Already District 7-5A champion after last week’s dominant win over East St. John, Destrehan has one more battle to wage before the start of the playoffs – a road date at Thibodaux.
With a win, the Wildcats likely cement a top five seed for the postseason. Win or lose, however, Destrehan should be hosting its round one opponent in a week’s time, no surprise considering the team’s body of work: Destrehan (5-0, 5-0) has bested each of its five opponents this season by 31 points or more.
Last year Thibodaux went 4-5 and fell narrowly in round one of the playoffs to John Ehret. The last meeting between Destrehan and Thibodaux went Destrehan’s way late in the 2020 regular season, 33-7.
Ean Rodrigue has led the Tigers (3-3, 3-2) to two wins in a row, including last week’s 27-21 win over rival Terrebonne. Rodrigue accounted for four touchdowns in the victory, including two rushing scores. That success taking off with the football makes sense – Rodrigue played wide receiver for Thibodaux prior to converting to quarterback. Rodrigue entered this season with a few starts under his belt at the latter position already, after stepping in for then-starter Luke Alleman when Alleman was injured last season.
“He makes them go,” said Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott. “He played some quarterback for them last year in addition to what he did as a receiver. He’s a good athlete … a real dual threat. He can throw it, has a very strong arm and he can run it as well. They like to keep the ball in his hands on offense and give him the chance to make plays.”
On the receiving end of both of Rodrigue’s touchdown passes last week was running back Owen Murillo, one of the team’s most dangerous playmakers. Caden Brown is another top target in the offense.
The defense has played well despite the departure of cornerstone defensive lineman Jameian Buxton, a likely Division I signee who transferred to Warren Easton after his family’s home was damaged by Hurricane Ida. Scott said the Tigers are stout up front, particularly up the middle.
That strength will be tested against one of the premier rushing attacks in the state in Destrehan. Last week, Shane Lee stamped his impact – with authority – upon Destrehan’s 38-7 victory over East St. John. Lee averaged nearly 18 yards a carry on a night he carried six times to gain 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Whether it’s Lee, Trey Nixon, Brandon Freeman or Patrick Lebranch, Destrehan’s backs all bring different skillsets to the table. Strong and powerful, Lee often plays the role of the Wildcats’ sledgehammer, punishing the defense between the tackles.
But lest anyone forget, Lee’s also got jets. His long touchdown run – his third and final – on Friday effectively broke ESJ’s back, as he feigned a run inside before a hard cut to the sideline – and race to the endzone.
“When I bounced it to the outside, I just saw all that free space. I couldn’t believe it,” Lee said. “We came out hard tonight … we wanted to end it early.”
Added Scott, “Shane has been a really good player in this parish since he was a little bitty kid. That’s not anything anyone around here isn’t used to seeing. This is who he’s been since he was coming up in recreation ball. He’s always been a dynamic playmaker.”