With Shane Lee drawing the focus of the Hahnville Tigers’ defense Friday night, Destrehan called on its sophomore starting quarterback Jackson Fields to stand tall under the intense spotlight of the Battle on the River rivalry.
And Fields – as well as a very talented group of receivers – seemed downright comfortable under that pressure.
He passed for more than 300 yards and tallied five touchdown passes – with Johnnie Thiel IV on the receiving end of three of those – as Destrehan rolled to a 47-11 victory in Boutte in the District 7-5A opener for both teams.
“Coach (Greg) Boyne does a good job of getting me prepared,” Fields said with a nod to the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator. “He’s taught me good habits and I felt really prepared. We’ve got great weapons … that makes my job a lot easier.”
One of those weapons, Thiel, said he and his teammates were ready for this rivalry matchup.
“We’ve got the best wide receivers’ room in the state,” Thiel said. “We lost a lot of guys (off of last year’s team at wide receiver) and we have a lot of young guys ready to step in. We’ve just had to put it together, like a puzzle.”
Thiel said he and Fields are only getting more comfortable.
“We’ve got that connection,” Thiel said.
The victory is the 18th in a row for the defending state champion Wildcats, extending the state’s longest win streak.
Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott pointed to some penalties and miscues throughout the night as general sloppiness that he said will have to be addressed, but he was pleased with the offense’s ability to adapt to a gameplan centered around shutting the Destrehan running game down.
“We have to be able to spread the ball around and open the run game. We were able to do that tonight and get the ball to several different guys,” said Scott, who has not lost a regular season game since his first on the DHS sideline as head coach in 2020.
Destrehan (4-0, 1-0) started fast, even with poor starting field position after a tackle at Destrehan’s own 10 by Hahnville’s Ryan Simmons. After a pair of Shane Lee carries, Jackson Fields hit Johnnie Thiel IV off play action on a slant for 25 yards – that soon became a trend on the night. On the very next play, Fields hurled a ball over the top of the HHS defense to Jabari Mack on a post – the 55-yard play set Destrehan up inside the 5, and Lee punched it in from four yards away to cap the 90-yard drive and make it 7-0.
A Gideon Bowman sack derailed Hahnville’s next drive, forcing a punt. DHS nearly blocked the kick, but it was a short one from the back of Hahnville’s end zone and DHS took over just outside the HHS redzone.
On second down, Fields threw a rocket to Greg Wilfred for an 18-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.
Hahnville (1-3, 0-1) answered with a field goal on its next possession, one key play coming when Gregson faked a handoff then fired a ball downfield to Calvin Smith at the DHS 30. A few plays later, Hahnville’s Myles Borey showed off his powerful leg: a 49-yard field goal got Hahnville on the board, 14-3.
Early in the second quarter, Destrehan struck again, and once again it was Fields connecting with Thiel for a long score – this one a 62-yarder off a slant which made it 21-3.
Hahnville responded, a Gregson pass to Kobe Louis setting up a 6-yard Smith touchdown out of the Beast formation to make it 21-11 – HHS added a two-point conversion to cut the DHS lead to 10.
But the Tigers couldn’t slow the Destrehan passing attack. Fields went over the top again to Mack for a long completion, then a screen pass to Lee chewed up 34-yards. Fields threw a slant to Thiel for their second touchdown connection of the day, giving DHS a 28-11 halftime lead.
“Giving up the touchdown late kills you, going from 10 to 17,” said Hahnville head coach Daniel Luquet. “We couldn’t get anything going in the second half … we were behind the sticks, we had three-and-outs. Against this type of team, your defense can wear out. We’ve got to get better on offense.”
The Wildcats, as they had in each of their previous two games, pitched a second half shutout and added to the lead offensively.
Fields and Thiel again connected for touchdown number three on the night, making it 34-11 – again, a long catch and run. Lee added his second rushing score of the night to make it 40-11, and Jayden Bailey capped off the scoring on the night with a rushing touchdown of his own.