Homecoming brings longtime rival to face Destrehan

October 05 at 3:31 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Destrehan's John Emery
Destrehan's John Emery
While Destrehan vs. Hahnville is the marquee rivalry among River Parishes schools, Destrehan and East St. John have cultivated another strong series over the years that has often showcased exactly what football in the River Region is all about.

Destrehan (3-2, 1-1) can overwhelm a vast majority of teams in the state from an athletic standpoint, but that’s an area East St. John rarely lacks in. It’s also not a game where either side is likely to take the other lightly, and that’s led to some classic encounters.

Last season, an undefeated Destrehan squad traveled to Reserve in Week 6 to face off with ESJ, who threatened to end DHS’ unbeaten run by jumping ahead early, eventually taking a 20-13 lead into halftime. But Destrehan clamped down from there to score 26 unanswered points in the second half en route to a 39-20 victory.

So as East St. John visits Destrehan for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday, one might expect to see some fireworks again in a District 7-5A matchup.

“It’s always a good rivalry,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “Our kids know each other. Our schools are in close proximity … they came out last year and gave it to us early. We were able to come back and get it done. It should be a tough game this Friday.”

East St. John (3-2, 2-0) has bounced back from a 29-0 Week 3 loss to McDonogh No. 35 with back to back decisive district victories, beating Central Lafourche 35-13 and H.L. Bourgeois 34-13.

Receivers Javon Antonio and Cameron Grant can both generate big plays in a hurry off the arm of quarterback Dasmain Crosby, who can hurt a defense with both his arm and his legs. Shelvin Keller paces ESJ on the ground.

Last week, Crosby passed for 175 and two touchdowns and rushed for 145 yards and another touchdown to key the win over H.L. Bourgeois. He connected with Antonio and Grant for his passing scores.

“They’ve got a lot to play for and plenty of weapons on offense,” Robicheaux said. “They line up in multiple formations and make you prepare for a lot of different things. They’re scoring points, then on defense they’re stopping people, too.”

He said containing Crosby will be the top priority on defense.

“He makes them go,” Robicheaux said. “He keeps the ball on the move and he can hurt you multiple ways. You hope to contain him (with the front seven) and from there, our secondary has to make plays.”

The East St. John defense is a speedy unit, one that Robicheaux notes has made several key plays in each of ESJ’s wins this season.

“They’ve won three games on the back of that defense,” Robicheaux said. “When you look at their roster, you see names like (De’andrea) Pittman and (Jarius) Monroe at linebacker and safety, so you know they’re pretty good. Those are names that have been very familiar ones around the East St. John program. Their defense is extremely fast and they get to the ball. Hopefully we can counteract their speed with misdirection.”

Aside from Destrehan’s opponent, there’s another concern of Robicheaux’s he says his team must overcome: Homecoming, which this week represents at Destrehan.

“You have to put Homecoming somewhere, and here it is,” Robicheaux said. “There are so many distractions. Hopefully, the kids focus on what’s important and get the job done.”

DESTREHAN 24, THIBODAUX 6 — For the second time this season, Destrehan needed to put together a bounce-back performance following a loss, and for the second time this season, that’s exactly what the Wildcats did.

This time, it was a suffocating defensive effort that equated to a victory for the Wildcats, who pitched a shutout through three and a half quarters at Thibodaux before eventually earning a 24-6 win in District 7-5A action.

“Our defense was on field most of night,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “Their quarterback (Damarcus Mitchell), he’s a load at 6’3, 240 pounds of solid muscle. But our kids were to hit him a little bit and get him worn out in the second half.  Our pass rush was there all night and they kept coming at him.”

After an early field goal, Destrehan took a 10-0 lead on a touchdown run by John Emery that was set up by a J.R. Blood to C.B. Anderson connection. Macon Clark came through on defense in the third quarter when the senior safety intercepted a Mitchell pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown to open things up for DHS (3-2, 1-1).

“He made a big play when we needed it,” Robicheaux said.  “It’s a 10-0 ballgame in the third quarter and he made a real big play ... he jumped on an out route and took it back for the score, a great play by him to get it done. It gave us some breathing room.”

Destrehan went up 24-0 after a long Emery run set up Kyle Edwards to punch it in and make it 24-0.

Robicheaux said his players’ response in a traditionally tough road environment at Thibodaux (1-4, 1-1) coming off of an emotional loss to Hahnville was encouraging.

“Thibodaux’s lost some close games, but they’re a big, physical team that’s played a lot of strong competition,” Robicheaux said. “Our kids hung in there, played real well and got it done tonight.”

View other articles written Ryan Arena

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