Destrehan will focus on run defense against winless Braves

There are no bye weeks in high school football, but this Friday is as close to a bye as the Destrehan Wildcats will get when they host winless H.L. Bourgeois.

The Wildcats (7-1, 4-1) have been unstoppable this season and are currently averaging more than 47 points a game.

Meanwhile, H.L. Bourgeois is giving up around 40 points per game and has lost by at least 30 points in three of their eight losses this season.

All signs point to another blowout win for the Wildcats, but the reason you play the game is because you never know what could happen.

Last week, the Wildcats rolled to a 21-0 first quarter lead against South Lafourche only to see the Tarpons come back in the second quarter and take a one-point lead right before the break. That marked only the second time all season that the Wildcats have trailed during a game.

But Destrehan responded with a drive right before the end of the second quarter to take back control of the game. With just 1:19 remaining, Wildcat quarterback Donovan Isom connected with Kirk Merritt for a 44-yard gain that brought Destrehan to the South Lafourche 10-yard line. Isom then took over from there, rushing for a score to put the Wildcats up 27-22.

After regaining the momentum, Destrehan dominated the remainder of the game. Will Mathews scored on a 3-yard run to put Destrehan up 35-22  in the third, and linebacker RaeJuan Marbley blocked a punt to set up another rushing score by Isom.

Isom put the exclamation point on the game with a 31-yard scramble for another touchdown in the final quarter.

Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux was proud of how his squad was able to fight off South Lafourche’s rally.

“We got behind because of some special teams stuff that we haven’t had before, but what I thought was huge was the way we got that big touchdown with 1:19 left before the half to take the lead,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said.

The adversity his team faced in the second quarter against South Lafourche should pay off for the squad in the playoffs, Robicheaux said.

“This is the second time they fell behind and nobody panicked and we came back and started playing well,” he said. “That is something that is going to help us down the line.”

While Destrehan’s offense captures most of the headlines, it has been the team’s physical defense that is responsible for their impressive start. Against South Lafourche, the Wildcats forced four turnovers when they needed them the most.

“I was very happy with the way the defense played. They were tough and they controlled the line of scrimmage,” Robicheaux said.

Even though the Wildcats have had plenty of success this season, Robicheaux said they have to get better if they hope to make a run to the Class 5A state championship game. Special teams, which has been a huge positive for the Wildcats this season, had a couple of breakdowns last Friday, including a fumbled snap that allowed South Lafourche to get back into the game.

“We have got to work on our special teams. I don’t want to push the panic button, but that’s something that let us down last week,” Robicheaux said. “South Lafourche also gave us a little trouble running the football, so that’s something we need to work on.”

The Wildcats should have plenty of opportunities to improve their arsenal this week against H.L. Bourgeois. The Braves are coming off of a 48-6 loss to Hahnville, a team Destrehan dominated 49-0 just a few weeks ago.

The Braves had a rough offseason and are on their third coach in less than a year. H.L. Bourgeois had a 2-8 record last season under coach Ben Powell, who resigned with three games left on the schedule. Powell was replaced by Jack Phillips Jr. in December, but he was relieved of his duties in May.

Daron Franklin took over the squad in June.

“They haven’t had a lot of success, but they are playing a lot of young kids,” Robicheaux said. “It’s going to take (Franklin) a little while to get that program going.”

In preparing for H.L. Bourgeois, Robicheaux said he spoke to Hahnville’s coach, Lou Valdin.

“Lou told me (H.L. Bourgeois) has the players, but that if we corral them we should be OK,” Robicheaux said.

The Wildcats will use this week to work on themselves and get better.

“No matter who we play, we always want to make sure we are getting better,” he said. “We just have to do what we do. We have to be able to run the football and Donovan has to throw the ball well. We have to stay in a physical defense and get better at doing the things that have made us successful.”


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