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Facing familiar foes in playoffs nothing new for Destrehan

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  • George Becnel
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  • November 11, 2016 - 12:54pm

File photosDestrehan sophomore J.R. Blood made his first start at quarterback in the Wildcats' 44-17 win over Terrebonne in Week 5 of the 2016 regular season.

For Destrehan, the start of the 2016 Class 5A playoffs is a matter of been there, done that.

An unbeaten and top-seeded Wildcats team opens the postseason Friday by hosting District 7-5A foe Terrebonne, a team Destrehan defeated 44-17 in Week 5.

Facing district opponents in a playoff rematch is nothing new for the Wildcats.

Destrehan beat Terrebonne 42-17 in Week 4 of the 2013 season and 44-0 in the opening round of the playoffs on the Wildcats’ way to the state semifinals.

In 2014, Destrehan beat league rivals East St. John and Hahnville in the regular season. In the playoffs, the Wildcats defeated ESJ 68-14 in the second round of the playoffs and Hahnville 24-12 in the quarterfinals on their way to the state championship game.

Still, coaches never seem to like to play a team more than once in a season.

“It’s probably not a good thing,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “You always like to play people that haven’t seen you. I just think it’s a situation where they will try to take way what you do best and game for us and you try to take away what they do best. The kids know each other and their strengths and weaknesses.

“It is what it is. It’s part of our playoff system and we have to deal with it.”

When Destrehan and Terrebonne met in Week 4, the game was the first start for J.R. Blood at quarterback. Blood replaced Kohen Granier, who was injured a week earlier in the Wildcats’ win over Hahnville.

Blood came off the bench to led Destrehan to a dramatic win over Hahnville and was 6 of 10 passing for 150 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception in the victory over Terrebonne.

The sophomore will be back at the helm for Destrehan in the playoff opener against Terrebonne.

For Terrebonne, 4-6 overall and the No. 32 seed, things have changed since the first meeting.

The Tigers opened the season using both Mason Turner and Dylan Bergeron at quarterback. Terrebonne has since moved running back Keshawn James to the position.

“Keshawn James is probably their best athlete. I think they want to get the ball in his hands all the time. He does a tremendous job running the wildcat package,” Robicheaux said.

The Tigers’ style of play, Robicheaux said, certainly has changed with James at the helm.

“They are doing zone read type stuff, something they hadn’t done when they had the other kid at quarterback. It will definitely be a little bit different. They will have more speed back there,” the Destrehan coach said.

James and senior Seigan Evans had been splitting much of the carriers at running back. James now will take snap direction instead of having to wait for a handoff.

Terrebonne has four returning senior starters on the offensive line in Everett Rodrigue, Peyton Barrios, Tyrese Burton and Bryce Terrio. Tight end Austin Miller also is a senior.

The Tigers have some big guys up front in Canaan Harris, Tyler Nettleton and Kyle Landry, a 285 pounder.

Jean-Francois Kouame plugs up things as the middle linebacker. Another quality linebacker is Cullen Butler.

Speedsters in the secondary include Granger Jai and Anthony Ruffin.

Although Terrebonne’s win total may not be great, the Tigers have improved over the season, according to Robicheaux.

“It’s definitely a situation where they have gotten better. They haven’t won a lot of games but they’ve had a lot of success moving the football and being able to score. It’s something we have to be aware of. Hopefully, we will come out and play well on Friday,” the Destrehan coach 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.