Champion vs. Champion.
Locally, there never needs to be much more reason than “football season is here” for the local community and prep football enthusiasts alike to get hyped for the annual preseason jamborees. But there is in fact a little extra incentive to get out to Wildcat Stadium this Friday night as Destrehan and Lutcher square off in a battle of 2022 state championship teams – and a matchup of River Parishes competitors at that.
The exhibition matchup is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. and will consist of two 15-minute halves.
Destrehan is coming off of one of the greatest seasons in school history – an unbeaten 14-0 record largely comprised of lopsided victories, a school record number of collegiate signees and, of course, the Division I-non-select state championship with a 17-10 victory over Ruston at Caesar’s Superdome.
Lutcher, likewise, reminded of its elite standing among Louisiana’s football programs. A 28-25 Superdome victory over North DeSoto netted the Bulldogs the Division II non-select state crown and capped a 14-1 campaign overall.
These schools combine for 15 state championships all-time. That was the ninth state title in Lutcher’s school history. Destrehan’s title win was the sixth for its program.
Of course, this is a tune-up: the result won’t count in the standings, after all. But anyone who has watched the two programs battle it out in jamboree fare, as they have traditionally for many years, knows that competitive fire surfaces and is easy to see from the players as the game moves along – and into crunch time.
Both teams will be tasked with replacing some heavy hitters in the lineup. Destrehan saw 23 seniors graduate from last year’s squad. Lutcher, meanwhile, must replace all but four offensive starters. Both teams will see a new quarterback guiding things, with Lutcher’s D’Wanye Winfield and Destrehan’s Jai Eugene both gone to the next level. Those two players were the respective Offensive Players of the Year in Class 4A and 5A.
Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott said there’s an energy around the team with the beginning of the season starting.
“That’s a great program, well-coached and with a lot of talent. We have a lot of respect for Lutcher,” Scott said. “I think our guys are eager to get started, though, and would be ready to get out there no matter who we play.”
For Destrehan, the jamboree might carry a bit of additional importance as the team did not face off with anyone for a preseason scrimmage last week, so this will be the team’s first live action against an opponent since its spring matchup with Karr.
Scott said the offensive line and secondary are two positions that Destrehan will be closely evaluating as it replaces key players from a season ago. The 2022 Destrehan secondary was stacked with players who were rich with multi-year starting experience, so new starters will have to become acclimated as they go.
For Lutcher, running back Trenton Chaney and wide receiver Damiuem Marcell will be among those the Wildcat defense needs to corral. The Bulldogs defense is led by linebacker Kai Brown, safety Brock Louque and defensive lineman Reshad Sterling among others.