After 25 consecutive victories, Destrehan’s winning streak – and season – came to an end in the state quarterfinals Friday night.
It took another of the state’s premier programs to snap the state’s longest winning streak – the Zachary Broncos, with four state crowns to their name since 2015. Zachary running back Kameron Thomas rushed for 244 yards and a touchdown, while Trey’dez Green and Tyson George each scored twice in a 35-14 win over the Wildcats at Wildcat Stadium. Zachary advanced to the Division I non-select semifinals with the win and ended Destrehan’s defense of its 2022 state crown.
“This was a big night for us,” said Zachary head coach David Brewerton. “This program’s played in and won a lot of big games. I’m proud of our guys, the way they settled in and played tonight – especially proud to do it at this venue … our defense played really well, played a physical, physical game. And our offensive line was tremendous for us tonight. I can’t say enough about them.”
Destrehan defensive coordinator Tim Taffi said there was no secret that Zachary would enter the game with an eye on running the football. He credited the Broncos for executing well and said once Zachary got near the goal line, it puts the defense in a bind, with the 6’8 Green available for jump balls on the outside. Green hauled in two of those for scores.
“We didn’t get it done tonight,” Taffi said. “I’ve got to do a better job defensively of getting them ready. Credit to Zachary –they were able to run the football. We knew it was what they’d try to do. When they get close, you’ve got the big receiver, you can throw the jump ball … we didn’t have an answer for him. I was very concerned with their size, they’re huge across the front. We just didn’t get it done tonight.”
The Zachary defense likewise proved a large hurdle. The Broncos (12-1) held Destrehan (11-1) to little success in the run game for most of the game. Destrehan had a few opportunities to hit big plays through the air, but came up just short – an overthrow here or a drop there – and Zachary limited the number of chances the Wildcats had to make amends.
“Zachary’s an excellent football team,” said Destrehan offensive coordinator Greg Boyne. “They’re very well-coached and they made us one-dimensional. They forced us to throw the ball and took away (running back) Shane Lee. If I was playing against us, it’s what I’d do, and they did a good job. We had a couple drops, misses early – I’d like to have seen if we get those, if we maybe make it more interesting and put a bit of pressure on them. We just misfired on couple … I’d like to have those back and I know so would our guys.”
This wasn’t the 67-57 matchup of the last meeting between the teams in the 2018 state semifinals. But early on, it looked like fans might be in for another shootout.
Zachary opened up the scoring by marching down the field and punching in the first touchdown, Green pulling down a jump ball from quarterback Hudson Spangler to make it 7-0 with 5:08 left in the first quarter.
Destrehan answered. Jackson Fields hit Anthony Robinson who got loose for a 68-yard touchdown catch and run, tying the game at 7-7.
“We wanted to see if we could dominate the box with minimal people, because of the speed and athleticism they have on the outside. You line up wrong and they can house it real quick, and they caught us a couple times,” Brewerton said.
The Wildcats’ defense came up big next when Myd Gilbert intercepted a pass, setting Destrehan up at the ZHS 45.
But Zachary stopped the Wildcats without allowing damage, then marched down the field for a go-ahead score. George jumped over the top of the pile at the goal line to give his team a 14-7 lead in the second quarter – that held to halftime, as Destrehan blocked a Zachary field goal attempt that could have made it a 10-point lead.
With 3:11 left in the third quarter, it was George again in the same fashion – taking the ball on a direct snap in shotgun and leaping over the top to score, making it 21-7.
Destrehan needed an answer, but the Zachary defense came up with one of the bigger stops of the game as the third quarter came to an end. Destrehan tried to convert a fourth-and-1 with a quarterback sneak, but the Broncos stopped the play just short of the line to gain to create a turnover on downs.
Early in the fourth quarter, Spangler again connected with Green for a touchdown pass, Green again pulling down a contested catch in the endzone.
Destrehan answered on a Shane Lee 2-yard touchdown run that was set up by a long Jabari Mack run on a jet sweep. That made it 28-14. But there was little time to make a rally, and Zachary slammed the door on its next drive as Thomas broke a 35-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats away.
For Destrehan’s senior class, this was just the fourth loss of their tenure at the school.
“Those seniors, like Coach Taffi just said, they’ve done everything we’ve asked since they walked in the door,” said Boyne. “They’ve lost just four times in four years. Those guys (Zachary) account for two of those. It’s tough. It’s tough. They deserve every accolade they’ve gotten. Nobody can take away what they did last year. It doesn’t ease the sting of this year, but they shouldn’t hang their heads. They’ve done this program proud.”