Week one is back for Louisiana high school football, and LSU’s campus drew the attention of myself and other Gridiron Football beat writers Demetrius Hollins and Sean Murphy to it as the U-High Cubs took on the Woodlawn Panthers.
From the very start to the very end, the game was controlled and dominated by the U-High Cubs as head coach Andy Martin’s team won 40-6. Coach Martin was certainly pleased with how his team looked on both sides of the football.
“The defense did a great job getting to the football and that is what we talk about all the time. They showed that tonight. They rallied to the football and we made it tough on them. That’s what we wanted to do. It is the first challenge of many. One down and many more to go.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
There is no doubt that the U-High defense came into the season as one of the most talented defenses in the state, and they backed it up with a dominant showing. The Woodlawn Panthers come in with plenty of great receiving talent and offensive players led by speedster Ryan Brown in the slot, but the Cubs shut down the Panthers’ usually explosive offense down to only 28 total yards in the first half.
The Cubs defense has a lot of headliners, especially at the linebacker position with the likes of four-star 2025 linebacker Keylan Moses leading the way. The star linebacker had a couple of sacks in the win and also had some explosive plays as a running back on offense. Add in other linebackers like Navy commit Harry Beacham and fellow star linebacker Alec Haynes, there is a lot of talent in the middle of the defense.
“Honestly, we are known for defense. Ever since I came in my freshman year, we always have had great defenses. The guys that we have in Alec Haynes, Harry Beacham, etc. The list goes on and on. We got guys that are coming in and making plays. We have dogs everywhere and to be honest, we got the best defense in the state.”U-High 2025 4 star LB Keylan Moses
Early in the game, it was the Cubs’ defense that ignited the spark of what was going to be a long night for the Panthers as Alec Haynes intercepts Woodlawn quarterback Myron Nelson for a touchdown to give the Cubs a 13-0 lead.
“When it came to my hands, I was surprised and I knew I had to keep on running. When I got to the goal line, I thought I got caught, but I didn’t.”U-High 2025 LB Alec Haynes
While the linebackers were doing their damage, the rest of the guys did as well. Laramie Guidry made his regular season debut with the Cubs after transferring in from Dunham and the Central Arkansas commit was just as dominant with 2 TFLs, a strip sack, and five quarterback hurries. In the backend, Marcus Dawson, Tony Burns, Jayden Gloston, Patrick Beacham, and Caden Connor, who had an interception last night, rounds out a pretty good defense.
Still, all three phases complimented each other throughout the night. The Cubs defense forced turnovers and three and outs. Seth Gale had some nice returns in the kick return game, which led to a lot of short fields.
The offensive player of the game for the Cubs took advantage of those short fields as running back Riley Small found the end zone four times throughout the night. The 6’0, 200 pound physical back ran behind Jarvis Brookshire, Lamar Brown, Preston Jones, and John Hebert to over 70 yards rushing plus the four touchdowns.
“The defense gave us short fields all night long. The pick six was huge. We got some momentum there and Riley Small has been outstanding running the football. He put the team on his back and ran the ball hard. He did really well.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
It was also the first regular season game for new quarterback Emile Picarella and he was able to connect with his receivers Granville Anderson II, Trushaad Bush, Zay Martin, and especially, Seth Gale, who reeled in a 59 yard touchdown from the four star 2025 quarterback.
Despite a lot of positives in the game, there is always something to look and improve on for Coach Martin.
“We had too many penalties and needed to finish in the end, but there are definitely some things that we need to work on. We missed some blocks here and there, and we gave up some sacks. Defensively, we had a couple of busts for us. There is plenty to work on before we get to next week.”U-High Head Coach Andy Martin
The Cubs will start the season 1-0 after the victory and will look to push that record to 2-0 as they will face the Archbishop Rummel Raiders on the road next Friday.
Meanwhile, the Panthers, led by head coach Marcus Randall, will start the season at 0-1. There is a lot of talent that the team has to replace last season including current LSU QB Rickie Collins and Tennessee CB Jordan Matthews to name a few, but there were some bright spots including U-High transfer quarterback Cortland Brownfield, who made some good plays completing 12 of 19 passes for 80 yards.
Wiliam Jackson scored a four-yard touchdown run late in the game to help avoid the shutout for the Panthers. Defensively, Alex Collins was all over the field making tackles and plays in the backfield. He will be a big force this season for Coach Randall’s squad.
Woodlawn will hope for a bounce back week as it doesn’t get any easier with Lafayette Christian Academy coming into town on Friday.
Photos were taken by Demetrius Hollins and Sean Murphy
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