Defense, special teams give DHS edge over Bulldogs

Kyle Riviere
Devant'e LeBlanc and a pack of Tigers bring down a White Castle runner during Donaldsonville's 26-8 victory. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

For the second straight week, Donaldsonville’s offense was stymied and held to total yardage numbers in the single digits.

But on Friday night, they didn’t need to do a lot--not with Christian Bell making big plays on defense and special teams.

Bell scored more points than White Castle’s entire team.

Leading just 6-0 at halftime, Donaldsonville got a kickoff return for a touchdown from Bell to start the third quarter. In the fourth, he added a pick-six.

His two scintillating scores were all the Tigers needed in a 26-8 victory.

“Give credit to White Castle. They’re a tough team,” Donaldsonville head coach Brian Richardson said. “They’re going to come out and give you some problems. I knew they would come in with nothing to lose and ready to work.

“[Christian] has been doing the same thing for the last three years. He’s lightning in a bottle. He’s electric as soon as he touches it. I’m surprised they kicked it to him, but they did. He knows whenever he touches it, his job is to get some separation and get us going.”

A heavy downpour a few hours before the game paired with the field being used the night before by Ascension Catholic made the conditions a challenge.

The wet and muddy field made for some sloppy play from both teams throughout the night.

Donaldsonville had two chances to score early.

On the opening drive of the game, they recovered a White Castle fumble at the Bulldog 44-yard line. On the second drive, they took over at the White Castle 5 after a partially blocked punt.

Both times, the Tigers left with no points.

However, the third time proved to be a charm.

Donaldsonville took over at the Bulldog 14-yard line after a shanked punt. Four plays later, quarterback Treveyon Brown hit Raeland Johnson for an 11-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead.

Right before the half, it looked like White Castle would get on the scoreboard. They returned a Donaldsonville fumble to the Tiger 7-yard line.

But Savon Landry came up with a huge interception in the end zone to turn the Bulldogs away. It allowed Donaldsonville to maintain their lead at halftime.

To start the second half, Bell broke the game wide open with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It put the Tigers ahead 12-0.

On White Castle’s first play of the second half, they fumbled the ball away. Donaldsonville recovered it at the Bulldog 34.

Four plays later, Brown connected with Jeffery Johnson for a 20-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a commanding 20-0 advantage.

To start the fourth, Bell stuck again. This time, he picked off a pass and returned it 52 yards for a score.

White Castle fought off the shutout late in the game when Javier Batiste scored on a 14-yard run.

The Donaldsonville defense limited the Bulldogs to just 232 total yards.

“They’ve been the surprise of the season,” Richardson said. “In spots where we thought they’d be soft, they toughened up. Most of our upper-classmen are in the secondary. All four on the front line are brand new, and only one of our linebackers played last year. That’s tough, but they’re stepping up. The past two weeks, they’ve been holding their own.”

White Castle was led offensively by Tahj Favorite. He had 49 yards passing and 62 yards rushing. Batise had 42 yards passing, 37 yards rushing and their only score.

The Tigers won, despite being held to just 42 total yards.

Raeland Johnson was their leader as he carried the ball eight times for 49 yards. He also caught two passes for 17 yards and a score.

“We tried to get the ball inside a lot, but it was tough,” Richardson said. “Some of it was the field, but some of it was White Castle blitzing over the double A-gap. We couldn’t get that zone going. We have a lot more numbers than them, so our plan was to wear them out and get them in those later rounds, but they were holding their ground. Hat’s off to White Castle.”