Destrehan roared back after trailing 31-10 at St. James with less than 10 minutes left to play, cutting the deficit to a touchdown with just over a minute left, but ultimately could not overcome Class 3A’s top-ranked team.
DHS suffered its first defeat of the year Friday night, absorbing a 31-24 loss to a St. James team that has quickly asserted itself as a major state power, regardless of classification, this season.
“They’re a better football team than we are right now,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “They outplayed us and outcoached us. We couldn’t get it going. We had a little spark at the end there … it was Quincy Brown being Quincy Brown …he’s gonna play in the NFL and he showed why there. Hat’s off to St. James. They did a tremendous job tonight.”
St. James took a 31-10 lead with 9:21 left to play on J’kory Ester’s interception return for a touchdown, picking off DHS quarterback Damarius Jackson and racing down the sideline for more than 70 yards before finding paydirt as the SJH sideline erupted.
It seemed like a finishing blow—and was, indeed, ultimately the deciding score—but Destrehan had plenty of fight left.
Jackson connected with Matt Erwin for a quick 62 yard touchdown to make it 31-17. Then Destrehan—two weeks ago victimized by a pair of onside kicks against Walker—came up with a onside recovery of its own to regain possession.
It was the Quincy Brown show from there on the ensuing drive. The senior DHS receiver and top recruit hauled in a reception deep over the middle from Jackson, then drew a flag for pass interference that got Destrehan inside the 10. After a penalty against DHS, Brown hauled in a touchdown over the middle to make it 31-24 with just under two minutes left.
This time, St. James recovered the onside kick. Destrehan still had two timeouts, however, but only had to use one: on St. James’ second play, Destrehan forced a fumble and recovered, creating a chance to make an improbable comeback.
But St. James was able to make Destrehan burn its final time out after sacking Jackson on the next drive. With few options to stop the clock remaining, a fourth down heave to Brown fell incomplete, allowing St. James to clinch the win and remain unbeaten.
“Our kids came out and played hard to the end. We’ve gotta come out that way early, though,” Robicheaux said. “Can’t let them jump on you like that. We’ll get better.”
In addition to the interception return, St. James also made a critical third quarter play when it blocked a DHS punt—Savion Jones scooped and scored to make it 21-10 after SJH took a 14-10 lead into halftime.
“This is phenomenal. This is awesome,” said St. James coach Robert Valdez. To have the chance to play these people and have this kind of performance … we knew they were always one play away from making a big play. To be able to keep them in check like that … this is big, it’s really big.”