Destrehan Wildcats aim to hit ground running against tough pre-district schedule

J.R. Blood returns as Destrehan quarterback with plenty of game experience under his belt.

Destrehan had gone four years without losing a regular season game prior to 2017, where the Wildcats fell twice en route to an 8-2 campaign — not exactly a rough season most standards.

That said, the two losses might not represent a trend either: by almost all accounts, this 2018 DHS squad will be a handful for all comers and very hard to beat, with seasoned veterans and tremendous firepower up and down the roster.

The first team with a chance to upend the Wildcats in 2018 will be Slidell in a matchup that has become a recent Week One tradition. The two schools have faced off to open the past four consecutive seasons, with Destrehan earning the win in each game. This time, the Tigers will play host after two years of visiting DHS. The Tigers will attempt to build on their performance three years ago in its last home game against the Wildcats, when Slidell battled and made things difficult before Destrehan shook free via some explosive second half plays in a 33-23 win.

“They should have a really good team coming back … a lot is back on offense,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “It will be a good test for us right off the bat.”

Then comes a River Parishes battle that will see the Wildcats attempting to earn a measure of payback: St. Charles Catholic visits Destrehan for the Wildcats’ home opener, a rematch from last season’s Week Two game that saw the Comets pull an upset via a 24-8 score to end what was a 39-game regular season winning streak for the Wildcats. Many eyes will likely be on this game, as both teams are perennial state championship factors in their respective divisions.

“Anytime you play a team like St. Charles, you know what you’re dealing with,” Robicheaux said. “Frank Monica is one of the best coaches around. His kids play extremely hard for him. With the tradition and success both schools have had over the years, the matchup leads to a pretty good game for both of us.”

DHS linebacker Daunte Jefferson chases down a ballcarrier in the Wildcats’ spring game.

Destrehan will stay at home to host another talented team and contending program in 5A rival John Ehret, who travels to DHS for a Week 3 showdown. The Wildcats have had the number of Ehret, which finished as 5A runner up in 2015 and has advanced at least one round in the playoffs each of the past three seasons. Ehret is coached by Marcus Scott, who was Destrehan’s defensive coordinator a year ago.”

“This is their year,” Robicheaux said of Ehret. “They have a bunch of key seniors in the right spots.”

That ends the team’s pre-district fare and leads into — of course — the game annually thought of as the St. Charles Parish Super Bowl, where Destrehan will travel to face Hahnville. The Tigers defeated the Wildcats last season after five consecutive DHS wins in the rivalry.

Both teams have a chance to go deep into the postseason in 2018, and this will be a pivotal matchup that means more than an avenue to a district championship and bragging rights; the winner will likely scoop a mass of power points to boost its resume for postseason position.

“It’s an even type of game,” Robicheaux said. “It’s always a rivalry. Coach Salt (Nick Saltaformaggio) does a great job over there. When you go to Acadiana in the playoffs and win, there’s not much more you have to say. Success breeds success, they’re headed in the right direction and they’ll be a very tough matchup early in district.”

DHS then will host Thibodaux as District 7-5 play rolls on. A road game with East St. John gives way to a two-game home stand with Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois and then a road clash with Jesuit, the last non-district game of the year for DHS. The Wildcats will close at home with Terrebonne.

Robicheaux said 7-5A should be improved and very competitive this season, noting that in addition to Hahnville, Thibodaux and Central Lafourche have historically given the Wildcats fits, a new coaching staff and strong roster of athletes at East St. John and a Terrebonne team riding a wave of momentum after a breakthrough season a year ago.

 

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