Minden defense dominates in 35-8 win over Fair Park

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The Minden Crimson Tide made Fair Park wave the proverbial white flag Friday night, crushing the Indians’ spirit and will to compete with their physical running game and one bone-jarring hit after another, as the Tide sent a message to the rest of district 1-4A that they are out for blood.

“It definitely was a total team effort tonight,” Minden head coach Spencer Heard said. “All three phases played great. The defense was lights out. They had great coverage throughout the game, a few big hits and I thought we put pressure on the quarterback all night.

On offense, we are starting to look more explosive with the addition of Sneed. Our offensive line did a good job tonight, I thought our quarterback distributed the ball well and our receivers made some plays.”

In the first quarter, Minden struggled on their opening possession, failing to move the ball. The Crimson Swarm defense forced a fumble, recovered by Ty’Christopher Harris, to set the offense up in good field position.

On the next play, L’Jarius Sneed took the ball on a toss left and went 64 yards to the house to make the score 7-0.

“Coach Heard knows that’s a money play,” Sneed said after the game. “I had my fullback leading the way and when I cut back I saw nothing but wide open space and was able to get to the end zone.”

It looked like the game might stay at 7-0 going into halftime, but Minden mounted another promising drive right before the half. Antonio Rivette completed passes to Rodtravion Rogers and Tavarius Edwards to move the Tide into the red zone.

Out of a Minden timeout, Rivette faked a handoff and kept it right up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown. Pedro Hernandez added his second successful PAT to make it 14-0 at halftime.

“Tony (Rivette) is a very level-headed guy,” Heard said. “Early in the game their were a couple times I thought he was throwing off his back foot, but he came out and corrected it and started stepping into his throws and he did and excellent job running the football. Overall, I thought he did great.”

Minden’s defense started the second half with an interception by Ventavious Williams to set up another Sneed touchdown run, this one from four yards out.

After a Fair Park prayer was answered on a 51-yard touchdown pass, Minden’s offense went back to work and drove the field with precision, mixing the run and pass well. The drive ended with a Tavarius Edwards touchdown from 10 yards out to make the score 28-8.

Needing another stop to put the game away, the Minden defense rose up once again.

Harris, already with a fumble recovery to his name, dropped into coverage and made an acrobatic interception. He immediately set his sights on the home sideline where he picked up a huge block from Zi’Kerrion Baker that sent the Minden crowd into a roar and Harris into the end zone.

“I read pass and dropped into my zone,” Harris said. “I caught it and was able to take it all the way. I had my eyes on the end zone.”

That made the score 35-8, where it would stay.

“I told our guys to dig their heels in tonight on defense,” Heard said. “I feel like they really stepped up to the challenge. Our whole team did, and I feel like we’re better right now than we’ve been at any point since I’ve been here.”

The Crimson Tide sit right outside the top 10 of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 4A rankings, and if they keep playing like this it will be hard to keep them out.

“I haven’t seen everyone else play,” Heard said. “But I’d have to imagine we’re one of the top 10 teams. I believe in our team and if you want to be the best you have to believe, so yes I think we are.”

Rivette finished with 137 yards passing and one touchdown, while Sneed led the team in rushing with 94 yards and a pair of scores on just four carries. Tavarius Edwards caught six passes for 70 yards and a score, while Sneed added four catches for 60 yards. Rivette added 51 yards rushing, Rogers added 54 and Kolby Jackson contributed 10 yards.

Ethan Culp and Baker each had a sack, while Williams had an interception. Harris was the defensive star of the game with a fumble recovery and a pick six.

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