Last Friday marked the beginning of the toughest stretch of the Destrehan Wildcats' schedule as they fell to the Lutcher Bulldogs, the No. 5 ranked team in Class 4A, by a score of 27-8.
|Sophomore running back Lou Donovan Wells drags a Lutcher defender with him in his teamís 27-8 loss last week.
The next few weeks are not any easier as the Wildcats take on three of the top 10 teams in Class 5A: No.3 Dutchtown, No.8 Hahnville and No.9 East St. John. Those three teams are a combined 13-1 on the season.
But Destrehan Head Coach Chris Stroud thinks that the Wildcats' biggest opponent thus far has been themselves.
"Our defense has put us in a position to win games," he said. "But we've just been beating ourselves with turnovers and mistakes."
That defense played well again last Friday, despite tough field position, allowing only three touchdowns to a very potent Lutcher offense.
"We told our defense that Lutcher would be a big challenge for them and they responded," Stroud said.
But two turnovers that turned into points for the Bulldogs were too much for the struggling but improving Destrehan offense to come back from.
"The fumble on the kickoff that was returned for a touchdown was what got us," said Stroud. "Without that, it's a one touchdown game at that point."
Stroud was pleased that the offense moved the ball well against a good Lutcher defense, but he sees a need for improvement in the red zone.
Another bright spot in the game for Destrehan was the continued improved play of sophomore quarterback Dillan Dent, who was thrust into the starting role two weeks ago due to a suspension to starter Taylor Dunn. The Wildcat offense is a changed animal because of the move.
"Dillan still has trouble on throws, but he brings strong leadership and his running ability into the game," said Stroud. "He'll never be a drop-back passer, but with his speed there are things we couldn't do before that we're putting into the offense."
This week, the entire team will be challenged as the district schedule begins and the 5-0 Dutchtown Griffins come to Wildcat Stadium.
"Dutchtown is a 5-0 team and they are very good," Stroud said. "Their defense is always tough and they have a great running back and offensive line."
In the first week of the season, Dutchtown defeated Lutcher 28-14 giving the Bulldogs their only loss of the year.†Running back Effrem Reed is the heart of the Griffin offense as one of the top running backs in the state. But Stroud is confident in his defense's ability to once again rise to the challenge.
"Our defense will give us a shot to win this game," Stroud said. "We just have to make sure we don't beat ourselves again with turnovers."
The Wildcat defense will have to make its stand early as the Griffins have jumped out to large early leads in most of their games, forcing their opponents to play catch-up. Keeping the score low will be the easiest route to victory for the Wildcats.
The two teams will face off in Destrehan at 7 p.m. on Friday.