Turnovers plague Destrehan championship loss

The Destrehan Wildcats fell 23-7 to the Acadiana Rams Friday (Dec. 13) in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A football championship at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome.

The Wildcats leaned heavily on Will Matthews, who pounded his way through a tough Acadiana line throughout the game. Matthews received the Outstanding Player Award for Destrehan.

Matthew’s efforts, however, could not open up the Destrehan passing game. The Wildcat air game was fraught with error, beginning with an interception in the first quarter by quarterback Kohen Granier. That interception was immediately followed by a catch-and-run touchdown by the Rams, putting Acadiana up 7-0 toward the end of the first quarter.

Granier threw another interception later in the quarter, but Acadiana turned the ball over on a fumble on the next play.

Acadiana opened up the second quarter with a march down the field. The drive was capped with a short rushing touchdown that extended the Rams lead by two touchdowns.

The Wildcats were able to develop enough of a rhythm in the second quarter by switching to a combination of screen plays. A Wildcat drive ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Granier with only 52 seconds left in the half.

After the half,  the Wildcat defense had trouble keeping the Acadiana offense off the field.  The Ram logged three more field goals throughout the second half, with each drive eating up large chunks of time.

Destrehan was finally able to move the ball following an explosive run by receiver Alfred Smith to the Rams 32. The offense could not push into the red zone, and a subsequent field goal attempt pulled to the left.

Trailing by more than three touchdowns, an electrifying drive by the Wildcats late in the fourth quarter gave hope, but an endzone pass on fourth down was dropped by receiver John Barrow, all but ending Destrehan’s hope at a title.

The championship loss was the only defeat for Destrehan, who finished the season with a 14-1 record.

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