It almost certainly didn’t take much arm-twisting to garner the focus of the Destrehan players last week, coming off of the team’s first loss of the season and into its heated rivalry game against Hahnville.
The Wildcats turned that focus and their execution into a 28-15 victory that put the Wildcats’ program back on its familiar path of winning, but the challenge for this week will be to battle the potential of an emotional letdown as Thibodaux visits Destrehan this Friday night.
“It’s kind of the opposite scenario,” Robicheaux said. “We came out and got a win against a rival and I was real happy with how we approached it coming off a tough loss (to John Ehret) in Week 3. But these kids have been business-like all year. They’re all about going out and winning the next one, so I think we should be OK.”
Last year, Destrehan broke open a defensive battle to earn a 24-6 win at Thibodaux, a game in which John Emery rushed for 215 yards to lead the Wildcats. Two years ago, Destrehan earned a win in a completely different manner, earning a shootout win on the road, 48-33, similar to the 51-40 win Destrehan earned at Thibodaux in 2015. In 2014, it was another defensive struggle that Destrehan took, this time 21-14.Destrehan’
Robicheaux said Thibodaux rarely makes it easy.
“Historically, we’ve been fortunate enough to win, but they’ve been in some very good games,” Robicheaux said. “There are no guarantees. It’s always been a tough game for us.”
One reason Robicheaux believes this year’s Tigers team could bring a similar challenge is team speed, which he said matches up well with Destrehan’s own considerable athleticism.
Thibodaux has gone 3-1 in their first four games, with wins over South Lafourche, H.L. Bourgeois and Vandebilt Catholic, with their lone loss coming at the hands of East Ascension.
Sophomore running back Ferronte Miller has been an explosive playmaker that powers the Thibodaux offense. Robicheaux compared him to John Ehret rusher Damond Leonard in his blend of speed and physicality.
He’ll likely have a bit of extra room to run with space created by Thibodaux’s wide receivers, led by 6-foot-3 Kyren Lacy.
“They’ve got some wide receivers that really concern me,” Robicheaux said. “(Lacy) is a really good player ,,, they’ve got some big wide receivers who catch it well. And of course their offensive line is so big. They can cause some problems for you.”
Defensively, defensive tackle Courtney Poche, linebacker Khalil Brisco and defensive backs Rimond Thompson and Tyren Young are among standouts.
“They’re very athletic .. .they run to the ball and they’re physical,” Robicheaux said. “We’ve been fortunate enough to wear people down and take over in the third and fourth quarters. We might have to do the same thing this week to have success.”
A strong Destrehan offensive line has helped paved the way for the team’s two talented running backs, Emery and Kyle Edwards, to post some eye-catching statistics. Emery is ticketed to play at Georgia next year, while Robicheaux believes Edwards, a junior, could be next in line to earn his way to an SEC school.
Emery has rushed for 665 yards on 77 carries through four weeks. Edwards has piled up 228 yards on 36 carries. In last week’s rivalry win, Emery tallied 170 yards on 22 carries while Edwards nearly hit 100 yards himself on 14 attempts, finishing with 96.
While Edwards is often overshadowed by Emery, one of the nation’s top recruited running backs, Robicheaux said what the former brings to the Wildcats is unmistakable.
“We’ve got those two backs over 200 pounds who can just pound it in there,” Robicheaux said. “Emery’s more of a slasher, Edwards runs so hard downhill with his power. You love to finish games with a guy like that … (Edwards) had a quiet 96 yards somehow against Hahnville. It was the kind of game you love to see from your 1-2 punch.”
The two backs can be competitive with one another, Robicheaux said, but their bond is very strong.
“They have a special relationship,” Robicheaux said. “They pull for one another and they feed off one another’s success. When you can have those fresh legs in the fourth, it makes a big difference.”Destre