Down 7-0 at Covington in its Class 5A second round matchup, Destrehan took the field for the second half with a clear plan in mind to get on track offensively: run early, run often.
And, in this particular case, run always.
The Wildcats (9-3) did not call a single pass in the second half as it unleashed Kyle Edwards and Razan Keller behind Destrehan’s “Mudcats” offensive line to score on three consecutive possessions, while the DHS defense allowed no offensive points in a 17-7 victory over the Lions.
No. 7 seed Destrehan advances to the state quarterfinals, where it will host No. 2 West Monroe next Friday night.
After the first half produced no offensive points – Covington’s lone score came on an interception return by Oklahoma committed linebacker Edgerrin Cooper for a touchdown — DHS head coach Stephen Robicheaux said the adjustment was to answer Covington (7-5) lining up in the box with light numbers with a smashmouth, run first game plan.
“We thought we had to run against a 3-2 box,” Robicheaux said. “We challenged our kids in the second half. We’ve gotta get this figured out. They’re gonna play us in a three man box, we have an Alabama commit (Edwards) and we’ve gotta get them worn down.”
Destrehan scored its first points of the night after a long, time-consuming drive that began with seven minutes on the clock in the third quarter and culminated in a Will Bryant field goal on the first play of the fourth.
Those body blows factored in quickly. Destrehan made a fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff return to immediately take control of the ball again. Edwards punctuated another long drive with a touchdown run to make it 10-7.
“We work a ton,” Edwards said. “When tough times come in like that, they’ve got their hands on their knees tired, and we’re moving … once you could see them walking back out on the field with their heads down, it’s ‘we’ve got ‘em now.’”
Covington didn’t have the ball long before Destrehan forced yet another fumble and recovered, bringing back a weary Lions defense to take the field again. Keller converted a key third down to extend the drive before Edwards punched it in from two yards out with 3:55 left to play, making it 17-7.
Free to rush the passer with impunity up 10, the Wildcats allowed Covington no traction and finished the game allowing no offensive points.
Destrehan was seemingly in crisis mode at midseason with three losses in four weeks, but the team used it as fuel. As a result, one of Louisiana’s power programs is back in the state quarterfinals.
“It feels great because everyone was doubting us when we lost three games, but now you come out and make round three,” Edwards said. “And you just keep going from there.”