Defense impresses in 30th annual Joe Delaney Bowl

Sports

NATCHITOCHES   With a 76-yard touchdown catch and run shortly before halftime, Gavin Landry gave the Northwestern State offense the jump start it needed.

Ian Edwards capped the afternoon with his second interception to provide a fitting conclusion for Northwestern State’s 30th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring football game.

They were the Delaney Bowl Most Valuable Players as the Demons wrapped up their second spring practice under coach Brad Laird, running 90 plays from scrimmage in an intrasquad game Saturday at Turpin Stadium.

They competed, they finished (15 days of practice), and we came out healthy. For a coach, that makes it a very successful day, said Laird.

The defense, wearing white jerseys, collected five turnovers and seven sacks while forcing 14 punts. With a scoring system rewarding defensive superlatives such as sacks, tackles for loss, three-and-outs and turnovers, the White team posted a 61-32 victory over the Purple.

Edwards, a safety who has earned three letters, added five tackles. Sophomore linebacker Isaiah Longino led the White team with nine tackles and three sacks. Sophomore linebacker Darion Miller made a sack and interception while junior linebacker Kyle Moore collected a fumble recovery and five tackles.

“We really stress takeaways, and had not had much success this spring, but came up with five today, and Ian Edwards had two of them on the interceptions,” said Laird. “For a fifth-year senior, what a great way to end his last spring practice.”

Landry streaked open across the middle and caught a perfectly thrown Shelton Eppler ball pass midfield to get the offense untracked 4:41 before halftime. He scored again with 32 seconds showing in the half on a 22-yarder over the middle from fellow junior Kaleb Fletcher. The 5-foot-6, 177-pounder led all receivers with five grabs for 136 yards.

“Gavin Landry’s consistency really showed today, making some big plays. He really got them going,” said Laird. “He gives relentless effort and that work paid off today.”

Eppler, NSU’s starting quarterback last season, was near perfect, going 16 of 18 for 198 yards including the scoring strike to Landry.

Two transfers connected for the other Delaney Bowl TD. Sophomore Bryce Rivers, from Texas-San Antonio, found former Purdue receiver Benaiah Franklin for a 65-yard bomb. Rivers threw for 158 yards, completing 12 of 22 with two interceptions.

Thirteen receivers contributed to the 460 yards passing.

The other turnover was an interception by true freshman Matthew Salinas.

Senior Stadford Anderson led the running backs with 74 all-purpose yards, 48 on nine rushes and 25 on five receptions.

Walk-on freshman Ryan Gremillion hit three extra points and a 26-yard field goal.

About 1,500 fans watched the contest. First-year football letterwinners from 2018 were presented NSU letterjackets by former Demon players in a halftime ceremony, while four Legendary Links were awarded after the first quarter to all-time great players Gary Reasons and David Wright, former linebacker Gary Morgan and retiring Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.

30th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game

SCORING PLAYS

Gavin Landry 76 pass from Shelton Eppler (Ryan Gremillion kick)

Landry 22 pass from Kaleb Fletcher (Gremillion kick)

Gremillion 26 field goal

Benaiah Franklin 65 pass from Bryce Rivers (Gremillion kick)

PASSING (40-63-4, 461 yards, 3 TDs)

Shelton Eppler 16-18, 198 yards, 1 TD; Bryce Rivers, 12-22-2, 158 yards, 1 TD; Kaleb Fletcher 12-24-2, 1 TD, 104 yards

RECEIVING (40-460 yards, 3 TDs)

Gavin Landry 5-136, 2 TDs; Curtis Williams 5-49, Stadford Anderson 5-25, Benaiah Franklin 4-69, 1 TD;  Quan Shorts 4-34, Tanner Ash 3-61, Myles Ward 3-16, Kendrick Price 3-15, McKane Kinchen 2-31, David Fitzwater 2-19, Trevor Morgan 2-3, Matthew Nelson 1-3, Ellis Brossie 1-minus 1

RUSHING (27-57 yards)

Stadford Anderson 9-48, Matthew Nelson 3-19, Trevor Morgan 5-16, Benaiah Franklin 1-2, Kaleb Fletcher 3-minus 7, Bryce Rivers 3-minus 10, Shelton Eppler 3-minus 11

DEFENSIVE TOTALS

Isaiah Longino 9 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 TFL; Cedric Anderson 6 tackles, 1 TFL; Ian Edwards 5 tackles, 2 INT; Kyle Moore 5 tackles, 1 FR; Ricky Chatman 4 tackles; Bishop Breaux 4 tackles; Jackson Mathews 4 tackles; Corban James 4 tackles; Darion Miller 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT; Darius Whitfield 3 tackles, 1 sack; Damian Thompson 3 tackles; Rashaud Powell 3 tackles; Ronald Malbrough 3 tackles; William Hooper 3 tackles; Malik Sonnier 3 tackles; Fredrick Lee Jr. 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU;  Christian Bluiett 2 tackles, 1 sack; John-Alex Perkins 2 tackles, 1 sack; Trey Williams 2 tackles, 1 PBU; Jomard Valsin Jr. 2 tackles; Jarviar Wade 2 tackles; Nathalohn Nanai 2 tackles; Tyree Cormier 2 tackles; Landon King 2 tackles; Keenan Leachman 1 tackle, 1 TFL, 1 PBU; Ryan Reed 1 tackle, 1 PBU; Tobias Williams II 1 tackle, 1 PBU; Jacory Williams 1 tackle, 1 TFL; Quindarrius Whitley 1 tackle; Jalen Garrison 1 tackle; Matthew Salinas 1 INT, 1 PBU; D’Ronne Littleton 1 PBU

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