VINTON — It looked like DeRidder would be in a for a long night when Iowa scored on its second play of the game. But the Dragons defense locked down the Yellow Jackets the rest of the way to secure a 21-7 win Friday night at B.S. Walker Stadium.
“I am super proud of the defense,” DeRidder head coach Brad Parmley said. “They played well all night. It is a total effort always.”
After the 84-yard scoring play in the first quarter, DeRidder (1-1), led by its defensive line of Quincy Archield, Demarcus Hunt, Brian Tellis, Derron Griffin and Malcolm Faulkner, held Iowa (1-1) to fewer than 100 yards the rest of the game and 174 yards of total offense.
DeRidder dropped Iowa quarterback Gene Natali in the backfield six times.
“On our defensive line and our defense in general, we have a lot of experience back,” Parmley said. “They did a heck of a job for us tonight. Defense in football, in general, starts up front. The defensive line is the strength of our team, and it showed tonight.”
Iowa held DeRidder’s offense to under 100 yards in the first half, but the Dragons settled down to take the lead in the second half.
“Our offense just has to settle down and play football,” Parmley said. “I think sometimes we just try to do too much.
“Let’s be honest, the practice the last two weeks has been hit or miss. It was sloppy, but we will take a sloppy win any night.”
DeRidder finished with 281 yards of total offense, led by running back Isaiah Roberson, who ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
DeRidder opened the second half with a 73 yard, 6-minute drive capped by a 7-yard score by Robberson.
After missing out on a red-zone opportunity, the Dragons used a short field to increase their lead to 21-7 on a 7-yard Roberson run with 4:58 left in the game.
Iowa started strong when Curtis Deville scored on the Yellow Jackets’ second play of the game. Deville turned a short pass from Natali into an 84-yard score, but the Yellow Jackets crossed midfield three more times the rest of the game.
The Yellow Jackets also struggled with penalties with 7-for-55 in the first half.
On its third possession that spanned the first and second quarters, Iowa was hit called for a personal foul, illegal procedure and a block in the back.
Faced with a third down and 33 yards, Natali completed a 19-yard pass to Cade Labuyere and got the first down after the Dragons were called for a face mask penalty, but the drive stalled after Archield sacked Natali for a 14-yard loss on fourth-and-9 from the Dragons’ 24.
Iowa struggled to establish its run game in the first half as the Dragons held the Yellow Jackets to 24 yards on 20 carries.
DeRidder struggled and didn’t cross midfield until late in the second quarter.
The Dragons got a fourth-down conversion on a short run by Chance Duncan to keep the drive alive, and Isaiah Roberson capped the 77-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds left in the first half to tie the score at 7-7.
Tyrone Bass gained 56 yards on 16 carries for Iowa and Natali completed 6 of 1