For three-and-a-half quarters, Destrehan kept patiently chipping, chipping and chipping away at Jesuit’s imposing defense, which allows very few explosive plays.
Then the Wildcats’ patience paid off, and those big plays came when they were needed the most.
John Emery’s 60-yard touchdown run and J.R. Blood’s 61-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Brown extended Destrehan’s 14-10 halftime lead to 28-10. Though Jesuit rallied late, it ran out of time as Destrehan came away with from Tad Gormley Stadium with a 28-23 non-district victory, the Wildcats’ sixth straight win.
Emery and Brown each scored two touchdowns on the night to lead the Destrehan offense along with Blood.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “We made big plays when we had to … (Jesuit’s) front seven, we were trying to figure it out all night. Those guys did a tremendous job.”
Destrehan (8-1) struck first when John Emery capped off the Wildcats’ first drive of the night with a 1-yard touchdown run, putting DHS up 7-0 with 9:07 left in the opening quarter.
Jesuit (5-4) answered with a 29-yard field goal by Max Scheurich, then the Blue Jays took a 10-7 lead on their next possession after a defensive stop, courtesy of Willie Robinson IV.
The Wildcats took advantage of a Jesuit special teams turnover via J.R. Blood’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Brown, making it 14-10.
That score remained until Destrehan’s two big splash plays by Emery and Brown. For Brown, it was a delayed second touchdown – a ball thrown to him in the endzone just before half was ruled incomplete, though Brown said he felt it was a touchdown.
“To be honest, I think I scored. Watching it on the TV, both feet were in,” Brown said. “But we got the next one … (Blood) put it in a good spot and I just executed from there.”
Said Blood, “We went over the top and got one, and once you can build a lead like that, it gives you a chance to control the game.”
On Emery’s long run for a touchdown, Robicheaux said his back’s hard work all night paid off against a punishing Jesuit front seven.
“You were just hoping he can break one here or there, and he did and got us a little bit of a lead. He kept pushing it and working it until he broke through,” Robicheaux said.
While noting he was happy with his team’s effort to pull out the road victory over a strong, physical opponent, Robicheaux nonetheless said some things have to be cleaned up. A drive late in the first half down to the Jesuit 6-yard-line resulted in a sack and a missed field goal. A penalty following a late Champ Craven interception pushed Destrehan back in the middle of the fourth quarter, denying a chance to slam the door with a touchdown. And Jesuit was able to drive for touchdowns on each of its last two possessions, giving a late onside kick the potential to prove costly for Destrehan.
“I’m a little disappointed in the way a couple of plays went, and we’ll address that, but it’s a big win against a real good team,” Robicheaux said.
For Destrehan, Friday’s victory serves as a lead in to next week’s District 7-5A showdown with unbeaten Terrebonne. Neither team has a district loss and the winner will be outright district champion.
No matter which way that game goes, Destrehan will be battle-tested once the playoffs begin.
“We’ve played a lot of good teams this year, Ehret, Jesuit, Slidell … I think those games will prepare us for what’s to come,” Robicheaux said.