Wildcats, Spartans both fighting for first district win

Destrehan cornerback Joshua Dewey and defensive lineman Joe Sharp keep East St. John running back Andrew Taylor from picking up a first down in last week’s 49-14 loss.

Destrehan wrapped up the most brutal stretch of their schedule without a win as they lost to four ranked teams, including Lutcher, Dutchtown, Hahnville and East St. John by combined score of 155-46.

The Wildcats’ schedule was one of the hardest in Class 5A and is ranked by some as the second most difficult this year. But the good news for Destrehan is that the team is capable of bouncing back in their final two games against East Ascension and St. Amant, who have also struggled in District 6-5A.

The Wildcats’ next opponent, East Ascension, is winless in the district, and their final regular season opponent, St. Amant, only has one district win. That victory came by way of a 45-17 win over East Ascension.

In Destrehan’s last loss, East St. John scored on their opening possession and never looked back as they took advantage of an injured Destrehan defensive line and two major Wildcat turnovers to roll up 49 points in the first half.

The Wildcats from St. John went on to  a 49-14.

“We played poorly in the first half in all areas,” Destrehan head coach Chris Stroud said. “In the second half, our kids gave some effort, but we still  made mistakes.”

ESJ took a 7-0 lead when star receiver D’haquille Williams made an astounding grab on a lofted Darion Monroe pass to the endzone less than one minute into the game. Williams had set up the play earlier by taking the opening kickoff 66 yards.

With 7:11 left in the first quarter, East St. John running back Andrew Taylor broke loose for a 35-yard run that stretched the lead to 14-0. A possession later, Monroe tossed another 31-yard score that sent Destrehan reeling.

With the Wildcats down 21-0, they found themselves in the shadow of their own endzone. Destrehan quarterback Dillan Dent, who was under extreme pressure all night, then tried to make a play with his feet but got blasted in the chest, which caused a fumble. ESJ’s Davontae Johnson scooped up the ball and walked right into the endzone to put his team up 28-0 to end the first quarter.

Destrehan finally got on the board in the third when Kevin Smith, who has been injured for most of the season, broke straight through the line and flew 57 yards down the middle of the field.

But the Destrehan cheers didn’t last long.

ESJ’s Taylor scored his second touchdown of the night on a 36 yard run, then Monroe added a touchdown scramble of his own to stretch the advantage to 42-7.

Williams, who scored his team’s first touchdown, then scored their last by making another leaping grab on a 21-yard pass from Monroe.

The lone Wildcat bright spot in the second half was the team’s second touchdown, which came on a 44-yard run by Rickey Jefferson.

“We have to improve in all phases – offense, defense, blocking and special teams,” Stroud said.

While Destrehan’s next opponent, East Ascension, is winless in district, they are capable of competing with the league’s elite. Against Hahnville, the Spartans almost pulled off the upset before falling 7-3.

They also came out on the losing end of a 48-31 barn burner against undefeated East St. John.

What makes them so hard to prepare for is their split back veer offense, which forces defenses to play a balanced front and reduces the likelihood of blitzing linebackers. The best thing about the offense is that the outside veer, one of the hardest plays in football to defend, can be run effectively to both sides of the formation.

While East Ascension’s offense has put up a lot of points this year, their defense has played extremely well in their four wins, giving up an average of 5.5 points per game.

“They are well coached, very physical on the defensive line and they have the most athletic secondary I have seen them have in four years,” Stroud said. “The key to the game will be for our offense to finish drives, and for us to have no turnovers and penalties.”


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