Destrehan will be facing a River Parishes rival in Week 4 of its upcoming football season — but unlike each of the past four years, it won’t be Hahnville, just yet.
The Wildcats will be facing, well, the Wildcats — St. James that is, as Destrehan’s district bye week fell on the season’s fourth week and DHS fans will be treated to three River Parish showdowns in 2019 —four if one factors in traditional jamboree foe Lutcher, and given the classics those teams have had in exhibition fare, it would make sense to do so.
“We were excited to get that done,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “Coach (Robert) Valdez and I both had that week open and we decided to play. It’s two great programs with a lot of great athletes on both sides, and he’s done a tremendous job with their program.”
Destrehan has faced Hahnville and East St. John annually in district competition. It plays Lutcher each year for the jamboree, and has faced off with St. Charles Catholic in each of the past two seasons. Destrehan-St. James has been a dormant matchup, comparatively, for awhile, though Robicheaux fondly remembers some of the past classic matchups between the teams as if they were yesterday.
“I remember 1993, an absolute shootout,” Robicheaux said. “They beat us 40-35. It was just back and forth. We’ve really had some great games with St. James.
“I love the River Parish matchup aspect of it. It’s great for the fans and great for the sport. I think our fans will be excited to see us face off.”
Of course, Hahnville looms large once again. This season, the two St. Charles Parish archrivals will play in Week 10 of the regular season after four consecutive district opening matchups. Like Hahnville coach Nick Saltaformaggio, Robicheaux said it’s a sword that cuts both ways.
“With it being at the end of the season, you hope it plays out to where the last game is for the district championship,” Robicheaux said. “That you know you have to stay focused the whole year and peak at the right time. But the one bad thing is you’re playing a really good football team the week before the playoffs start. You don’t love having that high profile game right before … it can be physical, emotional, and that can help you or hurt you at that point of the year.
“It is what it is, though. It’s the way it came out, and I’m sure it’ll be exciting like always.”
Destrehan will open the season at home against Bonnabel, then travel to Walker, the No. 8 seed in last season’s 5A playoffs that just landed a major coup in the hiring of former University High head coach Chad Mahaffey, who led U-High to multiple state crowns in his time there.
“I guarantee Bonnabel’s improved … Coach (Brett) Bonnaffons has done a great job over there. Walker, that’s kind of a wildcard. We know they have great receivers. (With Mahaffey), you know they’ll be pretty good.”
Then comes a clash at St. Paul’s, traditional Northshore powerhouse and a physical test for the Wildcats.
“St. Paul’s is a program that’s had a lot of success and they’re always a good test for us,” Robicheaux said.
After St. James – SJH will host – comes the District 7-5A opener in Week 5 at H.L. Bourgeois. Destrehan stays on the road for Week Six for a rematch of last season’s top two district finishers – and a playoff rematch at that – with Terrebonne.
Following that game, Destrehan returns home to face an East St. John team Robicheaux said is on the rise under second-year head coach Brandon Brown—and incoming offensive coordinator Larry Dauterive, former ESJ head coach with whom Robicheaux has had several memorable battles with.
Then comes a final regular season road game with Thibodaux before the Wildcats return home to host Hahnville.
“Hahnville, in my opinion, will be one of the top teams out there with the guys they have coming back,” Robicheaux said. “East St. John is headed in the right direction under Brandon, and I know Larry will add a lot to their mix. With Terrebonne, they were 9-1 and bring back a lot of those great athletes. Thibodaux was a state champion in basketball, and they’ll have a lot of talent on the field as well. I think we’re in for a lot of really good games and good football in our district.”
Destrehan 2019 Schedule
9/6 vs. Bonnabel
9/13 at Walker
9/20 vs. St. Paul’s
9/27 at St. James
10/4 at Bourgeois*
10/11 at Terrebonne*
10/18 vs. East St. John*
10/25 at Thibodaux*
11/1 vs. Central Lafourche*
11/8 vs. Hahnville*