DENHAM SPRINGS – The sight of watching Ferriday’s defense continually try and crowd the line of scrimmage simply made the eyes of Denham Springs quarterback Luke Lunsford open wide.
Then he proceeded to light up the visitor’s secondary.
Lunsford made Ferriday pay dearly for its run-conscious defensive approach, throwing for career highs in yards with 397 and touchdowns with six, leading Denham Springs to a convincing 63-20 homecoming victory on Friday.
“We saw the defense coming up for the run and we knew we could go over the top of it,” said Lunsford, who completed 18 of 25 passes. “The receivers were getting open which is what they do.”
Lunsford spread the scoring wealth to three receivers with Northwestern State commitment DJ Williams catching five passes for 191 yards and 3 TDs of 62, 36 and 48 yards, respectively, to celebrate his birthday.
“I thought for the most part Lunsford was lights out,” Denham Springs coach Bill Conides said. “The receivers were able to run by those guys. It just shows you how fast DJ is to run by their fast corners.”
Lunsford lit up when discussing his two touchdown passes to senior Brycen Longley, who caught his first two TDs of the season from 8 and 26 yards out.
“I was real excited for him and the three to DJ for his birthday,” Lunsford said. “He (Longley) had a great game. I was hoping to get everyone at least one.”
Conides said, “Longley’s a lynchpin of what we do. He’s a tight end that also lines out wide. I thought he was exceptional.”
Denham Springs (4-2) matched its season high in points, but not without help from its defense and special teams.
Outside linebacker Tristan Duhe led a charge for the Yellow Jackets with a blocked punt and fumble recovery on defense, both of which contributed to touchdowns.
“Our offense is good and they’re going to put up a lot of points,” Duhe said. “We just have to do our job and let them come on the field as much as possible.”
Denham Springs’ offense was the beneficiary of four turnovers courtesy of the defense and special teams that led to 28 points with a fumble recovery from EJ Burgess and interception from Hayden Horne all leading to touchdowns.
The Jackets defense yielded 184 total yards with Daminya Milligan leading the way with 87 yards rushing on 17 carries.
“That’s awesome,” Conides said. “Even toward the end of the game, those guys could score in a heartbeat. That’s why we kept our foot to the pedal because of how fast they could score.”
Treveon Muse, who was limited to 42 yards on 17 carries, scored his second rushing touchdown from four yards out to make it 42-14, but an example of Conides’ concern played out on the ensuing kickoff when Milligan scored on a 98-yard burst.
DSHS put the game out of reach with the combination of Lunsford-to-Williams producing TDs of 36 and 48 yards over a six-minute span that made it 56-20 with 10:47 remaining in the game.
Reserve running back Patrick Isadore capped the Jackets scoring on a 1-yard run with 3:40 to play.
“Last week we came up a little short (31-27 loss to Live Oak) so the motto this week was to give ourselves our own opportunities and cash in on those and I think we did that,” Duhe said. “We were just relentless to the ball and got a lot of turnovers.”
Denham Springs followed a recurring theme to a 35-14 halftime lead.
The Jackets parlayed three turnovers into 21 points, including a pair of touchdowns off a pair of mistakes by the Trojans in the final 1:51 that capped a 21-point second quarter.
“We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy and fired up,” Conides said of Ferriday (3-3). “They’re a really good team and they have some play-makers. They’re extremely athletic and we knew it. We needed to come out better in the first quarter and didn’t do it.”
DSHS twice scored one play after forcing turnovers, the first on Duhe’s blocked punt that led to the first of Lunsford’s four first-half touchdown passes – a 38-yarder to Hunter Bond.
“It was big because we were down a little bit and needed a play," Duhe said. "I just laid out for it and hoped for the best.”
The Yellow Jackets also struck gold on second-quarter fumble recoveries from Burgess and Duhe, both of which produced scores.
The first touchdown covered eight yards on Lunsford’s pass to Longley at the 8:26 mark and after DSHS’ longest scoring drive of 8 plays and 56 yards which ended with a 26-yard TD pass to Longley – Duhe returned a fumble 27 yards and Muse scored from four yards out with 1:21 to go before halftime.
“The special teams play ignited us and kept our focus offensively,” Conides said. “We knew the big plays were going to happen for us. It was just a matter of making the play.”
Denham Springs 63, Ferriday 20
Score By Quarters
Ferriday 0 14 6 0 - 20
Denham Springs 14 21 14 14 - 63
DSHS – Hunter Bond 38 pass from Luke Lunsford (Jose Ortega kick)
DSHS – DJ Williams 62 pass from Lunsford (Ortega kick)
FHS – Kobe Dillion 28 run (run failed)
DSHS – Brycen Longley 8 pass from Lunsford (Ortega kick)
FHS – Daminya Milligan 8 run (Dillion pass to Jamien Green)
DSHS – Longley 26 pass from Lunsford (Ortega kick)
DSHS – Treveon Muse 4 run (Ortega kick)
FHS – Milligan 98 kickoff return (run failed)
DSHS – Williams 36 pass from Lunsford (Ortega kick)
DSHS – Williams 48 pass from Lunsford (Ortega kick)
DSHS – Patrick Isadore 1 run (Ortega kick)
First Downs 13 17
Rushes-Yards 34-111 27-57
Passing Yards 73 397
A-C-I 6-19-1 18-25-0
Punts-Avg. 7-31.6 2-56
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 9-75 8-70