Destrehan one win away from the Superdome
|Photo by Jonathan Menard|
PRACTICE TIME. Destrehan’s varsity and JV squads hit the practice field to get ready for their semifinal contest against Westgate.
The Wildcats have poured on the points in each of their first three playoff games while performing just as well on defense. That championship caliber combination has led the team to outscore their opponents 120-33. In fact, only 12 of those points have come against Destrehan's first string defensive unit.
The team couldn't be playing any better, and Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux knows that they couldn't be doing it at a better time.
"We're playing well defensively, and offensively we are scoring points," he said. "If you ever get on a roll, you hope that it's in the playoffs, so hopefully that will continue."
Though Destrehan walked all over West Jefferson for their first playoff win, their roll officially began in the first half of the Carencro contest. In that game, the Wildcats struck for 35 quick points to avenge their last loss to the Bears and looked good doing it. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson and receiver Tim Molton showed why many LSU fans are excited to have the duo in purple and gold for the next four years by connecting on two early touchdowns to set the tone for the 42-14 beat down.
And while the offense jump started the Wildcats to the win in that contest, it was the defense that set the stage for their quarterfinal win over St. Paul.
Chris Richard blocked two punts in the first half, returning one for a touchdown and beginning a string of 28 second quarter points by the Wildcats. Jerico Nelson scored three of those touchdowns from the ground.
Destrehan cruised from there.
"I thought we had another good performance," Robicheaux said. "We started a little slow in the first quarter, but we kind of got on a roll in the second quarter and good things happened.
"We got into the flow of the game and we are excited that we played real good both offensively and defensively, something we have done for the last two games."
With that quarterfinal win, the Wildcats are only one more victory away from a date in the dome. However, to get there, they will have to beat Cinderella team Westgate, for whom the clock has failed to strike midnight so far.
Westgate barely made it into the playoffs after a regular season in which they finished 5-5. But tough losses to Carencro, Barbe and Sulphur were enough to hand the Tigers a 28th seed.
The Tigers then stunned No. 5 seed Sulphur 14-9, knocked off 21-seeded Barbe 30-28, then upended No. 20 Dutchtown 32-21.
"The bottom line is who is playing well at that time," Robicheaux said. "It's all who you play and who's playing well now. It doesn't matter how many losses you have, Westgate was 5-5 and now their playing in the semis."
Westgate has been led during that stretch by an impressive defense, one which set up a touchdown in their quarterfinal win over Dutchtown while managing to shut down that team's vaulted running game. However, Westgate is more than just a defensive powerhouse.
"They have a good quarterback, a real good running back and a receiver who can catch the ball," Robicheaux said. "They are playing real well on defense and they have a lot of athletes that are going to give us problems.
"Like I said, they were a team that didn't play well early but who now can go all the way."
And the road to the Superdome will lead through Westgate's back yard.
"I'm not worried about having to travel because our kids are pretty good about that kind of stuff," Robicheaux said. "I just think they are doing a good job keeping their focus."
Don't expect that focus to go anywhere soon. The Wildcats have managed to keep their cool in both close contests and big wins. And with emotions running high over at Westgate, Destrehan will have to rise to the challenge once again.
"This is two good teams and there will be a lot of good athletes on the field," Robicheaux said. "They are playing well right now and we are too, so it should be a good game."
Herald-Guide Editor Jonathan Menard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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