Destrehan sat at No. 3 in the LSWA Class 5A poll coming into its game at East Ascension Friday night, and long before the final whistle the Wildcats perhaps made a statement loud and clear to the voters.
The Wildcats moved to 3-0 with a dominating 42-2 victory that was all but over after a quarter of play – and one filled with eye-popping highlights throughout.
The Spartans (1-2) brought a defense that had allowed just 45 total points in its first two contests, against No. 1 Zachary and West Monroe, respectively. Destrehan nearly hit that total in a single half, taking a 42-0 lead into the break before the teams agreed to a running clock in the third and fourth quarters. East Ascension’s lone score came with the second units on the field, a safety following an errant snap exchange.
“All week, we’ve been thinking about how big this game would be,” said Daniel Blood, who scored two touchdowns in the game. “Our coaches prepared us so much on how the little things mattered. We came out here and dominated with passion, and we got it done.”
Destrehan was off to the races early on a 3rd and 6. Jai Eugene fired a deep ball down the sideline to Leslie Jefferson, who caught the pass in stride and pulled away for a 76-yard touchdown to put DHS up by a touchdown.
Eugene tossed touchdown no. 2 after a DHS defensive stop, and it was another deep bomb. This time he found Daniel Blood on the opposite side of the field and Blood dashed for a 64-yard score to make it 14-0.
Blood and Eugene have started together for two full seasons entering 2022, and the connection is strong.
“We’ve been building that chemistry ever since we got here,” Blood said. “It’s all been to get us to this point.”
As usual, the running game worked as well. Shane Lee slashed through a good hole opened by the Destrehan line and took it to the outside and down the sideline for a 54-yard touchdown, making it 21-0.
Destrehan made a big play on special teams, recovering a Spartans fumble on the ensuing kickoff and taking over deep in EA territory.
Eugene took in the next score with his legs, a 13-yard run to push the lead to 28-0 before the end of the first quarter.
Destrehan pinned EA against its own goal line on the next possession, with Kolaj Cobbins nearly tackling quarterback Jaylon Lee in East Ascension’s own endzone, but taking him down at the 1.
It created the opportunity for points anyway – East Ascension’s punt to start the second quarter was taken by Blood at the EA 45 and then for 45. He ran through a couple of would-be tackles to finish off the return score, making it 35-0, netting Blood his second punt return touchdown of the season and his sixth total touchdown on the year.
“I trust in my teammates,” Blood said. “I know they’ve got my back when they’re blocking. I just read how they block, I know they’ve got me, and I’m gonna deliver for them.”
An Amare Johnson sack helped stymie EA’s next drive, which was its most promising of the night as Lee led the Spartans to the DHS 32. Destrehan made a 4th down stop to force the turnover on downs.
Then came the play of the night.
Phillip Wright took a sweep play to the left sideline and ran into contact. But Wright maintained his balance and reversed field, stringing the play out from the left to the right sideline – and all the way up the field. It was a footrace and the track standout was not about to be caught en route to a 68-yard touchdown, making it 42-0. Helping to spring the play was Eugene, who laid out a strong block to seal off a potential tackler.
“What a great play by Phillip Wright,” Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott said. “One of the top track kids in the state, a sophomore … honestly we need to get him more opportunities. With the older guys we have, his touches have been limited, like some of the other sophomores. He’s been offered by the University of Miami, and you can see why.”
Eugene’s effort on the play wasn’t so unexpected, Scott said.
“Jai’s a Division I defensive back prospect,” Scott said. “He’s very comfortable being physical.”
Destrehan has outscored its three opponents 133-8 collectively.
They now prepare for a different kind of game entirely: the heated annual rivalry battle with Hahnville next Friday night.