John Emery made headlines this week when he announced he was committing to play at LSU. On Friday night, he celebrated by putting on a show — and his team needed every bit of it.
Emery’s three touchdown night paced No. 2 Destrehan as the Wildcats went on the road and earned a hard-fought 31-26 Class 5A second round playoff victory over No. 18 Landry-Walker at Behrman Stadium.
Destrehan advances to the state quarterfinals, where it will host No. 7 Terrebonne for the second time in less than a month. The two teams squared off for the District 7-5A championship in Week 10, where Destrehan handed the Tigers their only loss of the season. Terrebonne defeated Ouachita 35-14 in round two to advance.
J.R. Blood’s 17-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Torbor gave Destrehan a lead it ultimately would never relinquish, though the Charging Bucs certainly made the Wildcats sweat. Landry-Walker cut a 28-20 DHS lead to 28-26 late in the third quarter, and stayed within range of taking the lead even after Mike Ehrmann’s 35 yard field goal gave Destrehan a five-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
But after a first-half shootout that saw the teams combine for 48 points, both defenses stepped up and the game reversed course to a second-half slugfest. Destrehan’s defense came up with multiple stops in the fourth quarter, with Champ Craven (interception) and Alex Huszar (sack) coming up with highlight plays to short out drives. Craven’s pick stopped a Walker threat at the Destrehan 21, while Huszar’s sack resulted in a big yardage loss on Walker’s final drive that proved too large to overcome.
“We just kinda hung on,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “Landry-Walker’s got a very good football team and this was back and forth. We had trouble stopping them at times, but we made plays when we had to, and at what I think is a pretty good environment at Behrman Stadium. I’m just very excited for our team right now, to come up big when it was needed.”
Destrehan (11-1) has now won nine games in a row, the last avenging a loss from the 2016 Class 5A semifinals, paving the way that year for Landry-Walker to capture the Class 5A championship.
That Landry-Walker (7-5) was a challenge was no surprise to Robicheaux, who pointed out during the week that despite Walker’s four regular season losses, they came to contending teams with a combined three losses between them.
“We knew exactly what was in store for us because of the talent they have,” Robicheaux said.
Emery finished his night with 114 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, but perhaps his biggest play of the night came in the return game, where he came up big with an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that put Destrehan ahead 28-14.
“That was really big for us,” Robicheaux said. “It was at a good time when we really needed it, and provided a huge spark.”
Chad Alexander paced Landry-Walker on the ground with 140 yards rushing on 14 carries. Quarterback Ja’Quan Dorsey added 71 rushing yards.
Landry-Walker held leads of 8-0 and 14-7 during the game. Destrehan rallied for a big second quarter to take a 28-20 lead into halftime.