Stroud: Key to victory is which team can establish, or stop run

Eric LeBlanc
October 14, 2010 at 12:51 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Destrehan quarterback Dillan Dent fights for extra yards during his teamís 44-10 loss to Dutchtown last week. Dent is extremely quick and difficult to bring down for opposing linemen.
Eric LeBlanc
Destrehan quarterback Dillan Dent fights for extra yards during his teamís 44-10 loss to Dutchtown last week. Dent is extremely quick and difficult to bring down for opposing linemen.
The one-two punch of running back Effrem Reed and quarterback Leon Blouin was just too much for Destrehan to handle last Friday night as the Wildcats fell 44-10 to the Dutchtown Griffins. The loss took the Wildcats down to 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in district play.

The game was the second in a string of four games against top 10 ranked teams in the state. Dutchtown maintained its No. 3 ranking in the LSWA Poll after the victory.

Reed and Blouin were nearly an unstoppable force on the ground, rushing for a combined 204 yards and three touchdowns. The Griffin defense was stout as well, limiting the Wildcats to just 219 total yards of offense.

Destrehan was able to move the ball well on its first few possessions, which ultimately led to a 30-yard field goal from kicker Daniel Cimino. But, the offense stalled in the second and third quarters before finally breaking through for a late fourth quarter touchdown run by Mark Trudeaux.

Trudeaux led the team on the ground with 59 yards on 15 carries while Lou Donovan Wells had 9 carries for 32 yards. But the spotlight was on linebacker Tarquin Kenner who came in to carry the ball three times in third or fourth down situations and converted all three into first downs. One was even a fake punt on a fourth down where he received a direct snap. Destrehan Head Coach Chris Stroud is proud of the defender's prowess on offense.

"TQ has done a great job spot playing on offense," he said. "He is a load to tackle, but also does a great job lead blocking. However, he is the leader on defense, so we only give him 10 minutes of practice time a day on offense so he can continue to get his defensive reads and reps."

The Wildcats featured a new wrinkle in their offense in the first quarter as the team rotated quarterbacks Dillan Dent and Donovan Isom for the first few series before Dent settled in for the majority of the game. Dent had suffered a concussion in last week's game and was limited in practice during the week. Both struggled at times, but Stroud was still pleased with their effort.

"Our two young quarterbacks, as talented as they are physically, were not ready mentally," said Stroud. "I thought they handled what we asked them to do well. Dillan, although he didn't get the physical reps of passing [during the week], was mentally prepared to give us a bigger playbook."

This week, Destrehan will be challenged again as they travel across the river to face the No. 7 Hahnville Tigers. Coach Stroud believes the running game is the key to who will emerge victorious.

"The key to winning the battle on the river is who can establish the run, or stop the run," said Stroud.

The Tigers have had a more consistent running game this year with Ahmad White being the driving force behind several of Hahnville's victories. The Wildcats' running game has been explosive at times with Rickey Jefferson breaking off long touchdown runs while Mark Trudeaux and Lou Donovan Wells have filled in well for the injured Kevin Smith.

The Tigers are coming off of a close 7-3 victory over East Ascension, and are 4-1 on the season. But records go out of the window sometimes in rivalry games, and Stroud has his team focused. He has told his team each week to focus on the game at hand and don't worry about the past or what lies down the road.

But when asked if they are treating this like any other game or are they using Hahnville as a motivational tool, Stroud responded, "We always tell our guys each week to focus on the game we are playing, but this game is Hahnville so the answer is both."

This rivalry is one of the best in the state, and the past few years have found the two teams at their best, battling for more than just bragging rights with district titles and state championships hanging in the balance. But Coach Stroud keeps the game in perspective.

"The Destrehan/Hahnville rivalry is recognized by the National Rivalry Series as one of the top rivalries in the country," said Stroud. "It's not about two teams, but about two schools in the St. Charles community. We work together.

We play on rec. league all-star teams together, and then that one Friday a year we play for bragging rights. After the game is over, we become a community again and go to work together again. But the victor just smiles and brags for one whole year. It is special to be a part of."

No matter what the outcome, Tiger Stadium will be packed this Friday night for the biggest yearly event in St. Charles Parish.

View other articles written Eric LeBlanc

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