While it would likely be ingenuous to call Destrehan’s clash with Thibodaux this week its biggest of the regular season — Destrehan vs. Hahnville will likely take that mantle, now and forever, given their rivalry — there is certainly plenty enough on the line for the Wildcats Friday night at Thibodaux. With a victory, Destrehan (8-0, 5-0) would clinch the outright District 7-5A championship, a fourth straight unbeaten regular season and potentially the top overall seed in the Class 5A postseason.
Standing in their way, however, is no pushover. Like Destrehan, Thibodaux (6-2, 4-0) is unbeaten in District 7-5A. While the Tigers cannot clinch the league outright with a victory because it still has one game remaining against Hahnville — Destrehan has a bye in week 10 and will be finished district play — it’s a team that would like nothing better than to hand the Wildcats their first district loss since 2012.
Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux quickly summed up a large part of what makes Thibodaux so dangerous in two words, “Amik Robertson.” Robertson, a Louisiana Tech commitment, gets involved in a variety of ways on both sides of the ball, playing defensive back and lining up at multiple skill positions on offense, including quarterback.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Robicheaux said. “They get it to him all over the formation.”
Quarterback Saul Barrilleaux triggers the Tigers spread offense, which has posted an average of 36 points per game this season. Robertson and 5’11 speedster Rochon Washington are his top receivers.
“They put you in a situation where they make you match up with their speed,” Robicheaux said.
The atmosphere at Thibodaux is likely to provide the toughest road environment for the Wildcats this season.
“Playing up there can give you some problems,” Robicheaux said. “They’ve got great fan support and they’ve got a lot to play for. We expect a real challenge.”
Defensively, defensive tackle Darius Richard (6’2”, 300 lbs. provides a mammoth obstacle in the middle of the Tigers line. End Tyrick Hills is another playmaker at defensive end, while Derrick Sullivan and Tyler Brown lead the linebacking corps and secondary, respectively.
Last season, Destrehan won a shootout at home over Thibodaux, emerging as 51-40 victors. Destrehan held a 28-20 halftime lead in that game before seizing control, eventually building a 51-20 lead before Thibodaux scored 20 points late to close the final margin.
With a win, Destrehan would stand a strong chance of clinching the top overall seed in Class 5A, which is determined by a calculation of power points. The last two seasons, Destrehan entered the postseason as the No. 4 seed.
“The best thing about that is if things hold to form and travel is equal, you can continue to host,” Robicheaux said. “You can keep getting those home games, and that can make a major difference.”
Thibodaux fell last week in non-district play at St. Augustine, 38-20.
Destrehan clinched a share of the district title with a 48-27 victory last week at home over visiting H.L. Bourgeois (3-5, 1-3).
For the second straight week, Kristian Mosley kick-started the Wildcats offense by scoring on a long touchdown run, an 85-yarder. Terrebonne tied the game before J.R. Blood connected with Justin Jefferson for an 87-yard score and Destrehan rolled from there.
Mosley scored three times on the night, including a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to go with his 175 rushing yards on eight carries. Blood added three touchdown passes.
After the game, Destrehan principal Stephen Weber presented a commemorative ball to Robicheaux to honor him for winning his 150th game as a head coach.
Robicheaux deflected the praise from himself onto his program.
“That’s not about me. It’s not a win for me. That’s a win for this program,” Robicheaux said. “I just happened be the face in front of the program for last 15 years. That’s for every assistant coach, every guy who ever played here. We talk about it all the time. This program is most important thing. The kids believe, the coaches believe, and that’s why this is such a special place.”