- Feature Story
- Game Preview
- George Becnel
- November 22, 2016 - 6:59pm
The John Ehret Patriots have run roughshod over teams from the River Parishes.
Ehret already owned wins this season over Riverside Academy and East St. John before knocking Hahnville out of the playoffs last week with a 35-28 triumph in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
A state finalist a year ago, the Patriots only have two losses this season – one to Destrehan in Week 3.
The Patriots get another shot at the Wildcats, the top seed in Class 5A, when the teams battle Friday in Destrehan in the quarterfinals.
When Destrehan defeated Ehret the first time around, the Patriots were held to one touchdown in a 21-7 defeat.
Since then, Ehret has played 10 games. The fewest amount of points the Patriots scored in a game during that span was 16 in a win over West Jefferson. Ehret’s 48 points against Haughton in the first round of the playoffs and the 35 versus Hahnville has been more the norm for the Patriot offense.
“They’ve gotten better. They are throwing the ball more. They were one-dimensional earlier in the year. Now, they can run and throw. They have athletes all over the field,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.
A big reason for the improved passing game and increased offensive production has been the development of sophomore quarterback Travis Mumphrey, according to Robicheaux.
“He’s a junior now. He has enough games under his belt that he’s not a sophomore anymore. He really does a good job with the offense, both with the zone read and throwing the football. He’s gotten better every week and that’s why the offense has been putting up a lot of points,” the Destrehan coach said.
Holding the Patriots to a single touchdown once again could prove to be a daunting task for Destrehan, especially after last week’s performance by the Wildcats. Destrehan needed a two-point conversion at the end of the game off of a botched extra-point hold for a 37-36 victory over Mandeville.
‘We took a step backwards on defense,” Robicheaux said. “I imagine Mandeville had something to do with that.”
Since the Week 3 game, the only time the Wildcats have allowed only a single touchdown was in a 47-7 win over Terrebonne to open the playoffs. In Destrehan’s last five wins, excluding the Terrebonne win, the Wildcats have allowed at least 20 points per game.
Changing that trend could be hard against a team with so many weapons such as Ehret.
Running backs Brandon Brown, Byron James and Deron Coleman all can bring fear to an opposing defense.
“They have three real good running backs that could start for just about anybody in the state. They are extremely fast and do a good job in space. They do a good job running the ball, especially after contact,” Robicheaux said.
Ehret’s passing game may have been affected early in the season with the loss of Jammal Houston. One of the top athletes in the state, Houston was lost for the year with an injury.
“With his absence, other people are stepping up,” said Robicheaux. “Edwin Wilkins is playing both ways a little bit. Brandon James is doing a good job. Terrell Brown and Reshawan Jones - they have receivers. Their skilled guys are as good as anybody.”
The Patriots feature a big offensive line.
“They look like a SEC offensive line. They have some big ole boys up front,” Robicheaux said.
One of the big guys up front is Dwayne Fisher, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound tackle. When needed, he moves over to the defensive side to team up with Earl Barquet and Brandon Frazier.
“They are not big, big guys,” Robicheaux said of Barquet and Frazier. “They are tall and lanky and they are guys that can run so they pose a lot of problems for you.”
The Patriots feature a pair of top linebackers in Braden Jeudy and Anthony Hamilton.
“Hamilton runs like a defensive back playing linebacker,” Robicheaux noted.
The secondary is experienced.
Terrell Bailey is a Tennessee commitment. Other veterans in the secondary include Wilkins, free safety Isaiah Windom and strong safety Darius Campbell.
Freshman Brandon James, the brother of Byron James, has had an impact in the secondary as well.
“They are all about the same size. They run to the ball. They have a lot of speed and they are big enough to stop you in the middle,” Robicheaux said of the Ehret secondary.
On the injury front for the Wildcats, senior Kohen Granier got the start at quarterback last week but had to leave the game when a Mandeville defender fell on his injured knee that sidelined him for the second half of the regular season. J.R. Blood came off the bench to help rally the Wildcats. Granier is day-to-day, with Blood waiting in the wings, if necessary.
Regardless of the quarterback, the Wildcats have the athletes to put up points, but can Destrehan slow the Patriots’ offense this time around?
“The big thing that is glaring to us right now is that they are throwing the ball a lot better. Still, you have to stop the run to beat them,” Robicheaux said.