Destrehanís best football season in years came to an end on Friday with a 35-7 loss to No. 1 Acadiana.
While a loss in the Class 5A semifinals was tough to take for coaches, players and fans, it sets a solid foundation for a very talented Destrehan squad to build upon next season.
The Wildcats, who came into the semifinals averaging more than 41 points per game and beating all of their opponents by double-digits, got off to a quick start against Acadiana. Quarterback Donovan Isom moved the team down the field, but was hit hard and taken out of the game after scrambling for 11 yards. However, Will Matthews put the offense on his back and gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with a 25-yard run.
That would be Destrehan’s only score of the game.
Acadiana cut into the lead with a touchdown run by Edward Cormier. With four minutes left in the second quarter Acadiana scored again, this time on a 17-yard pass from quarterback De’Edward Cormier that gave them a 13-7 lead.
Isom returned in the third quarter, but the Destrehan offense was unable to get into a rhythm.† Meanwhile, Acadiana’s offense was firing on all cylinders. Donovan Solomon put his team up by 14 on a 64-yard run, and De’Edward Cormier rushed for a 35-yard score to give Acadiana a 28-7 lead in the third quarter.
The final score of the game came by way of a 15-play Acadiana drive that burned up more than half of the fourth quarter.
Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said Isom’s injury hurt his team’s momentum, but added that Acadiana was playing great on both sides of the ball. The last time Destrehan played Acadiana, they beat them in the 2007 state championship game. Robicheaux said that this year’s Acadiana squad is better than the one the Wildcats faced in the title game.
“I thought our kids did a great job this season, but they had to play a real good Acadiana team. Their offense is methodical and they were tough to stop,” he said. “Their defense is better than they were in 2007 and we had trouble moving the ball. My hat is off to Acadiana, there is a reason they are the No. 1 team.”
After the game, Robicheaux told his players that they helped bring Destrehan football back. This was the team’s first playoff appearance in four years.
“What they did for the team, program, themselves and community was amazing,” Robicheaux said. “On the road against Acadiana, the stands were packed with Destrehan fans in freezing weather. They energized the community. That’s something to be proud of.”
A scary thought for the opposition is that Destrehan could be just as lethal on offense in 2014. Matthews will lead the charge on the ground and was one of the best running backs in the state as a junior. The Wildcats will also return several talented receivers including Alfred Smith, Kirk Merritt, John Williams and Tramaine Armstrong.
Destrehan will be in just as good of a position on defense next season. On the line they return sophomore Glen Logan, who has a chance to be one of the best defensive ends the Wildcats have ever had. Edward Leonard and Elijah Duhe are good enough to shut down any ground attack.
Most of Destrehan’s secondary will return and the pieces are in place for a very good linebacker unit.
“If this group works hard and shows the same amount of dedication, we should be OK,” Robicheaux said. “We have good players coming back and we need to keep the coaching staff in tact. Overall they got a taste and hopefully they will want to come back, play hard and make it further than they did this season.”
While Destrehan returns talent all over the field, they will lose both their offensive and defensive leaders.
Isom, who excelled in only his second year as starter, has already committed to the University of Utah.
“He had an incredible season. It was only his second year as starter and he threw for more than 2,700 yards,” Robicheaux said. “He works so hard and he will have a bright future because of his work ethic and the way he approaches the game.”
On defense, linebacker RaeJuan Marbley has been a force at linebacker for the Wildcats for three years. He has committed to Tulane University.
“We are not only losing two great players, but great people,” Robicheaux said. “We are excited about what they did for us and for what they have a chance to do in the future. We really wish both of them well.”