Despite what was arguably their best offensive performance of the season, the Destrehan Wildcats were shutout for the fist time all year in a 20-0 loss to East St. John.
|Jonathan Menard/Herald Guide
|Destrehan running back Kevin Smith plows over an East St. John defender during his team’s 20-0 loss last week.
The loss was Destrehan's sixth in a row and the Wildcats must clear up their issues in the red zone if they hope to record their first district win of the season this Friday against Bonnabel.
Destrehan picked up 19 first downs and had more than 300 yards of offense against East St. John last week, but it didn't matter because of breakdowns in special teams.
Deszman Broussard got things started for ESJ by returning the opening kick off 99 yards for a score. The visiting Wildcats would miss the extra point, but quickly had a 6-0 lead.
After the Wildcats failed to pick up a first down on their first possession, East St. John again made another huge special teams play. This time it was Xavier Lewis who fielded the punt and returned it 52 yards to the Destrehan 3-yard line. Though ESJ was penalized five yards for a false start, quarterback Darion Monroe found Rashad Green open in the end zone a play later to put his squad up 12-0.
Destrehan got into ESJ territory for the first time midway through the first quarter, but sophomore quarterback Donovan Isom's pass was picked off at the East St. John 40.
Destrehan's defense would hold the visiting Wildcats and Destrehan got one more chance to get on the board a few minutes later.
However, Daniel Cimino's 50-yard field goal attempt fell short with 52 seconds left until the second quarter.
East St. John scored their final touchdown early in the second on a 16-yard run by Monroe. Destrehan had a chance to get on the board with only seconds remaining before the half, but Isom's pass was intercepted in the end zone.
"Our young QB had a few bad reads and a couple of bad throws, but he is steadily improving," Destrehan head coach Chris Stroud said. "Our offensive line and wide receivers need to get better at blocking consistently. There were too many missed blocks to give us no gains or minus yardage on plays that are there on film with one more block."
Destrehan's defense only allowed two scores to East St. John's high-powered offense, one of which was set up by the long punt return. Stroud said his unit left it all on the field.
"Another great effort and pure guts leaving it all out on the field against a very talented East St. John team led by quarterback Darion Monroe," Stroud said. "We did not play perfect defense, but our hustle, pursuit and effort to the ball made the difference."
This Friday, either Bonnabel or Destrehan will walk away with their first district win of the season. The Bruins are 4-3 on the year, but have lost to Hahnville, Higgins and John Ehret in district play.
They are led by quarterback Ryan Evans, an athlete who can break a big play at any time.
"He is similar to athletes we've seen in the last three weeks…there are just so many great athletes in our district," Stroud said. "Their running backs are downhill runners who are low to the ground and tough to tackle one-on-one."
Stroud said his defense needs to continue to get off blocks and tackle well.
"Our defensive line must dominate their offensive line," he said.
On defense, Stroud said that the Bruins are loaded with 11 fast, physical players who like to hit and run to the ball.
"We will have to establish a running game, maintain blocks and Donovan must have a good night throwing the football," Stroud said.
Despite the fact that the Wildcats have lost six-straight games, Stroud said his players are resilient and used last week's East St. John game to illustrate that fact.
"We battled the No. 4 team in the state," he said. "Destrehan will not quit. That will to win that Coach Lombardi talked about, well our kids have it."