- Feature Story
- Game Preview
- George Becnel
- September 12, 2017 - 6:26pm
Last Saturday was a very unusual day on campus for the Destrehan Wildcats.
A 24-8 loss to St. Charles Catholic handed the Wildcats their first regular-season loss on the field since a 47-44 defeat by rival Hahnville on the final day of the 2012 regular season.
Destrehan finished 4-5 that season – the first year of Stephen Robicheaux’s second stint as Wildcats coach. The Wildcats failed to make the playoffs that year, so there was no “next week” in order to see redemption.
Since that time – until the St. Charles Catholic Comets came along – all of Destrehan’s defeats came in the postseason. Again, the season was over with a loss.
A week prior to the Destrehan-Hahnville game in 2012, the Wildcats lost 22-21 to Bonnabel. The rivalry encounter the following week was the last time the Wildcats had a chance to bounce back from a loss only seven days later.
“The kids had a tough Saturday. The coaches had a tough Saturday. Expectations are high and you don’t expect to lose. We just have to go back to the drawing board and find our mistakes and just get better. That’s what good football teams do,” Robicheaux said.
Sometimes, you just have to tip your hat to a job well done – even if it wasn’t your job. Robicheaux was tipping his hat Monday morning to St. Charles coach Frank Monica and his staff.
“Frank did exactly what he needed to do. He needed to try and limit our possessions,” Robicheaux said. “He mentioned he tried to make John Emery shuffle his feet a little bit and he did that. They did a good job. We made some mistakes but that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. His team was well prepared and played hard and won the football game.”
“Against Lutcher we had a little problem up front defensively and I thought we did a better job against Slidell,” Robicheaux continued. “Their (the Comets’) kids came out and played. They did some things with two tight (ends) that we hadn’t seen and it hurt us a little bit. I thought we played enough defensively to win the football game I just think they kept the ball away from us, and obviously, they had something to do with that. When you have limited possessions I think that hurts you and Frank and them were able to do that.”
The Comets outplayed the Wildcats, Robicheaux said, stressing that Destrehan mistakes ultimately didn’t cost his team the victory. Still, three muffed punts certainly didn’t help matters.
“It’s just one of those things that if you are around the game long enough it kind of happen. I’ve got to do a better job. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching and a better job of getting our guys ready. We knew what we were going to get in St. Charles. Frank does a tremendous job over there and we knew we were going to get 110 percent and those kids came and they know what it is to beat a Destrehan and they took it to us. What a tremendous effort by their kids,” said Robicheuax.
The task now for the Wildcats, who dropped out of the Top 10 in the Class 5A poll, is to put the St. Charles game behind them.
The challenge is a big one with John Ehret visiting Destrehan on Friday night. The Patriots (2-0) have not skipped a beat despite a coaching change only days before the start of the season.
Ehret is coming off a 46-41 triumph over Hahnville. Against the Tigers, Ehret’s Deron Coleman returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and 75-yard punt to set up another score. That has to be an eye-opener for a Wildcats team that had special teams problems a week ago.
Ehret is no stranger to the River Parishes. Last season, Destrehan defended the honor of the River Parishes with a 21-7 win over the Patriots after Ehret opened the 2016 season with wins over Riverside and East St. John. Following Hahnville’s loss, the Wildcats have another chance for area redemption.
The Patriots’ spread option attack is directed by junior quarterback Travis Mumphrey.
“He’s a tall, rangy kid. He runs the ball well and throws the ball well. He makes great decisions,” said Robicheaux.
One of his decisions is the option to hand the ball off to Terrell Brown.
“Their offensive line is huge. Guys just get in (opposing) guys’ way and Terrell Brown runs extremely hard and he runs angry and he’s a tough back to bring down,” Robicheaux said.
Another option is to get the ball in the hands of receiver Jammal Houston, a Colorado State commitment.
“Houston catches a lot of balls and he’s special out there,” said Robicheaux. “They have so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball that it’s hard to zero in and stop one phase of it because they are so good at whatever they do.”
The defensive front for Ehret is similar to the Patriots’ counterparts on the offensive line, according to Robicheaux.
“Defensively, they just are so big up front, they just manhandle people. Earl Barquet, Zaven Fountain and Byron Jenkins are three really great players on the d-line. At linebacker, Shyheim Harris and Branden Jeudy are big, physical kids. In the secondary, Barry Smith is a free safety and Deron Coleman and Brandon James do a tremendous job at cornerback,” said Robicheaux.
The Patriot defense, Robicheaux said, likes to apply pressure.
“They will come after you. They are big and physical. They will bring pressure and they will make your quarterback move because they are so physical and big up front. The cover guys on the back end, hopefully, we can do some things to slow down their pressure. That’s one thing we will have to look at to see if we can move the football,” said Robicheaux.
A loss is unusual for Destrehan but with eight games remaining in the regular season, the Wildcats still have much to play for.
“I told our kids, our goals are still there. We can still achieve any goal we want to except for an undefeated season. There is still a lot out there to play for. These guys can accomplish a lot of things this season and we will just have to keep working toward those goals,” Robicheaux said.