For the first time in over a year, Destrehan trailed at halftime of a prep football game as visiting East Ascension took a 7-0 lead into the break at Wildcat Stadium.
But much like it did last week in a 24-7 victory over John Ehret, Destrehan dominated the second half against the Spartans, scoring all three touchdowns after halftime in a 21-7 victory that extended the Wildcats’ state-high winning streak to 17 games.
Destrehan (3-0) got touchdown runs from Shane Lee, Anthony Robinson and Jackson Fields to take control of the game. The Wildcats also recorded a critical defensive stop at its goal line to turn back an East Ascension (0-3) possession.
“We made a few adjustments,” said Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott. “We thought we’d have some stuff open in the passing game early and we weren’t able to hit it. We went back to more two back sets in order to protect the passing game a little more (in the second half). Sometimes you come in with a gameplan and you have to adjust it as needed as the game moves along.”
The Wildcats began the second half by recommitting to the run, much as it did in last week’s Ehret win. Shane Lee had four runs of 14 yards or more on the Wildcats’ first drive of the second half, ultimately opening things up for Fields to score on a quarterback keeper from six yards out to tie the game 7-7.
That element of the gameplan arose again on Destrehan’s next possession, when Fields kept and raced for a big chunk of yardage to midfield.
His helmet popped off, however, meaning he would have to miss the next play. Robinson took his place at quarterback for a play and made his rep count: he took off for a 50-yard touchdown run that pushed DHS ahead 14-7 midway through the third quarter.
East Ascension was ready to answer. After a Kolaj Cobbins tackle in the backfield made it third and 11 for the Spartans, Hudson Browning connected with Jackson Chiasson for a 74-yard reception over the top, Chiasson going down at the 1-yard line.
That led to one of the biggest sequences of the night.
East Ascension attempted a quarterback sneak on first down but was whistled for illegal procedure, pushing it back to the 5-yard line. Destrehan’s run defense held tough on the first three downs, stopping a powerful back in Tajh Washington on three straight downs before EA elected to go for it on fourth down from the 2. Browning rolled right but was pressured and could not complete the pass in the endzone, resulting in a turnover on downs with 21 seconds left in the third quarter.
“That was special,” said Scott. “We live by the ‘one blade of grass philosophy.’ If there’s a blade of grass between you and scoring a touchdown, we defend that blade with all we have. It’s an old saying, obviously – nobody has grass anymore. But no matter where the ball is, you have to believe you’ll get a stop.”
Destrehan was backed up against its own goal line, but the Wildcats weren’t rattled. Two passes to Johnnie Thiel, including a pump and go over the top that resulted in a 55-yard reception, set DHS up in the redzone. Lee punched it in from 10 yards out to finish the drive and made it 21-7.
The Spartans’ last gasp came with less than five minutes left to play. Facing a fourth and 11 in Destrehan territory, the Wildcats dialed up a blitz – Gideon Bowman and Kolaj Cobbins got to Browning, Bowman earning 1.5 sacks on that final drive as a whole, and the game was effectively over.
In each of the last two weeks, Destrehan has made the right moves at halftime to turn a game in its favor. It’s kept the Wildcats’ win streak alive, but one thing seems for sure – this is a team that seems certain to get everyone’s best shot as teams attempt to be the first since 2021 to fell the Wildcats.
In terms of game planning, Scott said Destrehan won’t ever be rigid: it simply comes down to whatever it takes.
“Each game is different. Some games we’ll have the pass available to us, sometimes it’s the run. A guy might catch five passes one game and none the next. We have to take advantage of whatever we’re presented with,” Scott said.