It took a little while for Destrehan to find its footing last season, before a late season winning streak propelled the Wildcats all the way to the Superdome.
This time around, they find themselves on a roll much earlier.
DHS earned its fifth straight win in decisive fashion Friday at home, as it bested Thibodaux 33-7 in District 7-5A action.
Razan Keller had his latest big day in what’s become a string of them, scoring three times on the night to pace the Destrehan offense. Jai Eugene Jr. connected with Leslie Jefferson and Calvin Bullock for touchdowns, and the Destrehan defense suffocated a Thibodaux offense led by a strong quarterback in Luke Alleman.
For Keller, his production has been ticking upward over the past month, and he’s found his way into the endzone with regularity. The run has become the Wildcats’ offensive foundation again this season, just as it was last year, and Keller said that makes things a lot of fun.
“I think the running game’s definitely has improved. When we first started, it was a little sloppy, but as the season has gone along, our practices have gotten better and we’ve got it going,” Keller said.
Keller credited his offensive line for creating the holes – and his blockers, likewise, are quick to credit him.
“I think with us returning Razan, a strong runner and a big, powerful guy, it makes a huge difference,” said senior offensive lineman Eli Taffi. “When you create holes for that guy, they don’t have to be the biggest, he can hit it and go. If he’s one on one in the hole with somebody, I’ve got 100 bucks on Razan Keller.”
Taffi added the offense, of which he is among just two returning starters, found its identity following the first two games of the season.
“I think after the St. Paul and St. James games we realized, hey, let’s pound the rock and wear them down, make them quit in the third quarter and early fourth. If we do that, the fourth quarter should be easy,” Taffi said
The Wildcats (5-1, 4-0) struck first early in the first quarter when Eugene dialed up Jefferson, who took a short pass the distance for a 43-yard touchdown reception.
DHS went up 13-0 when Keller capped Destrehan’s second drive of the night with a nine yard touchdown run. He soon struck again, his next score on a 38-yard touchdown run that made it 20-0.
Thibodaux (2-4, 1-3) got on the board after the Tigers’ defense recovered a Destrehan fumble deep in DHS territory. It made good on the positive field position, scoring on Ferronte Miller’s 14-yard touchdown run.
Destrehan got back to a three touchdown lead, though, when Eugene nailed down his second touchdown pass of the night, this one over the top to Bullock to make it 26-7 late in the second quarter.
Thibodaux came up just shy of adding another touchdown just prior to halftime, as an Alleman pass to Brayson Rodrigue was down at the 1-yard line as time expired in the first half.
In the third quarter, things didn’t go quite so smoothly for DHS. A lost fumble and then a blocked field goal attempt gave Thibodaux opportunities to claw back into the game. But the Wildcat defense stood tall, as it has in most scenarios this season. A Jhase Gooden sack late in the third quarter short circuited what was perhaps the Tigers’ last shot to make it a game. DHS forced a punt, and on its ensuing drive, the offense found its footing once again, capping things with a 30-yard Keller touchdown run on a fourth and two.
Scott said things weren’t perfect, particularly a rash of sloppy play in the third quarter that stalled the Wildcats from putting things away. But he’s happy with the result overall – which brings Destrehan to 5-1.
“We’re playing to our strengths. The kids are coming out and starting fast, executing at a high level,” Scott said. “We were kind of sluggish in the second half, and there are some things to correct with that. But I’m pleased overall.”