The Leesville defense was fast and physical up front, leading the Wampus Cats to the win, keeping the Hooper Trophy in Leesville.

Leesville held DeRidder to 75 total yards, including -4 rushing yards, in its 27-0 victory Friday night.

DeRidder had just five first downs and were 0-for-10 on third downs.

"The kids just played hard," Leesville coach Robert Causey said. "I don't think we did anything differently than we had done in the other weeks. We had to play four quarters because of what they do. DeRidder is a very talented football team, so we had to play four quarters of football.

"We're quick up front. We do some things to cover up for our weaknesses. We have strengths and weaknesses too."

The Wampus Cats racked up 432 yards of offense with 236 coming through the air and 196 on the ground.

"They were the better team tonight, and did a better job of playing football tonight than we did," DeRidder head coach Brad Parmley said.

"They just played better than us. They didn't do anything special. They just played better football."

Dragon quarterback Lane Armer was picked off by Leesville corner McKenzie Jackson on their second possession, setting up a 24-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Vargas to running back Andrew Croker as time expired in the first quarter.

Croker ran for 83 yards on 17 carries and caught 9 passes for 84 yards.

"I just told (Croker) to go play and have fun and don't do anything that you're not capable of doing," Causey said. "Sometimes kids press, but he stayed inside his skill set and played hard. All of them did. Every kid across that white line gave the best effort. That was the best kickoff coverage we've had all year, and we made every extra point and field goal."

With 6 minutes, 34 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Leesville sophomore running back Dante Gallashaw ran it in from 11 yards out to make it 14-0. The Wampus Cats added a field goal from Xavier Reyes to make 17-0 headed into halftime.

Gallashaw finished with 88 yards on 13 carries.

DeRidder opened up the second half with two three-and-outs, and Reyes added another field goal to take a 20-0 lead.

At the 4:43 mark in the fourth quarter, Vargas executed a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the game's final score.

Vargas was 16-for-30 through the air for 236 yards and a touchdown.

"I put all my trust in Chris," Croker said. "We have a great team and great athletes. I believe Chris plays with a chip on his shoulder because people say he's too small and he likes to shut the doubters up."

Torrin Bouvia led DeRidder with 21 rushing yards, and Dre Bagley had 56 receiving yards on 3 catches.

Causey hopes playing in the high intensity, rivalry game will benefit his guys come playoff time.

"You try to teach the kids that the season means more than just two games," Causey said. "But it does mean something. You always have to have a rival, because that's a playoff atmosphere. That's a playoff game."

With the win, the Hooper Trophy belongs in the Leesville trophy case for another year.

"It's a great feeling," Croker said. "It's bragging rights for another year, then it starts over."