CENTRAL – Central took advantage of some well-timed explosive plays to quickly put away their rivals Denham Springs 42-13 in Friday’s 4-5A opener.

The tone was set at the end of the first drive, when the Wildcats (6-0, 1-0 District 4-5A) forced the Yellow Jackets to punt. The snap went high and Central recovered the ball at the 17-yard line where three plays later, quarterback Sam Kenerson found Juan Banks wide open in the middle of the field for a 13-yard touchdown.

After both teams combined for five straight three-and-outs, Central scored again on a 52-yard run from Kenerson.

Central recorded 386 yards of total offense, rushing for 227 yards on 28 carries and going 8 of 27 through the air. But those eight receptions were critical, netting 159 yards for an average of 20 yards per completion.

Denham Springs (1-5, 0-1) scored with a nine-yard run from Tristan Duhe after receiving the ball on a short field following the combination of an onside kick and targeting penalty.

The Yellow Jackets were limited to 171 total yards, 114 of which came on the ground on 33 carries.

“We couldn’t do anything right,” said Denham Springs coach Bill Conides, whose passing game produced 57 yards on 6 of 20 passing. “It was very disappointing to know that we have a group of seniors that work hard, and practice well, but ultimately don’t play well. So that’s a problem. I don’t have any answers.”

Central coach Sid Edwards was ecstatic over the play of his defense.

“I thought the defense was lights out,” he said. “To hold a team that’s coached by Bill, who I think is one of the better ball coaches in the state to six (points), I feel really good about it. I thought they played well.”

Central responded to Denham Springs’ score by reaching the end zone on a 22-yard run from Jonathon Swift II and 36-yard pass from Kenerson to Andrew Myrick.

With less than a minute to go before halftime, a Yellow Jacket punt was blocked by defensive back Da’Veawn Armstead, who came through untouched.

Armstead picked up the ball on the trot and brought it into the end zone to make it 35-6.

“Watching film, we watched how they always move down to the inside,” Armstead said. “So, them biting down gave me a free alley to the punter. I went in at the right angle and then I blocked it. When I blocked it, it came out at the right angle and I was able to scoop it up and score.”

Later in the game, Armstead recorded an interception that stopped the closest thing Denham would have to a scoring drive until the closing stages of the game.

On their first possession of the second half, Central scored on a 60-yard pass from Kenerson to Josiah Rankins.

With less than two minutes left in the game, the Yellow Jackets blocked a punt, recovered it at the Wildcats’ 3-yard line and linebacker Kaydon Berard came in as part of a heavy formation and punched the ball in from a yard out.

Central 42, Denham Springs 13

Score By Quarters

Denham Springs 0 6 0 7 - 13

CEN 14 21 7 0 - 42

CEN: Juan Banks 13 pass from Samuel Kenerson (Andrew Medine kick)

CEN: Kenerson 52 run (Medine kick)

DS: Tristan Duhe 9 run

CEN: Jonathon Swift II 22 yd run (Medine kick)

CEN: Andrew Myrick 36 pass from Kenerson (Medine kick)

CEN: Da’veawn Armstead punt block return (Medine kick)

CEN: Rankins 60 pass from Kenerson (Medine kick)

DS: Kaydon Berard (Cameron Beall kick)

                                        DS        CHS

First Downs                        7           10

Rushes–Yards               33–114     28–227

Passing Yards                      57        159

C–A-I                          6–20–1     8–27–0

Punts –Avg.                 8–33.75      3–28

Fumbles Lost                       1           1

Penalties–Yards              5–48       5–50