When it comes to Destrehan’s 2017 football schedule, it’s the simple things that Wildcats’ coach Stephen Robicheaux enjoys most about its construction.In this case? It’s simply that the Wildcats have a full plate for the first time since 2014. After two consecutive years of nine regular season foes to go with a bye, DHS will be able to get in games for all 10 regular season weeks.
The Wildcats’ nine game scheduling came because District 7-5A has an uneven number of teams, so each team has a bye over seven weeks of district play. When it came time to set up Destrehan’s 2015 and 2016 schedule, Robicheaux drew a Week 10 bye for each season and wasn’t able to find another school to line up with that.
This time, Destrehan’s bye is in Week 9, which will yield a showcase non-district affair between two of the state’s top programs. Destrehan and Jesuit have set up a home and home series, with DHS hosting the Blue Jays this season on Oct. 27.
“Obviously, nobody likes to play nine games, so we feel very fortunate we were able to fill it up,” Robicheaux said. “We’re playing some teams we haven’t played before. We kind of got into a situation where (Jesuit) had the same deal we did. We’re very excited about it.”
Both Destrehan and Jesuit faced a potential alternative of traveling to face Evangel, which would require a drive in excess of five hours. This was far more convenient, though the competition for each squad will be no less fierce.
“You know, it’s right before the playoffs and you’re playing a team like Jesuit that’s so physical,” Robicheaux said. “They play that smash mouth football, that zone action, a lineup full of big, physical guys. So it’s a double-edged sword.
“It will be taxing, but it will be a great challenge and something that can get us ready for the postseason. We’re looking forward to the chance to play Jesuit.”
The toughest stretch of the season figures to come early on. Destrehan opens against Slidell before traveling to face a fellow River Parishes squad in St. Charles Catholic, a perennial state championship contender in the select school division. Following that game comes a date with 2016 Class 5A quarterfinalist and 2015 state finalist John Ehret.
That game will be at Destrehan, as will the next contest — the District 7-5A opener against the archrival Hahnville Tigers.
Robicheaux says he’s a fan of any time two River Parishes teams get a chance to face off, and scheduling SCC for Week 2 created such an opportunity.
“I like the idea of River Parishes teams playing each other. That’s how it always used to be,” Robicheaux mused. “It’s great for the fans and great for us to have a game like that. It should be very interesting. They’re a top notch opponent and (Coach Frank Monica) and his staff is right up there with anyone you’ll find. He always has them ready to play hard.”
The Hahnville game’s placement on the schedule matches that of the past two years, the teams facing off in a Week 4 district opener.
Echoing HHS coach Nick Saltaformaggio’s thoughts, Robicheaux also wishes that game were later on in the season, its placement in Week 4 a tough follow to Destrehan’s clash with Ehret, and ditto for Hahnville following its Week 3 contest with Brother Martin.
“It’s kind of a tough deal having that game where it’s at (on the schedule),” Robicheaux said.
“It’s a game that kind of tips the season one way or another. I don’t like the timing because of who we have in front of them, but by the same token, you’ve got to play them sometime. Coach Salt has done a tremendous job over there. There’s a lot of talent, including one of the best backs in the state.
“You prefer it not be after what should be a really physical game against Ehret. We just have to survive those early games, get to Hahnville healthy and take it from there.”
2017 Destrehan football schedule
9/1 vs. Slidell
9/8 at St. Charles Catholic
9/15 vs. John Ehret
9/22 vs. Hahnville*
9/29 at Thibodaux*
10/6 vs East St. John*
10/13 vs, Central Lafourche*
10/20 at H.L. Bourgeois*
10/27 vs. Jesuit
11/3 at Terrebonne*