With their 38-14 victory over East St. John on Friday, Destrehan not only proved that they are the best team in District 7-5A, but showed why many believe they are the best team in the state.
The Wildcats captured the district title by using a dominant defense, opportune offense and special teams to slowly break down ESJ. The Destrehan offense got in a groove in the second quarter, but actually struggled throughout the first quarter and didn’t record a first down until the final seconds. But with the offense needing time to get going, the Wildcat defense stepped up to provide a spark.
With East St. John driving into Destrehan territory, Wildcat linebacker RaeJuan Marbley scooped up a fumble and sprinted down the sideline to the ESJ 10-yard line.
On the next play, Wildcat quarterback Donovan Isom bulldozed his way up the middle to put Destrehan up 7-0.
Destrehan extended their lead in the second after a 71-yard pass from Isom to Kirk Merritt brought the ball to the ESJ 13-yard line. However, the Wildcats were only able to pick up a yard in the next three plays and Cameron Walsh kicked a 29-yard field goal to give Destrehan a 10-0 lead.
East St. John finally got on the board during the next series after quarterback Xavier Lewis connected with Kyle Patterson for a 62-yard gain. Lewis and Patterson hooked up again for an 18-yard score to bring ESJ within three.
That was as close as the home Wildcats would get.
With less than three minutes left until the break, Isom executed the Destrehan offense to perfection. He found sophomore receiver John Williams for a 36-yard gain and then threw a 26-yard strike to Merritt to put Destrehan up 17-7.
In the third, the Destrehan defense once again helped set up a score. With East St. John driving into Wildcat territory, Korian Reynaud picked off Williams to end the threat. When Destrehan took over, Isom found Williams, who made a spectacular catch on the sidelines, and then handed the ball off to running back Will Matthews, who picked up a first down on a tough run up the middle.
A 17-yard run by Isom brought the ball to the ESJ one-yard line, and the big quarterback dove up the middle for the score to give his team a 24-7 lead.
East St. John refused to go down without a fight and used a steady dose of Lewis on their next drive, capped by a 45-yard run, to cut into the Destrehan advantage, 24-14.
In the fourth, the Wildcats officially put the game away. Alfred Smith had a dazzling 68-yard punt return for a score and then Matthews broke free for a 25-yard touchdown to cap the 38-14 win.