After a heartbreaking loss to Helen Cox, the Destrehan Wildcats had something to prove against Thibodaux.
|Wildcat sophomore speedster Rickey Jefferson flies downfield on his 32-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Thibodaux. Destrehan shocked many by knocking off the Tigers 27-12.
They made quite a statement.
The Wildcats used a solid running game and another impressive defensive effort to knock off the seventh-ranked Tigers 27-12.
"We played well," Destrehan head coach Chris Stroud said.†"We proved that we are a good football team that is capable of beating other good football teams."
While most of Destrehanís success came on the ground, they did open up the offense, with quarterback Taylor Dunn connecting on several short and intermediate passes to set up the run.
In fact, the Wildcats' first score came on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Dunn to Rickey Jefferson with 6:37 left in the first quarter.
After a Freddie Jackson fumble recovery, Destrehan marched down the field with Dunn connecting with De'Ante Armstrong for an 18-yard pass that set up a five-yard touchdown run by Kevin Smith to put the Wildcats on top 14-0 with 1:13 left in the half.
Thibodaux tried to get back into the game, but the Wildcats put them away in the fourth.
Junior running back Mark Trudeaux, who was filling in for an injured Smith, punched the ball in to give the Wildcats a 21-12 lead. Orelyn Chopin then put the finishing touches on the victory by intercepting a Trent Granier pass near midfield and bringing the ball all the way to the endzone for the final score.
As opposed to their opening-season loss to Helen Cox, the Wildcats were able to run the ball effectively, which changed the dynamic of their offense.
"The biggest reason we were able to run the ball was because the offensive line blocked well in both the passing and running games," Stroud said. "The other reason is that Mark Trudeaux stepped his game up by rushing for almost 80 yards after Kevin Smith was injured."
While the offense appears to be getting back on track, the defense has played well in both of Destrehan's first two games. Stroud attributes that success to his teamís overall speed.
"We have a lot of quick kids that like contact and like making tackles," he said. "Even though we are still making mistakes, the defense has looked very good."
The Wildcat defense will need to play even better this Friday when they host Edna Karr.
Though the Cougars opened up the season with a 28-12 loss to St. Paul's, they quickly rebounded by dominating Higgins 28-7. Karr quarterback Tollette George connected on 22 of his 30 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
Slowing down George will be the Wildcats' top priority.
"We are going to have to get pressure on the quarterback, and that's been a problem for us so far," Stroud said. "(George) is very quick and we are going to have to contain him."
The Destrehan offense will also be tested with they take the field against a Cougar unit that Stroud said reminds him a lot of his team.
"They are really physical and run to the ball well," he said. "They are actually a lot like us. Our offensive line is going to have to step up."
In fact, Stroud said the winner of the game will be whoever plays better in the trenches.
"It's going to come down to which team can control the line of scrimmage," he said. "Our offensive line is going to be challenged by their defensive front and our defensive front is going to be a challenge for their offensive line."