Three-team scrimmage will help DHS coaches evaluate new starters
Destrehan’s Will Sirmon, who will be a junior next season, is one of three quarterbacks vying to fill the void left by the graduation of Donovan Isom.
Destrehan’s season came to an end last year in the semifinals with a 35-7 loss to No. 1 Acadiana, who went on to win the state title. Though the season didn’t end the way Destrehan wanted, the team still won District 7-5A and finished with an overall record of 12-2.
Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux will get his first in-depth look at his new squad this Friday when the Wildcats host both Woodlawn High School and Tara High School for a three-team scrimmage. So far, Robicheaux likes what he has seen out of his squad during spring practices.
“Spring is going well. It’s always an evaluation tool for us and we have a lot of guys that are doing a good job. We’ve also had a few surprises, so everything is going good,” he said.
One of the most pressing issues for Robicheaux is finding out who will replace former star quarterback Donovan Isom.
Isom was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the school’s history, and threw for 2,653 yards and 33 touchdowns last season. In 14 games, Isom threw only two interceptions.
“Right now we have a big battle going at the quarterback position, which we are excited about,” Robicheaux said. “Will Sirmon (sophomore) and Marquise Darensbourg (freshman) have both played really well, and we have a freshman, Cohen Granier, who has also looked very good.”
Another area of concern for Destrehan is at linebacker.
Seniors RaeJuan Marbley and Malcolm Darensbourg anchored the unit last year, but both players will graduate this week.
Marbley finished his senior season with 137 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and a sack. Darensbourg had 82 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries.
“Linebacker is another position we are looking at because we lost Malcolm and RaeJuan, who had 80 tackles and 130 tackles,” Robicheaux said. “We have some guys that have stepped up and they are looking very good right now.”
While the Wildcats lost some talented players, they return plenty of star power this season.
Running back Will Matthews, who rushed for 1,384 yards and scored 21 touchdowns last year, will be one of Louisiana’s top running backs during his senior season. Upcoming senior Kirk Merritt has also gained plenty of notice in recent months due to his outstanding performances at national camps. Merritt finished the 2013 season with 23 catches for 598 yards while rushing for 78 yards on only four carries.
The Wildcats return all five of their top receivers from last year. Highlighting the group is upcoming senior Alfred Smith. Smith finished the 2013 season with 54 catches for 872 yards. Defensive tackle Glen Logan, who will be a junior next season and has already received scholarship offers from top college programs such as LSU, Nebraska and Oklahoma, will lead the defense.
Logan recorded 66 tackles last season, including 13 tackles for loss.
Fans will get their first glimpse at next year’s Destrehan squad on Friday at 6 p.m. Destrehan, Woodlawn and Tara will battle against each other in 7-on-7 games while each team will also have full contact scrimmages against the other.
“I’m anxious to see (my players) go against other people. They have been battling against each other, so you want to see how they react against people who aren’t their teammates,” Robicheaux said. “Sometimes you find diamonds in the rough when the lights go on.”
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While it’s just week four of the prep football season, Destrehan is likely to have a Superdome-in-December type of atmosphere Friday night as it hosts cross-parish rival Hahnville.