Even though the Destrehan offense struggled to stay in sync Friday night, the Wildcats still had enough firepower to ease into the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state playoffs with a 34-7 victory over Ruston.
Ruston’s defensive line managed to get pressure on Destrehan quarterback Donovan Isom throughout the night. In fact, the Wildcats were unable to get a first down on their first three series of the game, a rarity for their high-powered offense.
But with less than five minutes remaining in the first quarter, Destrehan made their move.
The drive began with a huge 12-yard gain by Donovan Isom on third down and was followed by a 15-yard carry by Will Matthews. Isom connected with Alfred Smith for 24 yards, and found sophomore John Williams open in the end zone for a 20-yard score.
Destrehan extended their lead to 10-0 in the second quarter after a 32-yard field goal by Cameron Walsh, but the Wildcats were unable to strike again before the half.
However, the Wildcats seemed energized in the third. On their first play of the quarter, Kirk Merritt burned down the left sideline and rode it for a 69-yard score to put Destrehan up 17-0.
Ruston followed with a nice drive, advancing all the way to the Destrehan 24-yard line, but the drive came to a halt when Brandon Scott intercepted a pass from Ruston quarterback Ben LeBlanc at the 1-yard line.
The interception ended up being a positive play for the Bearcats though, as Isom fumbled at the goal line and the ball was recovered by Ruston for their only score of the game.
The Wildcats responded to that score with two impressive runs by Merritt and Matthews to advance down the field to the Bearcat 18. Penalties hampered the drive, but Walsh nailed a 35-yard field goal to put Destrehan up 20-7.
With the Wildcat defense holding firm, Destrehan was able to add two scores in the fourth, including a dazzling 29-yard run by Matthews, that put the game away.
Destrehan will travel to Dutchtown in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 29.
Earlier this year, the Wildcats beat Dutchtown 45-14 on the road.