- Feature Story
- Game Recap
- George Becnel
- November 18, 2017 - 9:43am
Even with his team down 22-0 early in the second half, Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said he felt his team still had a chance in the Wildcats’ 22-14 second-round Class 5A playoff loss against visiting Barbe on Friday night.
“We were moving the football but we were just shooting ourselves in the foot. I thought we could get it close and we did,” Robicheaux said.
Three lost fumbles in the first half contributed to Destrehan falling behind 15-0 at halftime before Barbe stretched the advantage to 22-0 on the opening drive of the third quarter.
Barbe faced fourth down at the Destrehan 35. Needing only a yard to pick up a first down, Buccaneers quarterback Luke Richard ran right up the middle all the way to the end zone for Barbe’s 22-point advantage.
Along with his touchdown, Richard also came up with several key runs to help keep drives alive for the Bucs throughout the game.
“He’s run our offense well. When he saw that, he took advantage of it and you can’t ask for anything more,” Barbe coach Mike Cutrera said of his quarterback.
Destrehan, the No. 8 seed, countered for its first points of the game on the ensuing drive on a 23-yard touchdown pass from J.R. Blood to Carson Rieder to make it 22-7. Blood finished the game 15 of 25 passing for 250 yards.
Having gained the momentum, the Wildcats marched again on their next possession. Destrehan running back John Emery, seeing his first action since suffering a broken right wrist at midseason, powered his way from the Barbe 12-yard line but fumbled going into the end zone.
For Emery, who rushed for 138 yards, in was one of three fumbles on the night. The junior running back played with a small cast on his right wrist.
The cast, coupled with not having been hit in several weeks, may have contributed to the fumbles, both coaches said.
“That being his first game back and not being hit in that many weeks, that probably tends to happen, but he’s a very, very good running back,” Cutrera said.
“It could be a combination of both. He’s a warrior. He’s a guy that just fights and fights and fights and if he had gone down on first contact, he wouldn’t have fumbled the ball a couple of times. I’ll take him any day. He’s just a tremendous athlete and works very hard and I would want him on my team any day,” said Robicheaux.
Emery made quick amends, racing wide left for 18 yards for a touchdown on Destrehan’s next possession to rally the Wildcats to within eight points with 11:17 remaining in the game.
Destrehan’s defense forced a punt a Buccaneers punt from Barbe 9-yard line with less than three minutes left in the game but a long roll on the kick caused the Wildcats to take possession back at their own 33-yard line.
The Wildcats reached the Barbe 18-yard line with less than a minute remaining. After a Barbe defender deflected a pass, Blood was dropped for a 1-yard loss. Out of timeouts, Blood spiked the ball to stop the clock with 26 seconds remaining. Facing fourth-and-11, Blood’s pass into the end zone was incomplete, bringing Destrehan’s season to an end.
“We score two (touchdowns) to make it 22-14 and our defense played tremendous in the second half. We had a chance to tie it at the end and didn’t get it done,” Robicheaux said.
The defeat ended Destrehan’s season at 9-3. It was the first loss for the Wildcats after a 2-2 start.
“I’m very proud of this team. This team came back,” Robicheaux said. “The last few years we haven’t had a whole lot of adversity and our kids had a lot of adversity this year. We lost a good defensive player early and then John and two running backs and the guys kept fighting and playing.
“I wish we were still playing, obviously, but when it’s all said and done, you can look back and say this team did a good job.”
Barbe, the No. 9 seed, improved to 11-1 on the season and advances to take on top-ranked West Monroe.
Emery’s first fumble was recovered by Barbe’s Andre Lee at the Destrehan 15-yard line at the 5:32 mark of the first quarter.
Destrehan’s defense held and the Buccaneers had to settle for a 32-yard Mason Caldwell field goal.
Barbe reached the Destrehan 5-yard line in the second quarter but a sack of Richard for a 7-yard loss again caused the Bucs to settle for a 35-yard field goal and a 6-0 edge.
Emery broke loose from his own 26 and crossed midfield before fumbling at the Barbe 47.
Six plays later, Dana Fontenot scored from 2 yards out to make it 12-0 with 34 seconds left before halftime.
Destrehan return man Dontrell Smith returned the ensuing kick near midfield but fumbled at the Wildcats’ 46.
The miscue led to a 23-yard Campbell field goal on the final play of the first half to give Barbe a 15-0 lead at the break.
Despite the turnovers, the Wildcats managed to stay within striking distance with the Bucs unable to take full advantage of the Destrehan mistakes.
“The thing was we only got three points, which kept them in the game. When we get in those situations, we need to score touchdowns,” Cutrera said.