Wildcats clash with St. Charles Catholic in River Region battle


September 06 at 9:59 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Destrehan cornerback Dontrell Smith after recovering a Slidell fumble.
Destrehan cornerback Dontrell Smith after recovering a Slidell fumble.
It's a showdown of River Parish top contenders as Destrehan travels to face St. Charles Catholic Friday night in LaPlace.

The two teams have combined to win three state championships over the past decade, with Destrehan banking back-to-back Class 5A titles in 2007 and 2008 and St. Charles Catholic earning the Class 3A crown in 2011.

It will be the first meeting between Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux and St. Charles Catholic head coach Frank Monica, architects of two of the state’s elite programs.

“They’re very, very well-coached,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “They’re always in the right place. They play extremely hard and have good athletes. Frankie’s always got them prepared and they do a tremendous job coaching … it’s a combination of good coaches, guys playing hard with good athleticism. There’s a reason they’re ranked No. 3 in 3A and that they’re always at the top.”

One subplot to Friday’s game will be the health of St. Charles quarterback Lloyd Nash, the team’s top player who was forced from last week’s Comets win at Chalmette with an injury. It was reported following the game Nash may have to miss time to heal an ailing shoulder, but Robicheaux said the Wildcats will prepare as if Nash is going to be ready to go.

“There’s the talk he won’t play, but we have to prepare for the possibility he does,” Robicheaux said. “We won’t know for sure, so we’ll get ready.”

The loss of Nash marred what was otherwise a banner night for the Comets, who shut Chalmette out in a dominant 29-0 victory. It was Monica’s 250th career victory. Nash rushed for two scores before being lifted for backup Sutton Bourgeois.

Narquez Jones starred in that game, both out of the backfield as running back and as the quarterback in the team’s “Comet” formation, a variation of the Wildcat. He rushed for 165 yards on the night.

“They do a really good job controlling the football,” Robicheaux said. “They run it and use the short passing game, and they’ll keep it away from you if you can’t stop it. It’s a formula that wins a lot of football games.

“It’s up to us, then, to win up front at the line of scrimmage. We have to control the line, because the team that can do that will probably be the team that wins the game.”

St. Charles, which finished as Division III runner-up last season, gets the ball to playmakers Jones, Phillip Tran and Joseph Chiarella in the backfield. Taylor Miller is among the top receivers.

Defensively, Mason Narcisse anchors the Comet line. Linebacker Jordan Jensen and cornerback Bryce Authement are also playmakers Robicheaux noted were on his radar.

Last week, Destrehan scored four unanswered touchdowns to open play at Wildcat Stadium, setting the tone in a 42-18 victory over visiting Slidell.

John Emery scored three touchdowns, all in the first half, to lead Destrehan to a win in the season’s opening week. Emery scored rushing touchdowns of 70 and 2 yards in length on the ground and hauled in a 55-yard reception for a touchdown. He finished the night with 154 yards on the ground and more than 200 yards from scrimmage.

“We ran the ball real well,” Robicheaux said. “John had some big carries. Kyle Edwards had a great night. He’s gonna be special. He’s a little sophomore that runs the ball extremely hard. They give us a strong 1-2 punch, and way our offensive line played, it gives us a great chance to produce on offense.”

A big special teams play gave Destrehan an opening to take a three score lead when Macon Clark blocked a punt, setting the Wildcats up inside Slidell’s 5 yard line. Emery punched in in from two yards out to make it 21-0.

For Clark, it continued a strong start to his senior season — the blocked punt came a week after he recorded an interception return for a touchdown in jamboree play against Lutcher.

“He’s gonna play way beyond Destrehan,” Robicheaux said. “He’s always around the ball. He had the pick last week … he makes big plays and that’s what great players do. We saw some new things on film and he executed and did a tremendous job. That was a big play for us to put us ahead by three scores.”

Destrehan made it 28-0 in the second quarter on a J.R. Blood screen pass to Emery that went for a 55-yard score.




View other articles written Ryan Arena

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