After two impressive wins, it's apparent that the Destrehan football team has put last year's 3-7 record behind them.
|A group of Wildcats, including linebacker Zach Agurcia (center) linebacker Malcolm Darensbourg (top left) and safety Sidney Barbay (top right), meet at a St. James ball carrier.
Last week, the Wildcats dominated St. James on both sides of the ball in their 45-22 win. Receiver Rickey Jefferson was the star on offense, scoring three touchdowns and racking up 178 yards on two catches and a run.
"It's unfair to Rickey because now we are almost expecting a great play every time he touches the football," Destrehan head coach Chris Stroud said. "He is so special with the ball in his hands."
Sophomore receiver Michael Smith was also impressive, scoring his first touchdown of the season on a 50-yard catch and run. Wildcat tailbacks Kevin Smith and Mark Trudeaux found the end zone as well.
"Our offensive coaching staff is working hard and our players are a year older with experience and physically older," Stroud said. "Coach Daniel Luquet and coach Ryan Fournier are doing a great job as pass and run game coordinators, but coach Wayne Sentilles has our running backs playing well."
Stroud added that the biggest piece of the puzzle was adding wide receiver coach Allen Morton.
"We are blessed with some great talent and those guys made a commitment to our offseason and summer program," Stroud said. "We are strong and fast."
Destrehan's loaded defense was supposed to be special this season, and so far they haven't disappointed. Against St. James, the Wildcat starters had a shutout.
"Hats off again to defensive coordinator Tim Taffi and the defensive staff," Stroud said. "We gave up points on a pick six interception by the offense and junior varsity gave up two scores late."
Though the Destrehan defense has played well so far, Stroud does see room for improvement.
"Pass rush and containment still needs to get better and we need consistent play and technique by our outside linebackers," he said.
Those areas will be important on Friday night when the Wildcats face their biggest test of the season. Edna Karr began the season as the top-ranked team in Class 4A, but has gone 0-2 so far. Of course that has a lot to do with their competition.
Karr opened the season with a 38-6 loss to St. Paul's, who is the No. 1 ranked team in Class 5A. They followed that loss with a 36-6 defeat to Arlington-Bowie, one of the top teams in Texas.
The Cougars, who advanced to the state championship game last season before falling to Franklinton in overtime, lost star quarterback Tollette George to graduation. But they return talent all over the field, including LSU offensive line commitment Derek Edinburgh (6'8, 320) and receivers Jarrell Bennett and Rasheed Davis.
"They use their passing game to set up the run…they have a great group of experienced wide receivers and a big O-line," Stroud said. "If their quarterback play gets better you are in for a long night."
Karr senior quarterback Jazmen Riley has struggled this season. Against Arlington-Bowie, he finished 8-for-22 for 124 yards but threw three interceptions.
Defensively, Karr is led by a line that has three returning starters in end Darrian Dyson and tackles Leonard Washington and Titus Charles.
"Their defense reminds me of ours in the fact that their strength is in the front seven," Stroud said. "The exception is that all four of their defensive lineman look like 6'3, 325-pound Marrick Charles. They are big and fast."
But Stroud said the outcome of the game will be based on his defense's ability to get pressure on Karr's quarterback.
"If our defense can put pressure on their quarterback and contain him and force him to rush and make poor throws and decisions, we should be fine," he said.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.