Destrehan is one of only eight teams remaining in 5A after surviving Ruston 17-10 in what was the team’s closest game of the season. Now, the Wildcats will face off against Higgins, who they beat 20-0 just two months ago.
Even though the score was close against Ruston, the Wildcats dominated offensively, racking up 331 yards. Of those yards, 169 of them came through the air while 162 of them came on the ground, giving the Wildcats a completely balanced attack.
Marshall Charles got the Wildcats on the board first after pushing the ball across the line from 1-yard out to give Destrehan an early 7-0 lead. Senior Ryan Rome then added three more points shortly after on a 30-yard field goal.
A 35-yard pass from Nick Rome to Thomas Davison allowed Ruston to cut into the Wildcat lead 10-7 in the second quarter, but the Wildcats increased the lead back to 10 in the third on a 16-yard touchdown run by Henry Lenox.
Ruston could only manage a 29-yard field goal in the third and Destrehan was able to hold Ruston when it counted in the fourth.
“I thought we played well at times and didn’t play well at others,” Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “I told the team that Ruston was a good football team and they were going to play us tough. We did have a chance to go up by a couple of scores, but we didn’t capitalize on that.”
But by not winning big, Robicheaux says his squad got to experience a close game – something they haven’t had to do yet this season.
“It’s really beneficial to play in and win a close game because we haven’t done that in a while,” he said. “Anytime this team can go through something new, it’s a positive experience.”
Robicheaux hopes that new experience pays off against Higgins, though he would likely enjoy yet another big win by his program on Friday.
But that won’t be an easy task.
The Hurricanes have already made it further in the playoffs than they did last year, and have done so in style. Higgins destroyed their first round opponent, New Iberia, 56-14, then knocked around Mandeville in the second round 44-8. In that game, the Hurricanes finished with 409 yards on the ground.
But their success didn’t just begin in the playoffs. Higgins is 9-2 on the year, with big wins over St. Charles Catholic, Bourgeois, St. James, John Ehret and Crowly. They have scored more than 30 points in three of those wins, have gone over 40 once, and hit the 56-point mark against New Iberia.
Their only losses came to Destrehan and West Jefferson.
“I don’t know if they’ve changed much since we played them last, but they are doing a better job of running the option,” Robicheaux said. “Obviously, they are a good team because they are still playing football and have made it to the third round. They have a great running game and they put up a lot of points, though their running game plays into our strength on defense.”
And while Destrehan’s impressive defense will be challenged against Higgins, one thing Robicheaux and his squad won’t have to worry about is a loss of routine. The Wildcats, unlike some teams in the state, had class on Monday and Tuesday to make up for days missed during the two hurricanes.
“I’m probably the only one at Destrehan who was excited about having school this week,” Robicheaux said. “Coaches love routine, and because we had school on Monday and Tuesday, things have stayed somewhat the same for us.”
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