One regular season game remains for Destrehan before the postseason, and there’s plenty on the line.
The Wildcats (8-0, 5-0) will host Thibodaux Friday night with the chance to seal an undefeated regular season and an outright District 7-5A championship. It would be Destrehan’s third consecutive district crown and third straight season unbeaten on the field. Destrehan has a Week 10 bye, making this the Wildcats’ final regular season matchup.
Thibodaux (6-2, 4-0), likewise, is eying the 7-5A district crown. A win over Destrehan would clinch at least a share of the championship and set up a chance to win the crown outright with a win over Hahnville next week. If Thibodaux defeats Destrehan, Hahnville would have a chance to force a three-way district championship split.
Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said that while the district crown is a goal, an even bigger prize could be the power points gain Destrehan would earn from a victory Friday night. Destrehan sits fourth in the Class 5A public schools power rankings, while Thibodaux is ninth. Because Destrehan doesn’t play next week, this will be DHS’ last chance to cement itself with the highest seed possible for the postseason.
“The power points gain is the most important thing for us,” Robicheaux said. “Although, sure, it would be nice to be district champions, of course. But this is a 6-2 team that’s beaten a lot of people. I think our kids understand how important it is for us to build on last week’s success. I believe we’ll come back strong again.”
The Tigers lost their first two games of the season before reeling off six consecutive victories, five in district play. Each of Thibodaux’s district wins have come by a margin of 13 points or more. In each of the Tigers’ six wins, they have topped the 35 point mark; in district play, Thibodaux averages 43.8 points per game.
“They move the football,” Robicheaux said. “They’ve got two great running backs in (Donnell) Adair and (Amik) Robertson. They’re right up there with anybody in terms of talent, speed and size. They’re a very strong program and we know what we’re up against with that group. They make nothing easy.”
Not many teams gave Destrehan a tough game last season, but Thibodaux was one of the very few. The Tigers hosted DHS and fell 21-14 after two late Will Matthews touchdowns; the seven point margin was Destrehan’s closest of the regular season. Matthews scored with 34 seconds left in that game to provide the winning score.
Last season’s game was a defensive slugfest — each team’s defense, in fact, provided a touchdown to add to the final score.
This season will likely offer a higher scoring affair. Both teams run a fast-paced spread offense, promising plenty of offensive “at-bats” for each side.
“They run the zone, zone read, really the same thing we do,” Robicheaux said. “They’re really big on the offensive line and they’ve got receivers who can go get the ball. (Robertson) is a dual threat. They’ll line him up in the slot, then motion him to the backfield. They’ve got a lot of athletes and guys who can make the big play.
“For us, the focus has to be to not let them make those explosive plays. We have to make them work, make them run east and west and not north and south.”
Defensively for Thibodaux, Robicheaux pointed out a sizeable front that will provide a challenge for a Destrehan offensive line that has played extremely well all season.
“(Devin) Hebert, he’s a big defensive lineman at 6-foot-3 and 285 and he does a tremendous job in the middle… (Darius) Richard, a sophomore, and he’s 310. I really like Blair Brooks at linebacker. They’ve got speed in the secondary.”
Last week, Thibodaux scored a non-district win over St. Augustine, 35-19. The Tigers intercepted the Purple Knights three times and returned two of those picks for scores — one by Robertson, who plays cornerback in addition to his offensive duties. Adair had a big night, scoring twice from long distances of 78 and 40 yards en route to a 137 yard night.
For Destrehan, last week represented complete dominance.
The Wildcats rolled to a 56-12 win over H.L. Bourgeois that charged up Robicheaux, who had been looking for his team to answer a challenge from the coaching staff to find its intensity. Robicheaux felt his team played flat in a 31-7 homecoming win over Central Lafourche a week prior, but Destrehan slammed the door at Bourgeois quickly.
“We’re so excited with the way we played,” Robicheaux said. “We challenged our kids and they really responded. We played pretty flawlessly through the third quarter.”
Kohen Granier had a perfect night, completing all 13 of his passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns — those went to Justin Jefferson, Tremaine Armstrong and Chad Serrano, the latter also adding a touchdown run. Karon Taylor rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. John Williams scored on a long punt return. John Emery scored on a 96 yard run. Destrehan led 42-0 at halftime.
H.L. Bourgeois dropped to 5-3 (1-3 in district) with the loss.
The Destrehan first team defense allowed no points.