Containing the Destrehan offense is a nightmare proposition for opposing defensive coordinators, and Wildcats quarterback J.R. Blood neatly summed up why on Friday night.
“We can go back and forth (between run and pass), back and forth, so nobody can ever categorize us as just a run team or just a pass team,” Blood said. “We’re so deadly in both areas.”
Thibodaux would likely concur with that in the wake of Destrehan’s 49-10 victory over the visiting Tigers, moving DHS to 2-0 in District 7-5A competition. Blood threw four touchdown passes, while the Wildcats running game once again feasted behind John Emery, Kyle Edwards and an offensive line growing more dominant by the week. Destrehan rushed for 294 yards as a team on the night.
This one got started approximately 30 minutes late due to a lightning delay, and once the game got started, a Thibodaux team with a reshuffled lineup — five starters were suspended for this week’s game — got rolling quickly, scoring the game’s first points on a Saharold Thomas touchdown reception off of a deflected pass by quarterback Tyren Young, who was filling in for suspended starting quarterback Luke Allemand.
Destrehan answered quickly as Emery powered his team’s first drive into Thibodaux territory. Blood’s 30 yard pass to tight end Carson Rieder set up a 1-yard Emery touchdown plunge to tie the game.
Champ Craven intercepted Young and returned it to the Thibodaux 7-yard line to set up another Emery touchdown run on the first play of the possession, making it 14-7.
Young dialed up a deep ball to Donald Bogan who seemed to have broken away for a touchdown before cornerback Dontrell Smith was off to the races and ran him down for a tackle, which ultimately forced Thibodaux to settle for a field goal.
“I thought our defense made some big plays when we had to,” Robicheaux said. “We got a fumble and short field, interception and short field and Dontrell made that big play there.”
Following a fourth down stop by the Destrehan defense, the Wildcats marched 76 yards and scored on a touchdown pass by Blood to Carl Lewis to make it 21-10 with 4:11 to go before halftime. A sack and later a fumble recovery by Charles Oliver short circuited the next two Thibodaux drives, the latter leading to a Blood to Rieder touchdown that made it 28-10 at halftime.
“Carson and I stay after games where we missed connections … the chemistry’s kinda built in there,” Blood said. “When I throw him the ball, he trusts in me and I trust in him to get it done.”
Destrehan (4-1, 2-0) unloaded the rest of its artillery in the third quarter, starting with a fourth and 8 touchdown pass from Blood to Joseph Washington for a 35-yard score, making it 35-10.
“As soon as I saw the safety move over … when I saw him take his first steps I had trust in my guy to run under it,” Blood said. “We have the nastiest receivers in the state.”
Receiver Quinton Torbor took in a short pass from Blood for a 4-yard score, then Edwards scored on a six-yard run to make it 49-10 with nearly five minutes remaining in the third quarter. From there, Destrehan began to substitute backups in.
While Destrehan has defeated Thibodaux (3-2, 1-1) in recent seasons, the games were almost always tough showdowns — in direct contrast to this night.
“I didn’t expect it at all. They have great athletes, of course, they always do,” Robicheaux said. “We’ve been a second half team and I thought if we kept it good going into the third quarter we’d be in good shape.”
Defensively, Destrehan dominated after the first quarter, shutting Thibodaux down and out the rest of the way.
“I thought our conditioning helped,” Robicheaux said. “Coach (Malter) Scobel started moving guys around, not letting (Thibodaux’s big linemen) lean on us. We kind of took over from the second quarter on.”
Blood finished the game with 143 yards, completing six passes on nine attempts. Emery averaged over 10 yards per carry, tallying 154 yards on route to his two touchdowns.
Destrehan’s Denzel Riley added an interception to go with Craven’s, picking one off in the fourth quarter.
Blood said he and his teammates took their lone loss personally, a week three defeat at John Ehret.
“Good teams have bumps in the road, but we’re starting to get to where ours are coming few and far between,” Blood said. “That loss stuck with us and we don’t wanna feel that way again.”