STONEWALL, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — No. 1 North Desoto showed off their explosive offensive to defeat No. 17 Deridder 63-21 in the second round of the LHSAA Division II Non-Select Playoffs.

The Griffins got things started immediately. On the opening kickoff Cole Cory hit the gas pedal for a 75-yard kickoff return. That set up a two-yard North Desoto touchdown to give them an early lead.

“Well anytime the ball is in Cole Cory’s hands,” explained North Desoto head coach Dennis Dunn. “You’ve got a chance to do something special. He started the game on a special note tonight.”

“Just get me the ball,” Cory said. “That’s always been my mentality going if we’re getting the ball first. I want to set the tone and I want to start off with a big score. Doing that tonight was the biggest feeling in the world.”

The next kickoff North Desoto’s Lake Bates recovers the ball which set up another touchdown. The Griffins managed to lock in an early 14-0 lead with more than 11 minutes left in the first quarter.

“We knew we were going to have to start fast,” explained starting quarterback Luke Delafield. “Cole Cory returned the opening kickoff to the two-yard line. We scored the next play. The next drive we recovered a kickoff on the fifteen and then scored the following play. We jumped up 14 to nothing with 11 minutes left in the first quarter.”

Several North Desoto athletes stepped up as playmakers against the Dragons.

Running back Trysten Hopper entered the game with 942 rushing yards on the season. The senior broke 1,000 rushing yards after his performance against Deridder.

“It feels great,” Hopper said. “It was one of my goals at the beginning of the season. It just feels really good to achieve it today. We go out there and we process every snap. Our linemen are amazing. That’s what makes our job easy.”

The Griffins’ defense held Deridder to only seven points in the first half and 21 throughout the entire game.

North Desoto (10-1, 7-0) advances to the quarterfinals. The Griffins will face the Iowa Yellowjackets (9-3, 6-0) on Saturday, November 25.