Destrehan, Terrebonne on collision course to settle district title

Noah Taliancich rushes the quarterback for Destrehan last Friday night.

For weeks, Destrehan and Terrebonne have been racing full speed ahead at one another, seemingly destined to decide the District 7-5A championship between them.

And here we are.

Wildcat Stadium plays host to the winner-take-all district championship game, with an undefeated Tigers (9-0, 5-0) team visiting Destrehan (8-1, 5-0) to settle everything.

Both teams feature major Division I prospects. Both teams boast explosive offenses. And both teams are fast, hard-hitting and hard to solve on the defensive side of the ball.

For anyone who loves the sport, it’s an ideal matchup to pop up on the final week of the regular season.

“They’ve got the right formula and they’re doing a lot of good things over there,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “That’s a strong football team that’s playing with a ton of confidence.”

HOW TERREBONNE ATTACKS: With relentless speed. Ja’khi Douglas, Keshawn James and Chaz Ward are big-time playmakers who Robicheaux notes “can really go.”

“They’re all legitimate Division I prospects … they bring a lot of speed,” Robicheaux said. “Their offensive line is big where they can create running lanes for these guys.”

Their spread offensive attack isn’t dissimilar to Destrehan’s own. One wrinkle for the Tigers, though, could be the health of James, the team’s starting quarterback. An injury there has led to Douglas, the team’s starter at quarterback last season, to get time there again.

“They go back and forth with them,” Robicheaux said. “For us, it’s more about preparing for the position rather than the personnel, because they’re interchangeable. Both guys have great skill, speed and athletic ability.”

Terrebonne’s wealth of weapons can make a defensive team have to pick its poison, and Robicheaux said to that end, the best thing an opponent can do is to focus on taking away the things Terrebonne does best as much as possible.

Defensively, Terrebonne lines up in a 3-3 stack and are charged by their linebackers, led by Cullen Butler, a hybrid linebacker/safety.

“They line him up all over,” Robicheaux said. “They’ve got some big guys up front, and those linebackers make them go. (Butler) causes a lot of problems. For our offensive line, you’ve got to make sure you’re covering all your gaps because you aren’t sure where they’re gonna come from.”

TWO SWEET: The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 2 in the Class 5A power points rankings, and it seems likely that’s about where Destrehan will settle, win or lose. Robicheaux said it’s unlikely his team could catch West Monroe, even with a win over Terrebonne; West Monroe’s total of 16.70 power points is too far ahead of Destrehan’s 14.32, and Destrehan’s mark has a bit of cushion from No. 3 Zachary (14.32) and No. 4 John Ehret (13.95)— though a win Friday over No. 6 Terrebonne would certainly  leave nothing to chance.

A two seed would put Destrehan in line to host most — if not all, if luck would have it — of its potential  playoff games and would make a potential West Monroe matchup Superdome-bound.

Robicheaux said a big key to establishing position there was Destrehan’s win over Jesuit last week.

“That jumped us to number two, and that’s why that game was real important for us. As much as we’d like to win that district championship, the biggest part of the equation is that seed. That’s where our focus has been,” Robicheaux said.

DISTRICT DELIGHT: Destrehan has lost just one district game since 2013 (to Hahnville in 2017). District wins against the Wildcats come at a premium.

LAST SEASON’S MATCHUP: Destrehan rode a dominant defensive performance and two J.R. Blood touchdown passes to Carson Rieder for a 28-7 victory on the road.

 

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