Winners of seven consecutive games – the latest of which an exciting victory over archrival Hahnville – Destrehan now seeks to channel that momentum into another run to the Superdome, starting with a round one win this Friday night in Wildcat Stadium.
Ouachita Parish (1-4), the No. 28 seed in Class 5A, will visit No. 5 Destrehan (7-1) for an opening round matchup at 7 p.m. Friday.
Destrehan’s win over Hahnville secured the outright District 7-5A crown, the Wildcats nailing down an unbeaten 6-0 mark in league play. The rivalry battle was a back and forth seesaw of momentum that Destrehan ultimately won led by two strong efforts by its senior leaders: Razan Keller rushed for more than 200 yards and scored three touchdowns, while Tyler Morton intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.
It also extended a trend in a few of the Wildcats’ big games this season, most notably one that played out in a comeback win over East St. John earlier this season: Destrehan fell behind Hahnville 16-7 at halftime, but dominated the second half. Once again, the Wildcats proved to be a team that finishes strong.
“I think that’s a tribute to our players and to our coaching staff for getting these kids refocused. They’ve done a good job connecting with our kids, making sure they understand what we need to adjust and getting corrections made at halftime,” said Destrehan head coach Marcus Scott. “They really focus on each position, then hit that reset button to where we go out and turn it up a notch.”
For Ouachita Parish, the opening round game comes after a two-week layoff. A number of positive COVID-19 cases within the program were reported in early November, causing the team to shut down its final two weeks following a 23-14 loss to West Monroe, without a clear indication of what it might mean for the team’s playoff fortune.
The Lions held on, though, and despite an unimpressive record bring an interesting profile: three of its four losses came by single digits: to an 8-0 Union Parish team, 44-41; to 7-1 Haughton, 14-7; and the nine-point loss to West Monroe, which was 4-1 before it was forced to shut down for the final two weeks. Ouachita’s other loss came 24-0 to Ruston, and the Lions’ lone win was a 62-26 victory over Bastrop (4-4).
“Their record is 1-4 but you can’t go by that,” Scott said. “They lost to some of the top teams in the state. Their district is full of some really good teams, and they played those teams tough. All of their games were close.”
It’ll be a challenge, Scott said, and another reminder that in Class 5A, a lower seeded team isn’t something to take for granted, given the quality of the classification’s programs throughout.
Ouachita looks to run the football first, something it will have in common with the Wildcats. Boris Richard (6’2, 205 lbs.) and Marcell Henderson (5’10, 172 lbs.) are the team’s brand of “Thunder and Lightning” in the backfield.
“They kind of complement each other, that inside and outside skill set,” Scott said.
The Lions also have speedy wide receivers, including Dearrio Jacobs, at the disposal of quarterback Zach Shaw.
Defensively, linebacker Carmycah Glass leads a defense that switches between three and four man fronts.
“They all come off the ball hard on the line,” Scott said. “(Glass) is very active. They present a challenge.
“It’s a tradition rich, very good program out of North Louisiana. We know the type of job they do. Watching them on film, they play extremely hard and they’ve got talent. We’ll have our hands full.”