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Landry-Walker final hurdle in DHS quest to reach state title game

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  • George Becnel
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  • December 01, 2016 - 5:57am

File photosExplosive Landry-Walker is the only thing standing in the way of the Destrehan Wildcats advancing to next week's Class 5A state championship game.

The offensive numbers for Landry-Walker are staggering.

The fewest points the Charging Buccaneers have scored this season is 22. They haven’t scored less than 40 points in any of their 11wins and are averaging 52 points per game for the year.

“They have athletes all over the place and they have been putting up a lot of points. They are putting up a lot of points because they are probably one of the most impressive skilled teams I’ve seen in a long time,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux, whose Wildcats will host the Charging Buccaneers in the Class 5A semifinals Friday night.

The Landry-Walker offense features a Southeastern Conference-caliber passing duo. Senior quarterback Keytaon Thompson is a Mississippi State commitment.

“He’s 6-5 and he’s a 4.0 student,” Robicheaux said of Thompson. “He runs real well and runs that power flow real well for a quarterback that’s 6-5. He kind of reminds me of (former Destrehan quarterback) Donovan Isom. He throws the ball extremely well and makes very few mistakes. He’s a big-time player and has a lot of weapons around him.”

One of his major weapons is receiver Devonta Jason, an Alabama Crimson Tide verbal commitment as a junior.

“He’s a rangy guy that catches everything. He does a tremendous job shielding defenders from him and he does a great job going up to catch the ball,” Robicheaux said of Jason.

Playing such an athletic and potent offense as Landry-Walker, the best an opponent can hope for, Robicheaux said, is to try and slow down the Charging Buccaneers.

“You have to not let them have the big plays,” said Robicheaux. “That’s where they are successful. You’re watching film and you are watching a good Karr team play against them and then all-of-a-sudden, (Tevin) Bush goes 95 (yards) on them. They have that type of speed and that type of athleticism.

“We will have to try and hold them down, and hopefully, our offense can score and it will be a good game.”

Slowing down Thompson can be even more daunting.

“We will have to go and hopefully, get him running around a little bit. The problem with that is he’s such an athletic quarterback he runs around and makes more plays doing that,” Robicheaux said.

Landry-Walker’s lowest point total came in a 35-22 season-opening loss to John Curtis. After losing 42-35 to Karr the following week, the Charging Buccaneers have won 11 games in a row.

Destrehan is 12-0 and both teams have beaten a common opponent in John Ehret. The 12-0 Wildcats defeated the Patriots in a low-scoring 21-7 regular-season battle and 21-14 in last week’s quarterfinals. By contrast, the Charging Buccaneers beat Ehret 46-18.

While Jason may be a major target for Landry-Walker, he’s hardly the Charging Buccaneers’ lone receiving threat.  Thompson also spreads the ball around to the likes of Tyrel Angrum, Travonta White, Lamont Berzat and Jerry Henry.

“They have a lot of athletes and they bring them in constantly. They keep them rested. They are as good skilled guys as I’ve ever faced,” Robicheaux said.

Landry-Walker’s top rushing threat is the 5-foot-8, 170-pound Bush.

“Once he turns the corner, he’s gone,” said Robicheaux. “Pound for pound, he might be their best player. He’s always making long runs. He’s a guy that you have to make sure you have somebody on him – maybe two people – when he’s running the ball because he makes people miss.”

The Charging Buccaneers offer a variety of looks defensively.

“They are in a three-man front and a four-man front. They actually will go to a six-man front and seven-man front and play a cover-zero. They want to blitz you and come after you,” Robicheaux explained.

Player up front for Landry-Walker includes Shamod Sullivan, Tyren Fielder, Josh Smith and Kenneth Harton.

Corione Harris plays the outside linebacker/safety position.

Ashton Bowie adds a big, physical presence at linebacker at 200 pounds.

Other linebackers include Tyrik Baker and Javon Bickham.

“Those two are smaller guys but they can run extremely well,” said Robicheaux.

Joining Harris in the secondary are Curry Benn and Jomond Foster.

“They are so athletic on the back end. They do a tremendous job covering. They feed off of turnovers. We have to make sure we take care of the football at all times,” Robicheaux said.

While Landry-Walker poses a formidable challenge, don’t expect the Wildcats to deviate much from what they have done all season.

“Our defense has given up some yardage but we’ve made plays when we’ve had to. We made stops at Mandeville when we had to. We made stops against John Ehret Friday night when we had to. Both teams moved the ball pretty well on us. We just hope we have one more in us and we can make plays when we have to. We will keep doing what got us to 12-0 and we will just go from there,” Robicheaux 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.