- Game Recap
- RPF Staff
- November 23, 2018 - 11:06pm
By Tate Roussel
Facing off for the second time in less than a month, it was J.R. Blood and John Emery who carried Destrehan to a 31-14 victory over the visiting Terrebonne Tigers on Friday night as the Wildcats move one game closer to a spot in the Class 5A state championship game.
“As a team, we’re all hungry,” said John Emery, the nation’s top-ranked running back and LSU commitment. “Our goal is to get to the Dome and win a state championship, and that’s what we’re doing.”
The win advances Destrehan (12-1), the No. 2 seed, to the semifinals. The Wildcats will host Zachary, the No. 6 seed next Friday. Zachary eliminated Acadiana 26-14. Acadiana was the No. 3 seed.
The first meeting between these two teams came during the last week of the regular season that resulted in a 49-20 Wildcat victory to claim the district title.
Blood and Emery have put on impressive performances all season and Friday night was no different.
Blood completed 15 of his 21 attempts for 192 yards. He also rushed for 43 yards.
Emery totaled 201 yards on the ground and four touchdowns, three coming in the final quarter.
“We just committed to the run. He’s special. They climb in the box and they play eight in the box all the time to try and stop him, but he’s phenomenal. He does a great job,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “We’re glad he’s on our team.”
Rain began to fall halfway through the first quarter and it became clear that the first half would turn into a battle of defense and field position.
The Wildcat defense was able to limit the Terrebonne offense to just 125 total yards in the first half, preventing the Tigers (11-2) from getting into a rhythm to move the ball.
“We wanted to throw the ball more, but when we tried it just wasn’t very successful for us,” said Terrebonne coach Gary Hill. “We just couldn’t get the momentum on offense.”
It was the Tiger’ special teams unit that was most effective in limiting the Wildcat in the first half. Destrehan was faced with a long field on nearly every drive in the first half. With an average starting field position of their own 28 yard-line throughout the first two quarters of play, the Wildcat offense struggled to move into scoring position.
The lone score of the first half came on the Wildcats’ most impressive drive of the half.
After a great Tiger punt pinned the Wildcats at their own 3-yard line, Destrehan turned to their running game to get them out of their own end zone. Handing the ball off to Emery five consecutive times, the Wildcats were quickly in Tiger territory.
Then came a 31-yard rush by Kyle Edwards. The Wildcats then settled for three on a successful 24-yard field goal attempt to cap off a 10-play, 93-yard scoring drive and a 3-0 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats had another chance to score after being granted their best field position of the half at their own 44-yard line.
Back-to-back runs of more than 15 yards by Emery had the Wildcats threatening in the red zone for the second time, but after a costly holding penalty and an incompletion on third-and-long the Wildcats misfired on a 37-yard field-goal attempt.
The Wildcats went into the break with a 3-0 lead in a very run-heavy first half that saw Emery average 9.3 yards per carry and the Tiger running back, Chaz Ward, go for 42 yards.
“We had to evaluate. The first half they stopped a couple of our formations, so we went into the half and changed our game plan. That’s when we were able to get it going,” said Emery,
The rain began to lighten up in the second half, and the scoreboard saw much more action as Emery was able to get even more going.
On their first drive of the second half, the Wildcats were the first team to find the end zone all night.
A short kickoff set the Wildcat offense up at their own 37-yard line. A 34-yard pass to senior Koby Hollins advanced the ball to the Tiger 2-yard line.
The touchdown was punched in on the following play by Emery for his first score of the night and a 10-0 Wildcat advantage at the 6:08 mark of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter would prove to be much different than the previous three, as the teams would combine for five trips to the end zone.
The first coming on the opening possession which belonged to the Wildcats. It was another deep completion by Blood, this time a 49-yard connection to his tight end, Carson Rieder, that set up the scoring opportunity.
Two plays late, the Wildcats again called on Emery to punch in the score - a 10-yard rush for his second score of the night.
Destrehan now led 17-0 at the 10:42 mark of the final quarter.
On the first play of the following drive, Wildcat defender Trent Smith forced a fumble that was recovered by junior defensive lineman Noah Taliancich.
The takeaway put the Wildcats’ offense at the Tiger 11-yard line with a chance to build on their three-possession lead.
The Tigers had other plans, however, as their defense stepped up to make an incredible play to keep them in the game.
With Blood dropping back to pass, he threw the ball across the middle of the field on a pass that was picked off 4 yards deep into the end zone by Anthony Ruffin.
Ruffin returned the interception 104 yards to cut the deficit to 17-6 after a missed extra point attempt.
The Tigers kicked it short and stopped Emery from attempting the return, but they couldn’t keep him from finding the end zone once again.
The Wildcats answered back with a three-play drive that resulted in Emery’s third score of the night, a 36-yard run and a 24-6 Wildcat lead with slightly less than nine minutes remaining in the game.
The Tigers were able to stay alive on the following drive, thanks to a big return by quarterback Ja’khi Douglas to the Destrehan 41. Three straight plays of more than 12 yards had the Tigers inside the 5-yad line, and it was Douglas with quarterback keeper for the score.
Another keeper on the two-point conversion was successful, as the Tigers answered back to make it a 24-14 game at the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter.
The final dagger for the Tigers came on the following drive.
Rushing attempts by Edwards and Blood set the Wildcats inside Tiger territory before Emery broke off a 17-yard run to seal the victory for his team with just 2:13 remaining in the game.