Green Devils end losing skid behind strong defensive effort

Tryve Brackin
BIG NIGHT…Plaquemine High wide receiver Reggie Travis (4 at right) grabbed a pair of touchdown passes in last week’s 34-0 road victory over Lusher Charter High down in the New Orleans area. Shown taking a breather on the bench are fellow offensive players running back Jason Porch (20) and lineman-place kicker Elliot “Big E” James.

Plaquemine High’s Green Devils ended a losing skid on the gridiron Friday night by capturing a 34-0 victory over hosting 2-A Lusher Charter down in the New Orleans area.

The Green Devils suffered a winless 2008 campaign, which was marred by Hurricane Gustav and a horrendous season schedule. Finally, the PHS boys got back on the winning track under first-year mentor Bob Howell as they captured their first victory since a 2007 District 8-3A win over Port Allen High.

“We did it with an outstanding defensive effort. We still have a lot of work to do on our offensive end, but we had our moments. We still have some work to do on turnover mistakes and penalties that hinder progress,” commented Coach Howell Saturday.

With the defense leading the way and some good offensive plays by senior wide receiver Reggie Travis and quarterback Ameer Deggs, the Green Devils mounted a 21-0 halftime lead. They added 13 more points in the second half before giving their second and third unit players some playing time on the gridiron.

Despite losing four fumbles and having a pass interception, the Green Devil offense created some offensive fireworks in the victory. Deggs was very productive with three touchdown runs and a pair of TD passes. Deggs finished the game with 136 yards rushing and 95 yards passing. He scored on runs of 20, 15, and 8 yards. He passed for TDs of 60 and 35 yards to Travis, who finished with four catches for 94 yards.

“We had some good play up front on defense, pressing their quarterback with a pass rush and that helped create some mistakes on their part. Our defense came up with some good turnovers, stopped the run early, and we got the momentum,” added Coach Howell.

The trio of linebacker DeCorey Brown, safety Demario Camper, and cornerback Darvin Butler came up with interceptions, while linebacker Andre Jenkins had a key fumble recovery to spark the ball hawking Green Devil defense.

While the pass rush helped contain and rush the Lusher QB, the PHS defense also corralled the Lusher Lions’ best offensive player. “They have a tailback who can play for anybody. He was talented, but we gave him only a couple of opportunities to get off good runs, once at tailback and another time at quarterback. By good runs I mean about 10-15-yard pickups. We stopped their run very well throughout the game,” noted the PHS mentor.

PHS held Lusher to a mere 5 yards rushing and minus one passing, while garnering five turnovers. It was the best defensive showing for a PHS club in several seasons.

Offensively, the Green Devils struck for a trio of first-half touchdowns to take control of the game. Twice QB Deggs linked up with Travis for touchdowns. One was a long strike that Howell called “a good throw and catch” and the other came when Travis caught the ball and put a move on the Lusher defender to run to paydirt.

Deggs also tallied on a 20-yard run on an option play to the outside. In the second half Deggs and Travis linked up on their 35-yard TD play. Deggs tallied the final two touchdowns in the third and fourth periods on runs of 15 and 8 yards.

“We managed to get some good pitches going on the triple option, but we also had some plays called back with penalties. We had a holding flag stop a nice touchdown play. We also left the ball on the ground too many times with fumbles. They did a good job of ripping the ball away, but that was in insolated situations. I consider it a case of us not securing the ball properly. It is something we can correct, just like the penalties. Certainly, the way our defense played last night, our defense is ahead of the offense in execution right now. We have work left to be done,” noted the PHS mentor.

With an 1-0 record the Green Devils return for their home opener tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 12) for a playing date with visiting 4-A Glen Oaks High.

The visiting Panthers are coming off a lopsided 49-6 loss to 5-A New Orleans Catholic League champion Brother Martin last week. Glen Oaks dressed out only 22 players for their opener last week and managed only 119 yards offense and six first downs. They also were hit with 95 yards in penalties. Glen Oaks scored its only points in the first period when QB Bradley Vessel hit on three-straight passes to direct an 80-yard scoring drive.