Destrehan eyes strong start in opening week

Tyler Morton of Destrehan

New look Wildcats hope jamboree a sign of things to come

Despite an influx of new starters, Destrehan looked a lot like, well, Destrehan last Friday night in a jamboree win over Lutcher.

A powerful running game, a few quick strikes through the air, and a hard-nosed, athletic defensive effort indicate not much relief is on the way for opponents of last season’s Class 5A semifinalists, even as much of that core group has graduated. But that said, the performance against Lutcher, while positive, was just an exhibition: it counts for real this Friday night when the Wildcats welcome Bonnabel to DHS.

Navy-committed quarterback Torrence Bardell represents the biggest concern for Destrehan. Bonnabel went 3-7 last season, but Bardell’s ability to improvise and generate big plays with his legs and downfield with his arm pace what can be an explosive spread offense.

“They have a big play offense. This summer, they did a great job in passing (7-on-7 competition) and those receivers can really go get it,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “(Bardell) is such a good athlete who makes plays when he’s in trouble. He’s hard to corral. We have to contain him and make sure we’re rallying to the football, because he can hurt you, especially with all that speed around him.”

Getting Noah Taliancich should help the Wildcats do just that. The Tulane committed nose tackle leads the Destrehan defensive front. Taliancich was held out of the jamboree as a precaution, but is expected to start this week.

On the offensive side of the ball, Destrehan saw a lot of positive things from new starting quarterback Damarius Jackson – including his 80-yard touchdown throw to Quincy Brown early in the jamboree. A major key early in the season, Robicheaux said, is to ease the senior into the role by establishing a dominant running attack behind Alabama-committed rusher Kyle Edwards and fellow back Razan Keller.

“We’ve gotta run it well and keep that pressure off (Jackson) while he’s getting his feet wet,” Robicheaux said.  “This week, that’ll also serve to keep Bonnabel’s athletes off the field.”

Bonnabel’s secondary has some size and athleticism to go along with good ball skills. The Bruins play a lot of man to man defense, so when the chances present themselves to generate a big play off a favorable matchup, the Wildcats must make it count.

DESTREHAN BESTS LUTCHER IN JAMBOREE: Kyle Edwards broke loose from beyond 30 yards for a touchdown run with 4:10 remaining in Destrehan’s jamboree clash with Lutcher, effectively putting the Bulldogs away in what ended as a 35-14 Wildcats victory in the home exhibition between longtime jamboree foes.

Edwards’ score was his second of the night and pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 28-14. A late touchdown run by Kendal Washington put the finishing touches on a 35 point night for DHS, which looked sharp and explosive for most of the night.

Lutcher led 7-0 but Destrehan had an immediate answer, Edwards rushing in a 3-yard touchdown to tie things up midway through the first half.

Jackson connected with Quincy Brown on a short pass the Mississippi State commitment turned into a long gain and score from 80 yards away to make it a 14-7 DHS lead.

The lead pushed to 21-7 early in the second half on Razan Keller’s 4-yard touchdown run in the second half. But Lutcher didn’t fade, a touchdown from Mekhi Patterson to D’Wayne Winfield that cut the DHS margin to seven and forced a Wildcats response.


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