It has been pointed out ad nauseum, and for good reason, that last year’s Denison defense produced the worst numbers in school history.
The brightest of spots for the unit in 2012 came against this week’s opponent, the Paris Wildcats. The Jackets held Paris scoreless in the second half, to 290 total yards and 18 points.
But the offense managed a lone touchdown and Denison lost through no fault of the defense in that particular instance.
Coming off a rough opener, the Jacket ‘D’ hopes to continue success against a program that won District 13-3A with a 5-0 mark, made the 3A playoffs, won a playoff game for the first time since 1988 and finished 8-4 last season. The program is being led by a new coach, Steven Hohenberger, this year.
In the match-up last season, Keandre Robinson led the Wildcats with 79 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and had a 57-yard TD pass to Quay Henderson. Kenny Mason added 16 carries for 74 yards. That was about it offensively.
Denison only managed 214 yards against Paris, including a dreadful 29 yards on 27 carries. It would be another game before the Yellow Jackets figured things out offensively, so don’t expect much of the same this time around. (Small sample size comparison — Denison had 179 yards against Centennial last year and 431 yards against them a week ago, with just about all the same parts.)
Paris opened 2013 with a 40-17 loss against Mount Pleasant. The game was tied at seven in the middle of the second quarter and Mount Pleasant scored twice in before half-time. Paris was down just 21-17 going to the fourth quarter before a TD run by Mount Pleasant early in the quarter. Mount Pleasant scored twice in the final 56 seconds to make it look worse than the play would indicate.
Tarrence Taylor ran wild with 258 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries and Cullen Grubbs connected twice with K.D. Cannon — who Denison fans might remember from his sophomore exploits in district play two years ago — for two touchdowns.
Paris had five turnovers, including an interception Keanan Brown returned 35 yards for a score. Paris managed just eight first downs and 199 yards of offense. Quez Allen, who came on at quarterback late last year as a freshman, had 46 yards on 18 carries and was 11-of-27 for 117 yards with two interceptions. Mason was quiet, with one carry for minus-one yard and one catch for two yards. Cordarrius Hill had two catches for 43 yards.
Allen ran for a touchdown, threw a seven-yard TD to Jordan Williams and Blake Beshirs kicked a 27-yard field goal.
Among the areas of strength for Paris include three returning linebackers — Bricky Reed (District Defensive MVP), Jordan Williams (District Newcomer of the Year) and Kendrick Wallace — and four offensive linemen in D’Tavius Harmon, Jermekus Smith, Jack Kraft and Jax Dangerfield.