After losing three of four games, Destrehan is in the unfamiliar spot of seeking answers headed into the final three weeks of the regular season.
The Wildcats (4-3, 1-2) travel to Thibodaux (6-1, 2-1) in a key District 7-5A matchup for both teams. The game has been rescheduled due to weather and will be played Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
Thibodaux is ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A power points, so a victory for Destrehan would go a long way toward solidifying a playoff spot and positioning. It’s the first of three tough district battles for the Wildcats, who face Central Lafourche and rival Hahnville over the season’s final two weeks.
While this bump in the road hasn’t been a welcome one for the Wildcats, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism. The losses have come during a period where Destrehan has been hindered by a few key injuries, particularly at quarterback, and the hope is the team will get closer to 100 percent as the regular season comes to a conclusion. DHS coach Stephen Robicheaux said that isn’t something his team can control, but that there’s plenty it can control in an effort to get back to the program’s winning ways.
“We’ve had our chances in all three games,” said Robicheaux. “Particularly two of those games, I think we had a good chance to win. We’ve fought back but we aren’t getting the job done. The kids here know this isn’t a bad team. We could be 6-1 just as easily as we’re 4-3, but we didn’t get it done. We have to get better and make up the difference.”
To corral Thibodaux, stopping Luke Alleman is the biggest key. The standout quarterback missed last season with injury and Thibodaux fell to 3-7 in 2018. But he’s back now, and the gains are stark: Thibodaux’s explosive offense has been held under 28 points just once all season, a 12-3 win over South Lafourche.
“They moved the ball in that game, too,” Robicheaux noted. “They had some turnovers, but they were going up and down the field like usual.”
Alleman reminds Robicheaux of the DHS coach’s own former standout passer.
“He’s like Kohen Granier in a lot of ways,” Robicheaux said, harkening back to Granier’s strong record as starter from 2014 to 2016. “He’s a baseball guy, hard-nosed … he gets the ball to his playmakers and he can run it when he needs to. He’s definitely a threat.”
When he passes the ball, he has no shortage of strong targets. Darwin Davis Jr., Kyren Lacy, Maurquel Price and Tyren Young can all make the big play.
“They really try to get the ball to Davis, and for a reason,” Robicheaux said. “He catches a lot of balls for them. (Lacy) makes some impressive plays. All of those guys are really dangerous.”
When Thibodaux runs, it’s Rimond Thompson and Ferronte Miller who can hurt a defense. But the strength of this team is its passing game, and it leans on it for the majority of games.
“They want to throw it around,” Robicheaux said. “We have to not let them make the big play … as they say, bleed slow if you’ve got to. The hope is you can force some turnovers.”
Thibodaux’s been in several shootouts this season. In the wake of Destrehan’s 14-13 loss to East St. John, the Wildcats will have to be sharper on the offensive side of the ball if that kind of game breaks out.
Senior starting quarterback Damarius Jackson has been limited by an ankle injury and has been splitting time with freshman Jai Eugene Jr. Robicheaux said both passers will play on Saturday, but is also optimistic that Jackson will be closer to 100 percent. Kicker Will Bryant also missed last week’s game with injury, and his absence hurt in a one point loss. Robicheaux said Bryant is likely to return this week.