There have been times in the first month of the season where the Yellow Jackets have made things look extremely easy but the second quarter of the match-up with Frisco Lebanon Trail was taking it to the next level.
Those 12 minutes showed off all of the potential Denison has shown in spurts, combining offensive explosiveness with a defensive ferocity that turned the game into a rout.
“That was quite a second quarter,” Denison head coach Chad Rogers said. “There was a stretch were we played really, really well. We did what we wanted to do.”
Four times the Jackets found the end zone to finish off a dominating first half as Denison opened District 7-5A (II) play with a 41-14 victory over Frisco Lebanon Trail at Dr. Rene and Eva Gerard Field at Munson Stadium on Friday night.
Kyrion Rosser and Jadarian Price did all of their damage before the break and at that point the Jackets (2-1, 1-0) turned things over the backups. Rosser had 10 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns, Price added eight carries for 130 yards and a score and Cade Gordy scored twice in the first quarter to build the large lead.
“The offensive line was killing it like they always do,” Gordy said. “That’s what we want to do. All gas, no brakes. That’s our motto.”
Throw in an interception return for a touchdown by Alex Pierce and it was exactly what Denison, which has scored at least 40 points in its first three games for the first time since 2008, wanted to see after suffering a last-minute loss the week before.
Lebanon Trail (1-2, 0-1) was shut out for three quarters until Lucas Rexin had an eight-yard TD run on the first play of the fourth. Alex Zorrilla scored from 22 yards out with 4:50 remaining. Princeton Parker led the Blazers with 20 carries for 85 yards.
But the game was well in hand by the time the Blazers got on the board. Denison had a huge yardage advantage after the first quarter — 189-2 — and at the break — 346-86 — before pulling back the throttle with just four possessions in the second half. The closest the Jackets got to tacking on any points was a 36-yard field goal attempt by Reece Stange with 1:20 left.
Denison finished with 394 yards and all but five of that was on the ground. The all-round effort came without starting corner DeCurious Smith and Cayden Earnhart, the team’s leading receiver, sitting out the contest due to injury.
After a rocky start that saw Denison go three-and-out to open the game and then reached the Blazers’ 16-yard line before turning it over on downs, the Jackets scored on five of their final six possessions in the half and threw in the defensive score in building a 41-0 lead at the break.
“I thought the defense played well and the offense was a little sloppy,” Rogers said. “When we got going that’s our offensive line doing a real good job on those guys. There were nice holes for Kyrion and J.D. to run through.”
Two of those drives lasted only a single play and another took two snaps to score.
Gordy opened the floodgates with a seven-yard keeper through the left side with 3:23 left in the first quarter.
Cam Wheeler came up with an interception and on the first play of the ensuing Denison series Gordy went untouched into the end zone around the left end from 16 yards out for a 13-point advantage.
“The coaches are always on us about getting things going,” Gordy said.
The Jackets had a 49-yard touchdown run by Price called back the next time they had the ball — the rare time they were unable to score — and then took over at the Lebanon Trail 43 when the punter slipped before getting the kick off. Rosser went untouched for the TD from that spot and a 20-0 lead less than three minutes into the second quarter.
Special teams continued to hurt Lebanon Trail after a 16-yard punt put Denison at the Blazers 36-yard line. Rosser almost scored on back-to-back plays but was hauled down at the one before plunging in for his second touchdown with 8:10 left in the half.
Pierce provided the defensive TD two minutes later. Lucas Rexin’s throw to the left flat was high and the receiver tipped it, allowing Pierce enough time to charge and catch it off the deflection and race the other way 49 yards for the score.
“I just read it and tried to get it once I saw him tip it,” Pierce said. “I knew I was going to score. At first I was going for the tackle for a loss but then I reacted and got underneath it. It was a good night. We were trying some new things, got some guys in on Senior Night.”
Price capped Denison’s final possession of the half with a 67-yard touchdown where he started around the right side but then cut all the way back across the field to make it 41-0.