The first round went about as predicted. After narrowly missing out on a top-8 seed, Denham Springs High took out some frustration on an overmatched Ponchatoula squad, stomping the No. 24-seeded Green Wave 7-2 on Friday to kick off postseason play.
Now the 9th-seeded Yellow Jackets will be the underdog when they travels to St. Amant for a second-round matchup with the 8th-seeded Gators at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Denham didn’t face the Gators (17-2-5) during this regular season after meeting in each of the previous two. Last year, DSHS fell to St. Amant, 2-0 at The Pit after collecting an impressive 3-1 victory the season before.
The Yellow Jackets’ first-round victory against Ponchatoula was their first in three games, coming after a scoreless two-game losing streak to end the regular season. The seven goals they scored also matched a season-high, the third time they’ve reached that mark.
It won’t be quite so easy scoring on St. Amant. The Gators’ opponents have averaged less than one goal (0.79) a game this season – just 19 times in 24 games.
St. Amant, which won the Division I, District 5 title by going 5-0-1, shut out half of its opponents (12) and gave up just four goals in the last seven games of the regular season.
But the Jackets, who are in the postseason for the fourth straight season, should feel confident about their chances of reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 2015. Led by top scorers Kyle Alain (14) and Andrew Finley (11), Denham has had 13 different players score a goal this season, with six scoring at least five.
On defense, the Yellow Jackets’ focus will be on Briggs Bourgeois, who led St. Amant with 20 goals in 24 games.
The winner Wednesday will advance to face either No. 1 seed St. Paul’s or No. 17 Bryd in the quarterfinals.