Off the field, things have been a nightmare for Destrehan and St. Charles Parish as a whole over the past month.
On the field, however – the Wildcats could not have scripted a better beginning to a season.
A dominant in all phases effort resulted in a 42-7 win over Hahnville in the annual rivalry battle between the teams, and along with it a 1-0 start to both the regular and District 7-5A seasons.
“It’s big,” said Destrehan quarterback Jai Eugene, who accounted for two touchdowns in the game. “This is one of the biggest rivalries in the country … for us, it was about gaining momentum, playing as a team and keeping everyone level. It’s all about winning.”
Five different Destrehan players scored rushing touchdowns in the most decisive victory the rivalry has seen since 2015, a 49-23 DHS win; the greatest victory margin of the previous five meetings of the teams has been 13 points.
As these things are in prep football, though, a team must turn the page and keep pushing forward after a strong performance. And as Destrehan prepares for its home opener this Friday night against district foe H.L. Bourgeois, Wildcats’ head coach Marcus Scott does not want to see his team take its foot off the gas pedal.
“It’s easy to get complacent,” Scott said. “But the good teams find ways to challenge themselves and constantly seek improvement. And that’s what we challenge each player and each coach to do, find ways to do that.
“Once you think you have it all down, that you know it all, that’s usually the day something bad happens.”
Bourgeois opened the season with a strong effort of its own, a 19-0 victory over Terrebonne, a result more impressive when considering the Braves were regrouping on several levels, both Ida-related and not. Tawaskie Anderson stepped down from his post as head coach in mid-September after two seasons leading the team. Sterling Washington stepped into that role and led the Braves to the win. Anderson resigned after losing his home to Ida and moving to Texas thereafter.
“They’ve changed the offense a little bit this year,” said Scott. “They were mixing in some spread stuff last year but now they seem to be a lot more-wide open. They have some capable skill guys.”
That group is led by wide receiver Luke Lirette, who Scott noted stood out when watching the Braves.
Defensively, Scott sees a team that plays hard and competes every snap, and a scheme that looks to confuse the quarterback.
“They mix up their looks. They seem to be able to send pressure and get home at times, and they all play as a unit. They get to the ball,” he said.
That added up to a shutout against a Terrebonne program that’s put up some big scores in recent years.
The Wildcats know a little something about defense. Despite losing six starters from a year ago, Destrehan looked suffocating as ever, showcasing strong tackling and ballhawking playmakers.
Two of the team’s new starters stepped into the spotlight in a big way. Linebacker Patrick Rojas led the team in tackles, while safety Jacobi Green was second on the team in his first action since converting to defense from wide receiver.
Scott said Green’s physicality stood out on offense last year, inspiring the move.
“He’s really gotten comfortable on the defensive side,” Scott said. “He has the size and speed of what people look for at that safety spot … he was very physical and a willing blocker, plus he’s a good athlete. So when we had to replace some guys (on defense), he was at the top of the list to see if he could come over to defense and contribute, and he’s done just that.”