DERIDDER — With the field turned soggy from steady rain most of the day, DeRidder’s defense stole the show Friday at Cecil Doyle Stadium.
The No. 16 Dragons forced five turnovers and held No. 17 Lakeshore to 109 yards of total offense to open the Class 4A playoffs with a 27-0 win.
“They played outstanding,” DeRidder head coach Brad Parmley said. “I am super proud of them and the coaches.
“They did a great job, all of them. Defensively, right now, we have been playing good football. We have played a lot of spread teams and it kind of helped prepare us for this moment.
“The defensive line did a great job across the board. I think the weather helped a little bit tonight, obviously, but at the same time they have been playing good football.”
DeRidder (3-3) will face No. 1 Carencro (7-1) in the regional round next week.
Senior defensive lineman Quincy Archield had four tackles behind the line of scrimmage while senior Ethan Stunkard had two of the Dragons’ fourth-quarter picks. The other was an 8-yard pick-six by senior defensive lineman Malcolm Faulkner that put the Dragons up 27-0 with 9:36 left in the game.
“That (three interceptions in the fourth quarter) was huge, especially on a night like tonight where possessions were going to be pretty limited,” Parmley said. “You have to do a good job with what you had.”
Senior defensive lineman Derron Griffin had two tackles for loss and a sack, and Dawson Hebert made a pair of stops in the backfield.
Lakeshore’s (4-5) best drive came midway through the third quarter after making it to the Dragons’ 29-yard line with the help of two pass interference calls. But before the Titans could get in the red zone, Chance Duncan scooped up a fumble and raced to the Titans’ 21-yard line.
The Dragons forced Lakeshore to punt on its first two possessions, and Ethan Duplechien recovered a fumble on the Titans’ third possession.
The Dragons offense was efficient, averaging more than 6 yards a carry and holding the ball for more than 15 minutes in the first half.
Senior running back Isaiah Roberson led the way with 175 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries and quarterback Kenneth Gooden added two scores and 68 yards on 10 carries.
The Dragons stuck mostly to the ground with the sloppy field conditions and didn’t turn the ball over after committing eight in its previous three games.
“We did a great job offensively making explosive plays early and grinding it out late,” Parmley said. “(Roberson) did a great job and the offensive line did a great job.
“The quarterback did a great job. Offensive football is all about teamwork, and they did a great job tonight.”
DeRidder came up empty on its first possession, but Roberson broke loose for a 63-yard score with 6:46 left in the first quarter.
Gooden scored on a 4-yard run with 1:40 left in the first quarter and capped a 90-yard drive with 3:32 left in the second quarter with a 22-yard score after getting a block inside the 10-yard line from Ashton Broussard. Earlier, Broussard also caught a 26-yard pass on fourth down to extend the drive.