Destrehan hasn’t lost many games over the past two seasons. In fact, the Wildcats haven’t tasted on-field defeat at all in each of the past two regular seasons, en route to semifinalist and finalist finishes, respectively, in Class 5A.
Entering his fourth season back with Destrehan after a two-year sabbatical, head coach Stephen Robicheaux hopes to keep that run going in 2015, perhaps this time capping the season with what would be his third state championship victory as a coach. Destrehan will get a taste of what to expect early on, as pre-district opponents Slidell, Woodlawn-Baton Rouge and John Ehret each posted winning marks in 2014.
Destrehan’s opener will come on the road as the Wildcats take on a Slidell team that went 6-5 and reached the postseason in 2014 before falling to local rival Mandeville in round one, 14-7.
“Coach (Larry) Favre’s doing a tremendous job with that program,” Robicheaux said. “He’s a friend of mine, and we jumped on the opportunity to play a team like they’ve got. I think that’s going to be a great test for us right off the bat.”
The second week of the season sees Destrehan return home, but the Wildcats won’t be the only ones to do so. New Woodlawn head coach Daniel Luquet coached under Robicheaux until Woodlawn tabbed him as its team offensive coordinator in 2013. He was promoted to the head coaching position in January, succeeding former head coach Brett Beard, who moved on to Live Oak.
Luquet is a Destrehan alumnus and the son of former longtime DHS baseball coach Marty Luquet.
Woodlawn’s new offensive coordinator is Ryan Fournier, also a former Destrehan assistant. The team went 6-5 last season.
That game could also prove an accurate preview of what to expect in district season; Woodlawn’s Week One opponent will be Hahnville.
“That game will come with some mixed emotions, for sure,” Robicheaux said. “Obviously, we’re all excited for Daniel. He’s going to do a tremendous job and he deserves this opportunity. That’s a game that should be really fun for the kids with a good atmosphere about it.”
John Ehret, on paper, should provide the stiffest test, as the Patriots travel to Destrehan in Week Three. Ehret went 9-2 last season, falling in a first round upset loss to East St. John to end its season. Ehret has won its district in each of the last two years, never losing a district game in that span, and is considered to have one of the most athletically gifted rosters in the area led by quarterback Caron Baham, a Missouri commitment.
“You read about those guys and see all the players they have,” Robicheaux said. “It’s evident. They’re going to be a real good football team again. We’re excited to play them early and get a game like that under our belt. That’s the kind of game that gets you ready for district, and we hope that’s the case.”
There aren’t many dead spots in District 7-5A play to begin with, but even so, the Wildcats won’t have time to catch their breath after pre-district competition concludes. The first game of district play reads Destrehan at Hahnville, and that game is sure to set the parish ablaze with hype. Both teams enter the season with designs on a district crown, and much more. Destrehan felled Hahnville twice last season, 24-6 in the regular season and 24-12 in the state quarterfinals.
Then comes a trip to Terrebonne and then a home date with East St. John; the latter game lost a bit of on-field luster with the recent LHSAA ruling that ESJ transfer and former DHS quarterback Marquise Darensbourg would be ineligible next season, but East St. John is always a talented team that will likely be seeking a measure of payback after Destrehan eliminated them in Round Two last season, 68-14.
Clashes with Central Lafourche (home) and H.L. Bourgeois (road) and Thibodaux (home) close out the season for DHS, which will have a rare bye on the 10th week of the season.
“That’s the one disappointment,” Robicheaux said. “We tried to find an opponent, but everyone was tied up. We looked out of state at a few teams, but the only team to step up was a school out of Tampa, and that was a little far for us to travel.
“It will be interesting. I’ve never had (a bye date) before. In a sense, you’d like to keep playing at the end of the season if you’ve got momentum on your side, but it’s also a chance to get your team healthy for the postseason. We’re going to talk to some people, research this thing and figure out the best way to approach it for our team.”