Many expected big things from the Elysian Fields defense in 2012, and the Yellow Jackets showed why on Friday night. The stingy Yellow Jackets defense forced three first-half turnovers, which were converted to 21 points, in a 37-22 season opening victory over Corrigan-Camden.

After turning a fumble recovery on Corrigan-Camden’s first possession into points, the Yellow Jackets forced another on the ensuing set of downs. A fumble at the 10-yard line was scooped up by Don Deramus, who rambled 90 yards to the endzone for a 14-0 lead with 3:47 left in the first.

The Bulldogs responded, however, with an efficient 10-play, 80 yard drive led by the running trio of Keegan Mitchell, Raheim Jones and Carlos Inguanzo, who capped it off with a 1-yard touchdown run. The successful two-point conversion cut the Yellow Jackets' lead to 14-8.

Elysian Fields senior quarterback Trevor Spear was clutch all night for the Jackets, and proved his worth just before half. With a second-and-12 from his own 33, Spear rolled left to find Zane Barge for a 55-yard gain to the Bulldog 12. Two plays later, Spear rolled right on a 10-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to 21-8.

A host of penalties by Corrigan-Camden forced the Bulldogs deep into their own territory, leading to a nifty interception by linebacker Bruce Woods. The defensive leader, all over the field during the game, returned the interception to the house for a 27-8 lead at half.

The Bulldogs responded after the half following a Jacket punt with a 49-yard touchdown run by Keegan Mitchell, the standout sophomore back who was tough to tackle the majority of the night. This run cut the lead to 27-16 and looked to put the Bulldogs back in it.

Spears had other ideas. Facing a key third-and-10 from his own 40 he scrambled and found room on the outside for a 50-yard run to the Bulldogs 10.

The drive stalled however leading to a 29-yard field goal. On the ensuing kickoff the Jackets were successful with an onside kick. Following a 20-yard run by Spears and one for 16 by Woods, Tanner Davis punched it in from the 2 for a 37-16 lead.

A late drive by the Bulldogs, finished by Mitchell’s second touchdown of the night capped the scoring.  Mitchell finished with 17 carries for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Fellow backs Inguanzo who had 16 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown, and Jones who had 82 yards on 10 carries were the bulk of the offense. Quarterback Cody Rogers finished the night 3-9 with 19 yards in the mostly ground-attack offense.

Spear finished 6-10 for 118 yards through the air and had 88 yards on 8 carries along with a touchdown.

“I cant think of anyone else in our district I would want with the ball, he’s the kind of kid that makes plays,” Elysian Fields coach Eric King said after the game.

The Bulldogs (0-1) are home next week against Diboll, while the Yellow Jackets (1-0) will travel to Jefferson for a showdown with the Bulldogs.

“It’s a big ball game for us, we wanted to make the schedule so we would be ready for district,” King said.

[Story by Anthony Hawthorne]