Defending champion Wildcats to test retooled roster early in 2023

Marcus Scott speaks to his Wildcats after spring game with Karr.

It’s a tough encore, for sure. Following up on perfection always is.

Destrehan’s undefeated, state championship winning season in 2022 was the breakthrough Wildcat fans have dreamed of over the course of a decade that already saw the program achieve incredible consistency year-to-year. Marcus Scott’s Wildcats blasted through the regular season with barely a scratch before finishing the job in the playoffs, including a dramatic Superdome victory over Ruston in the championship game.

That team had loads of experience. This year’s squad has had to reload at numerous critical areas. Whatever the learning curve yields, however, the cupboard is not close to bare at Wildcat Stadium, with LSU committed edge rusher Kolaj Cobbins, Ole Miss committed WR/DB Anthony Robinson and highly recruited RB Shane Lee among the leaders of another very talented squad.

A look at the team’s schedule in 2023:

Week 1 sees Bonnabel visit Wildcat Stadium after the Bruins went 3-7 in 2022, including an opening week 49-0 loss to Destrehan. The Bruins will attempt to take a step forward in head coach B.J. Cohen’s second season with the team, while the Wildcats will have their first opportunity to show the home crowd what its overhauled lineup can do in a full, live game.

Destrehan hits the road in Week 2 for a showdown with DHS head coach Marcus Scott’s former team, the John Ehret Patriots. Ehret earned the No. 18 seed in Division I select last season, falling in round one to Rummel, 31-24.

Last season, Ehret went winless in its first five games, including a 42-6 loss at Destrehan, before finding itself late in the year and posting five consecutive wins entering the playoffs with a 5-5 record. The programs have stayed familiar with one another since Scott took the helm of the DHS program, with regular preseason scrimmages against one another in seasons the teams haven’t been scheduled. Prior to Ehret’s loss to

Destrehan last season, the Patriots notched the win in the prior regular season matchup between the teams in 2019, Scott’s last year with Ehret.

Destrehan hosts another 2022 playoff qualifier in the form of East Ascension for Week 3, EA went 5-5 last regular season to earn the No. 15 seed in Division I non-select, posting a dominant 37-0 win over West Ouachita before bowing out in round two to Neville, 31-9.

Like Ehret, EA stumbled early and surged late, going 1-4 through the first half of the regular season, 4-1 thereafter. Destrehan delivered a knockout blow in the first half of its game at EA, an eventual 42-2 win, and the Spartans will no doubt be looking for a measure of payback this time around.

Week 4 … eh, nothing really here, we can move on.

Kidding.

In Week 4, the eyes of the state turn to St. Charles Parish as one of the country’s most heated rivalries takes stage for another chapter. Hahnville hosts Destrehan this time around and will attempt to score its first win over its cross-parish rival since 2017. Hahnville hung tough early in the game between the teams last season before Destrehan’s championship-ready squad pulled away to the tune of a 41-3 victory. Hahnville posted a mark of 6-5 overall last season, reaching the playoffs as Division I non-select’s 17 seed before falling at Ouachita Parish, 35-21.

Of course, in addition to the usual bragging rights that go to the winner of the rivalry battle, this will be the District 7-5A opener for both sides, meaning both teams will be also trying to avoid falling into an early 0-1 district hole.

Destrehan returns home in Week 5, where it meets up with H.L. Bourgeois for DHS’ second district matchup. Bourgeois went 1-9 last season and fell to Destrehan 47-0 at home in their meeting last season. Then it’s back on the road for Week 6 and a date with Central Lafourche, another retooling squad after a 2-8 season a year ago. DHS bested Central 49-0 in that season’s matchup.

Terrebonne had a strong start to its 2022 campaign, going 3-2 before stumbling down the stretch to five straight losses, including a 42-6 loss to Destrehan. The Tigers will be on the road at DHS this time around and the team will be looking to take a step forward this season under second-year head coach and former West St. John star Tyler Lewis, who took the helm of a program that went 1-6 a year prior.

Destrehan has a district bye in Week 8 and will face off with non-district foe Sulphur for the second straight year, this time at Wildcat Stadium.
Sulphur, of District 3-5A, went 4-6 last season and fell 49-10 in its Week 8 matchup with Destrehan. The Tors could have a different look this season under a new head coach, as Cody Gueringer takes over the program after going 17-7 at Welsh, including a 10-2 mark and playoff victory in 2022. Neither team will be able to climb the district standings, but the matchup is nonetheless important  – as are all now in the power points era of seeding.

Destrehan’s final regular season home game comes Week 9 against district and River Parishes rival East St. John, coming off of two games last season that were swept by Destrehan, but nothing about that series was matter of fact.

There was a tremendous amount of hype entering the teams’ Week 9 matchup at Joe Keller Stadium in Reserve last year. Both teams entered at 8-0, and ESJ was circled by many as perhaps the biggest test Destrehan would have prior to the playoffs after DHS rolled through its first eight games with ease. Instead, Destrehan shocked many with the ease it handled its rival, all but finishing the job after just a quarter in what became a 48-7 blowout.

In the Division I quarterfinals, back at Joe Keller, the game had much less hype given the prior result, but the stakes were far greater. East St. John did not go as quietly – at all – throwing the biggest scare into Destrehan to date that season as DHS survived 21-20. Travon Thomas broke up a 2-point passing play that would have put ESJ ahead in the game’s late moments, sealing the win.
It was hardly the first game between the teams that’s given the fans in attendance plenty to remember over the years, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Destrehan’s final regular season matchup comes on the road at Thibodaux. The Tigers went 4-6 last season, the final loss coming 42-7 in the final game of the regular season. Thibodaux went 3-3 in district play and will be another team on Destrehan’s schedule welcoming a new head coach, with the Tigers introducing E.D. White alum Drey Trosclair to guide the program. Trosclair led Plaquemine to a 9-1 record in his lone season with the team in 2022.

 

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