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St. Charles Herald-Guide's High School PLAYMAKERS
Destrehanís Nelson key to another Wildcat win
By Staff Report -   Oct 11, 2007

For the second week in a row, Destrehan's Jerico Nelson was able to make his opponent pay by continually bulldozing his way down the field, helping his team to yet another victory in the process.

This time though, the victory was a little sweeter considering that it came by way of a 31-24 double-overtime win over rival Hahnville.

"It was an important win because both teams were 5-0 and it was our first district game," Nelson said. "It was a total team effort. All together the team stepped up."

Though Destrehan eventually pulled out the win, Hahnville lead for almost the entire contest, forcing the Wildcats to play catch-up in the final quarter.

However, Nelson said his team is used to creeping up on the Tigers.

"Last year when we played them we were down and came back," Nelson said.

"At halftime, all the team was talking to the underclassmen and we told them to keep their head up because last year we were able to come back."

Destrehan eventually tied up the game in the final five seconds when Ryan Rome nailed a 17-yard field goal, sending his teammates, and the fans, into hysteria.

"It felt great," Nelson said. "There is not other feeling because you got the chance to be even again. When overtime came, it was 0-0.

"Heading into overtime, the coaches were telling us that we had another chance. We just needed to get the ball and get 10 yards."

Though both teams managed a score in the first overtime, Destrehan's offense struck first in the second overtime period.

The defense then kept Hahnville out of the end zone.

"That was my first overtime game and I knew we had to score because the defense would do their part," Nelson said.

"That was the best game I've ever played in."

Nelson finished the contest with 126 yards on 20 carries, while also scoring a pair of touchdowns.

-Jonathan Menard, Editor

Byrd leads powerful Hahnville air attack

Though Hahnville's Laron Byrd is now one of the most sought after recruits in the state, with offers from LSU, Miami, USC, Texas, and Florida State, he only began playing football five years ago.

"I haven't really been playing football that long," Byrd said.

"I started out playing my seventh grade year at Landry Middle School and everyone seems to think I've been playing since really young."

If you watched Byrd leap over the Destrehan secondary for 130 yards on nine catches, it's easy to understand why people come to that conclusion.

Catching those passes is the part of the sport Byrd loves the most. He also doesn't mine the adrenaline rush he gets from hearing the fans erupt into a roar.

But football is in Byrd's blood. Rashad Roussel, Darrius Reynard, LaRon Landry, and Kentrell Lockett are all family members who have gone through the school's program.

And while Byrd certainly enjoyed making those spectacular grabs against Destrehan, his most memorable moment in the sport came during his sophomore year.

"Something I don't think I'll ever forget is playing against East St. John and catching the game winning touchdown pass," Byrd said. "It was also my first varsity touchdown."

It was far from his last.

During the Tigers' recent game against Hahnville, Byrd sent the game into a second overtime by making a touchdown grab.

However, his team couldn't hold on in that second period, as they suffered a 31-24 defeat.

"I think we had the short end of the stick there at the end, but there's no point in saying they cheated now," Byrd said.

"Destrehan is a good team and they were able to execute most of their plays. It just goes to show, in the end, what Hahnville High is made of. Anyone that watched this game knows Hahnville played their hearts out."

-Nika Kleibert, Intern

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