After a season-opening loss on the road, Destrehan has reeled off two wins in a row behind a developing offense and a suffocating, experienced defense. That defense will face one of its stiffest tests to date in 2020 when explosive Terrebonne comes to town on Friday night.
The primary concern for Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott’s defense, as one might imagine, is Jaylin Lucas, Terrebonne’s dynamic offensive weapon equally dangerous in the running and receiving game. Lucas scored four touchdowns in Week Two against Hahnville, just one big performance in a string of them: so far, he’s rushed for 595 yards and eight touchdowns. The bulk of that came in the season’s first two weeks, as Lucas had his first relatively slow week of the season last Friday, held to for 57 yards on 29 carries by the Thibodaux defense.
So it’s not impossible to stop Lucas – though if that fails, you’re left with a player who tallied eight touchdowns and more than 500 yards on the ground over two weeks.
“He’s a dynamic playmaker and I know we’ll have our hands full with him,” Scott said. “We’ll have to be able to fund him and they use him in a variety of ways. He puts pressure on you. There’s a lot of recognition and a lot of communication that’s required. So whenever you have a player of that magnitude, it’s tough to hold him down.
“The talent will reveal itself at some point. We’ve just gotta hope he doesn’t go crazy.”
But Scott also stressed that while Lucas, the cousin of former Terrebonne quarterback and current Florida State Seminole Ja’Khi Douglas, is every bit as dangerous as his reputation would suggest, he’s far from the only Terrebonne threat. Quarterbacks D’Brendon Hill and Kyrin Robinson rotate, and both represent dual threats to pass and run. Receivers Evan Oliver and Chavez Brown are among those who have made big plays downfield for the Tigers.
“And they have a big, physical offensive line,” Scott said. “They have a full complement of weapons and they do a good job spread the ball out between them.”
Defensively, defensive end/tackle Maason Smith is one of the nation’s top recruits, and blocking him will be the chief challenge for the Destrehan scheme and offensive line. Smith made a game-clinching sack last week to topple Thibodaux last week. Alongside him is Kadan Smith, fellow defensive tackle, and Tylan Matthews, both of whom bring size and disruption up front.
“That defensive front creates problems,” Scott said. “They’re big and they get to the ball.”
While Masson Smith gets the headlines, Kaden Smith is another who should play at the next level.
“He’s strong at the point of attack and he has a good first step,” said Scott. “A tandem like that across from you means you’ve got your work cut out.”
The Destrehan running game has been rounding into form behind its offensive line and three primary ballcarriers – quarterback Jai Eugene Jr. and rushers Razan Keller and Shane Lee.
The three complement each other in different ways. With Eugene’s ability to get outside the pocket, it makes it difficult for teams to crash down on the running backs. Keller, a senior, is the backfield’s bruiser, a powerful running back who is no stranger to carrying the ball in big games after last season’s postseason run to the Superdome. Lee, meanwhile, is the rare freshman player who gets major playing time for Destrehan, and brings an ability to stretch runs out to the outside.
“Razan has the big game experience, a guy who played in the state championship game,” Scott said. “And Shane, it’s rare to find a freshman with his level of composure. Moments don’t seem too big for him.”
No surprise: Destrehan once again boasts a strong one-two punch at running back, a familiar sight to DHS faithful.
“When I was here (as defensive coordinator) before, we had Kristian Mosley, with John Emery spelling him,” Scott said. “Then it was Emery and Kyle Edwards with him. Last year, it was Kyle, with Razan behind him, and now it’s Razan and Shane is his complement. We’ve had a string of backs recently who come through and complement each other’s skills.”