It’s been awhile since Destrehan has seen so much turnover in its starting lineup from one season to the next.
Just three starters return on defense. On offense, the Wildcats are grooming new starters on the offensive line, at quarterback, at some receiver spots and at running back, though returning senior-to-be Kyle Edwards is both experienced and prolific—he steps in for departed LSU signee John Emery, and along with wideout Quincy Brown figure to be cornerstones in the team’s offensive attack.
Though experience elsewhere on the roster must be earned, Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux is encouraged by what he’s seen from this group, noting he and his staff feel there’s plenty to work with.
“Defensively, our guys run to the football. We did a pretty good job offensively (in the spring game) … we got a good look at some young kids and we saw some bright spots,” Robicheaux said. “Other spots weren’t so bright and we have to work on it. But I was excited at the way we finished the spring.”
The spring game against Covington saw a traditional scrimmage setup of scripted plays that eventually gave way to a 15 minute timed quarter of play between the first teams. The Wildcats fell behind early before rallying to earn a 14-6 win in the exhibition.
Covington’s Blake Sharp put his team ahead following an interception when he dialed up a pass to Cobe Callahan to make it 6-0.
The Destrehan defense made a big splash play of its own to answer. Linebacker Dylan Gibbs chased down a fumble and returned it for a 70 yard touchdown to put his team ahead 7-6.
“He’s had a real nice spring for us,” Robicheaux said. “He’ll be a junior and he had a good game to wrap it up.”
The biggest offensive play of the timed quarter came on a long pass from Jackson to Quincy Brown that went for a 70 yard score, making it 14-6.
Destrehan outscored Covington three to one in the scripted series of plays portion of scrimmage. Brown scored two of those three touchdowns, with Ryan Walker producing the other.
“We noticed Quincy Brown is real good,” said Robicheaux with a chuckle of his standout receiver, who is a top target of several major Division 1 schools. “No doubt … that, we didn’t have to get verification on.”
Both teams sat out a number of key players, including Edwards for DHS. Backup running back Razan Keller also did not play, but flashed throughout spring practice — notable as Destrehan has traditionally rotated in a second back to compliment its starter, as Edwards has done for two years.
“He’s a bowling ball type kid,” Robicheaux said of Keller. “We think he’s one of those guys with a chance to be pretty good.”
The offensive line was promising as well throughout spring, Robicheaux said. While much less experienced, this is a bigger line than the Wildcats had last season, and if things click that will mesh well with Edwards’ downhill running style.
At quarterback, Damarius Jackson’s connection with Brown could be the first of many as the senior succeeds J.R. Blood, the team’s starting passer over all of the past two seasons.
“He showed he’s the guy at quarterback,” Robicheaux said. “I think he brings a whole different dynamic … J.R. was that experienced pocket guy back there, while Darius is a little smaller. I think you’ll see him sprinting out more, getting him away from the line and out in the open where he can be effective.”
Along with Gibbs, defensive end Michael Jackson looks like a promising convert from the offensive side of the ball, while Robicheaux sees a jump forward from returning starters in linebacker Dylan Whitted and free safety Tyler Morton.