Trailing by two scores and facing elimination, DeRidder came up with big plays late to advance to the second round.
The No. 18 Dragons scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to upset No. 15 Minden 14-13 Friday night on the road.
“It was a huge win,” DeRidder head coach Brad Parmley said. “I’m super proud of the boys and the fight they showed for four quarters. It’s just a super proud moment for me and for everyone involved with the team.”
Down 13-0 in the fourth quarter, DeRidder quarterback KJ Gooden got his team on the board with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Ashton Broussard with 10:51 to play.
The DeRidder defense did its part to give the offense a chance to take the lead, and with 2:13 left on the clock, Gooden ran for a 9-yard score to give DeRidder its first lead.
“We just kept throwing body blows,” Parmley said. “We missed some shots earlier in the ball game, but we didn’t lose our composure. We just kept throwing body blows and finally it paid off. I think our toughness showed up in the fourth quarter.”
The Dragon defense gave up just 245 yards against a Minden team that averaged over 26 points a game.
“Minden is a very quality team,” Parmley said. “We gave up some plays early, but we got better as the game went on. Our kids got some mojo working when we got the score in the fourth quarter, and we never looked back.”
Jalyn Thurman led DeRidder with 126 yards on 30 carries.
The Dragons will take on No. 2 Neville next week at home. The Tigers are coming off a 41-14 win over No. 31 South Lafourche.
“We’re going to enjoy this one first, then we’re going to prepare for the next opponent,” Parmley said. “I’m excited for the kids and the community. It’s going to be a big for us and for DeRidder to have a home playoff game. We’re expecting a great atmosphere.”