It’s been 24 victories in a row for the Destrehan Wildcats, a tremendous accomplishment by any standard.
But the number this team has an eye on is two – as in a second straight championship in a row.
The team’s Division I non-select state championship defense officially begins Friday night at Wildcat Stadium as No. 3 Destrehan hosts No. 14 seeded Belle Chasse in a round two playoff matchup.
Destrehan will be playing well-rested. The Wildcats’ 10-0 record in the regular season earned them a bye week in round one – each of the top four seeds in the bracket were off in the playoffs’ opening week.
And indeed, the team is one week healthier in one very key regard. Starting running back Shane Lee is expected to make his return to the lineup this week according to DHS head coach Marcus Scott. Lee, a senior who has been the engine of the Wildcats’ offense since his sophomore season, has piled up several big rushing nights over Destrehan’s postseason runs. He missed the final three games of the regular season due to injury, but Scott said Lee is well-rested and ready to go.
“He could have played the last two weeks there – we wanted to be cautious,” said Scott. “We’re very excited to have him back.”
At the same time, running back Shane Ward carried the load in Lee’s absence, leaving him all the more experienced for when his number is called over the next several weeks.
“We’re in very good shape with those two,” Scott said. “(Ward) is comfortable now. He’s carried it for us a few weeks in a row and he embraced it.
Last season, Destrehan sprung out of the bye week with a 35-14 win over Dutchtown.
There is always a “rest vs. rust” debate coming out of a bye – the Wildcats have proven to handle it well before as a program, though Scott has cautioned that this is a different group with numerous new starters from a year ago, so nothing can be taken for granted.
No. 14 seeded Belle Chasse dominated its first-round game against No. 19 Parkway, earning a 43-16 win to advance.
The Cardinals (7-3) enter on a four-game winning streak, allowing just 24 points over those four games. Belle Chasse’s three losses all came at the hands of strong opposition in Shaw, Newman and Vandebilt Catholic.
This has been a dangerous early round team in recent years. Last week’s win represents the fifth time in five years that Belle Chasse has reached at least the second round of the state playoffs, highlighted by a quarterfinal run in 2021 – one the Cardinals are attempting to match with a win over Destrehan. Head coach Stephen Myers has been at the helm of the Belle Chasse program for more than a decade and has maintained a tradition of success.
Jaedon Voisin is the central figure on offense. The running back figures to see a big workload, and to see him it’s little question as to why – his 6’3, 250-pound frame can handle the job. Voisin is a two-way player who also stars at linebacker. He is a Southeastern commitment.
“Their run game is outstanding,” said Scott. “(Voisin) is a defensive kid, too. He can also play quarterback, so it makes it tough to prepare for. He’s a dynamic player. They look to get the numbers advantage at the point of attack and they’ve very technically sound in what they like to do.
“They play several kids who can line up in different spots – they’re interchangeable. They played three kids at quarterback last game – some of that is because of injury, but we have to be ready for all of them.”
Amari Ambrose starts at quarterback and Jacob Black is his top target.
Linebacker Cedric Harris and defensive lineman Savion Barthelemy lead the way on defense.
“(Barthelemy) is very active,” said Scott. “(Harris) makes a lot of plays for them.”
In last week’s win over Parkway, Voisin got his team rolling with a 67-yard touchdown run. That was the first of his four touchdown runs on the night.