NOLA.com: De La Salle defense, quarterback Ryan Walden lead shutout of Grace King, 27-0
By Joseph Halm, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayuneon September 05, 2013 9:52 p.m.
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It wasn’t the prettiest of season openers in many respects, but De La Salle’s defense kept Grace King’s quarterbacks on the run all night and the offense amassed 339 yards to earn a 27-0 non-district victory over the Irish at Joe Yenni Stadium on Thursday night.
“Our defense bailed us out of a couple spots when our offense and special teams had a couple of miscues,” De La Salle Coach Ryan Manale said. “The thing is that Ryan Walden made two nice throws. One on third and long to Christian Booker, and the other one with one second left. That just worked out for us. Victor Gaines went up and made a great play.”
De La Salle quarterback Ryan Walden, who missed two, first-half series due to cramps, was 14-of-19 passing for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Quincy Williams had 71 yards on 10 carries while Tyrik Luckett ran for 53 yards and a touchdown and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass.
“I just want to thank my line for blocking for me,” Luckett said about his rushing score. “I was watching the linebackers, and I just saw the hole. I took the hole and ran.”
The key play in the game came in the final two minutes of the first half. Leading 6-0, the Cavaliers marched 94 yards in two minutes and 16 seconds, capped by Victor Gaines’ 33-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the half.
“We made it up,” Walden said about the play. “We based it on their coverage, and it was all to Vic (Gaines). He was our guy. We executed well, but we still have things to work on. Everybody has something to work on. We scored a few points tonight, so it’s good to be 1-0”
De La Salle (1-0) put the game out of reach midway through the third quarter when it drove 80 yards in 12 plays, capped by Luckett’s 12-yard touchdown catch and run. Quincy Williams and Walden each had big, third-down conversion runs to keep the drive alive.
The Cavaliers final touchdown was set up by Troy Dupont’s fumble recovery at the King 25 in the fourth quarter. Walden set the final score with his 3-yard touchdown run just minutes later.
While the De La Salle’s offense racked up yards, the defense, led by freshman Danquan Edwards, pressured King quarterbacks Ricardo Courtney (7-of-11, 81 yards, two interceptions) and Tyran Nash (2-of-9, 31 yards) all evening. The Irish finished with 86 yards of total offense.
“Our defense responded tonight,” Manale said. “Coach Skinner does an excellent job. Tonight, we were led by freshman Danquan Edwards, which shows that the future is bright.”
King’s offense looked like it would tie the game twice in the first half, but Raekwon Thomas and Luke Kelly each had key interceptions to end the threats. The Irish also wasted a great 52-yard kick-off return by Leronta Butler late in the first quarter. King drove to the De La Salle 9, but first and goal turned into 3rd and goal from the 41 after back-to-back penalties, a run for a loss and a sack.
Walden said the victory was a product of his team’s offseason work.
“We worked really hard this summer,” he said. “We put in a lot of hours and watched a lot of film. We put everything into this victory. We’ve got St. Michael’s next week, which is a 4A program on the rise, so it will be a test.”