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Destrehan-East St. John a rivalry all its own as teams meet Friday

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  • George Becnel
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  • October 04, 2018 - 4:32pm

File photosStephen Robicheaux's sixth-ranked Destrehan squad can move to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in District 7-5A play with a victory over East St. John on Friday night.


The East St. John-Destrehan rivalry may be bigger than a lot of people think.

“It’s as good a rivalry as Hahnville-Destrehan,” declared Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “To the kids, East St. John is a big rival. They know a lot of the kids over there.”

Destrehan is riding high as usual going into the game Friday at Joe Keller Stadium in Reserve, sporting a 4-1 record overall and 2-0 in District 7-5A play. Destrehan also is ranked No. 6 in Class 5A.

East St. John goes into the game 2-3 overall and 1-1 in district play. ESJ is coming off a 7-6 mud and slop-filled 7-6 loss last week to H.L. Bourgeois in Houma. East St. John opened district play with a convincing 31-0 victory over Central Lafourche. In other non-district action, ESJ lost to Plaquemine 42-20 and was nipped 16-14 by McDonogh 35.

“They lose by two to McDonogh 35 and don’t know what would have happened in the Bourgeois game if it hadn’t rained. They easily could be 4-1 right now,” Robicheaux said of ESJ.

Quarterbacking East St. John’s offense is Sean Shelby. Shelby was inserted into the starter’s role a few weeks ago, with Dasmain Crosby moving to receiver to take better advantage of his athleticism.

“I think the quarterback likes to run the ball a lot with the quarterback zone and the power flow,” Robicheaux said of Shelby. “He’s doing a good job of throwing the short passes. They hit some big ones against Central Lafourche but I really like the way he throws the short passing routes.

“You know you have to cover the short passing routes but you know they can take it deep at any time. They are very tough to defend.”

Along with Crosby, others in the receiving corps capable of going deep at any time include Dontae Fleming, David Hargrave and Hoxie Brown.

“Hoxie Brown is a big, ole kid. They move him in and out. They put him at tight end and then they move him out to the slot. He’s a load when he’s out there,” Robicheaux said.

East St. John’s running backs include Pershing Toney, Calvin Gardner and Reginald Foster.

Defensively, ESJ has become more aggressive than at the start of the season, according to Robicheaux.

“They have some guys that are really active. They sat back more at the beginning of the year but now they are coming and blitzing,” the Destrehan coach said.

Among those doing the blitzing are inside linebackers Trevion Hampton and Devontay Morgan.

“They are blitzing a lot more and they are coming a lot more, and they are tough to block,” Robicheaux said of the duo.

Joining Hampton and Morgan at linebacker is Kendrell Holmes.

“He’s an outside linebacker/safety kid,” Robicheaux noted.

Jarius Monroe, at 6-foot-2, catches the eye of most opposing coaches.

“Monroe might be their best player in the secondary. He’s just a big kid that does a good job at corner,” said Robicheaux.

Howard Joseph is a returner starter at cornerback while the safeties are Shawn Sterling and Antonio Sanders.

“They cover well. They come down and play the run real physical. They always seem to be around the ball,” Robicheaux said of the East St. John secondary.

Up front for ESJ are Matthew Billings, Welland Williams and Terrell Simmons.

Regardless of records of the teams through the years, East St. John typically has given Destrehan a tough time. That was evident a year ago in Destrehan’s 35-34 triumph in overtime.

“They have the weapons. They have some good players. They always do. It’s East St. John,” Robicheaux said.

The East St. John-Destrehan rivalry may be bigger than a lot of people think.

“It’s as good a rivalry as Hahnville-Destrehan,” declared Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “To the kids, East St. John is a big rival. They know a lot of the kids over there.”

Destrehan is riding high as usual going into the game Friday at Joe Keller Stadium in Reserve, sporting a 4-1 record overall and 2-0 in District 7-5A play. Destrehan also is ranked No. 6 in Class 5A.

East St. John goes into the game 2-3 overall and 1-1 in district play. ESJ is coming off a 7-6 mud and slop-filled 7-6 loss last week to H.L. Bourgeois in Houma. East St. John opened district play with a convincing 31-0 victory over Central Lafourche. In other non-district action, ESJ lost to Plaquemine 42-20 and was nipped 16-14 by McDonogh 35.

“They lose by two to McDonogh 35 and don’t know what would have happened in the Bourgeois game if it hadn’t rained. They easily could be 4-1 right now,” Robicheaux said of ESJ.

Quarterbacking East St. John’s offense is Sean Shelby. Shelby was inserted into the starter’s role a few weeks ago, with Dasmain Crosby moving to receiver to take better advantage of his athleticism.

“I think the quarterback likes to run the ball a lot with the quarterback zone and the power flow,” Robicheaux said of Shelby. “He’s doing a good job of throwing the short passes. They hit some big ones against Central Lafourche but I really like the way he throws the short passing routes.

“You know you have to cover the short passing routes but you know they can take it deep at any time. They are very tough to defend.”

Along with Crosby, others in the receiving corps capable of going deep at any time include Dontae Fleming, David Hargrave and Hoxie Brown.

“Hoxie Brown is a big, ole kid. They move him in and out. They put him at tight end and then they move him out to the slot. He’s a load when he’s out there,” Robicheaux said.

East St. John’s running backs include Pershing Toney, Calvin Gardner and Reginald Foster.

Defensively, ESJ has become more aggressive than at the start of the season, according to Robicheaux.

“They have some guys that are really active. They sat back more at the beginning of the year but now they are coming and blitzing,” the Destrehan coach said.

Among those doing the blitzing are inside linebackers Trevion Hampton and Devontay Morgan.

“They are blitzing a lot more and they are coming a lot more, and they are tough to block,” Robicheaux said of the duo.

Joining Hampton and Morgan at linebacker is Kendrell Holmes.

“He’s an outside linebacker/safety kid,” Robicheaux noted.

Jarius Monroe, at 6-foot-2, catches the eye of most opposing coaches.

“Monroe might be their best player in the secondary. He’s just a big kid that does a good job at corner,” said Robicheaux.

Howard Joseph is a returner starter at cornerback while the safeties are Shawn Sterling and Antonio Sanders.

“They cover well. They come down and play the run real physical. They always seem to be around the ball,” Robicheaux said of the East St. John secondary.

Up front for ESJ are Matthew Billings, Welland Williams and Terrell Simmons.

Regardless of records of the teams through the years, East St. John typically has given Destrehan a tough time. That was evident a year ago in Destrehan’s 35-34 triumph in overtime.

“They have the weapons. They have some good players. They always do. It’s East St. John,” Robicheaux said.

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.