springs (15-2-1, 2-0) took a half-game lead over idle Catholic High in the Division I, District 3 standings. The Yellow Jackets opened district play Tuesday with a 7-0 win against McKinley.
“The possession was more positive in the second half,” Thorne said. “It was more offensive-minded as opposed to just dropping back. We made a point during halftime that possession is great, but we need to go somewhere with it. We were on our half of the field most of the time. Width was a big thing we stressed during halftime (because) we needed to pull some of their defenders out. We did a better job of that in the second half.”
Romero gave the visitors an early lead after scoring off a corner kick delivered by Will Chevalier in the second minute of action. That would be the only goal either team would score until after
halftime with Zachary dropping back several defenders to keep the Yellow Jackets from striking again, a strategy Thorne said his team has seen plenty this year.
“(Zachary) pretty much parked the bus,” he said. “They kept five back the whole time, so that’s going to control the score. But we weren’t patient enough in the first half, we were playing around with it on our back line, and we weren’t trying to break them down. We see that over and over again, but it takes time to adjust to it.”
The adjustments proved to work midway through the second half, when Goerges entered the box and fired a shot past Zachary keeper Riley Porter to double the Yellow Jackets’ lead.
Goerges added two more goals in the last five minutes of action to complete the hat trick and give Denham Springs its seventh victory by at least four goals this season.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 15 shots against Zachary — including 10 on goal — while holding the Broncos to only four shots and three on goal.
Zachary coach Adam Fevella accepted blame for how the end unfolded.
“I told the boys going into the second half that if we wanted a chance to score a goal in this game, I was going to have to rotate a player,” said Fevella, whose team fell to 7-4-3 and 1-1 in
district play. “When I opened it up, they scored three goals, so easily my fault, not the players.
“They were doing what I asked,” Fevella said of his players. “They stuck their heels in and fought. A coach who was a little arrogant cost them. This is on me, for sure.”