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Road game is next text for top-seeded Destrehan Wildcats

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  • George Becnel
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  • November 18, 2016 - 12:09am

File photosStephen Robicheaux and his top-seeded Destrehan Wildcats would play at home in the Class 5A quarterfinals with a road victory over Mandeville on Friday.

Top-seeded Destrehan passed its opening-round test with flying colors.

The Wildcats were coming off a Week 10 open date when they hosted district rival Terrebonne in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs last Friday. If Destrehan had any rust, it didn’t show it with a 47-7 domination of the Tigers.

“We got a shutout by our ones on defense and whenever you put up 40 points in a playoff game, you have to be excited with the way we played,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux.

Destrehan (10-0) could have faced another district foe had Thibodaux won its playoff opener. That didn’t happen as the Tigers, a No. 16 seed fell 42-0 to Mandeville, the No. 17 seed.

The second test for the Wildcats comes with a road game on Friday against the Skippers.

“It’s a team that you have to go there and has all that tradition. In the playoffs, they seem to turn it on. It’s a matchup that will be tough for us,” Destrehan said of Mandeville, which has reached the semifinals three times in the past five seasons.

The Skippers are 7-4 on the season with Mandeville’s losses being to Barbe, Ponchatoula, St. Paul’s and Covington.

“I’m scratching my head at how they lost four games because I think they are a really good football team. It will be a battle for us,” Robicheaux said.

Leading Mandeville’s offense is Darren Steele. The junior quarterback has thrown for 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“He does a good job running the offense,” Robicheaux said. “He does a good job of buying himself some time. He does a tremendous job throwing the football. The receivers run good, clean routes. They do a good job of hitting the seams. He does a good job of throwing in that small crease.”

The receivers include Lovelle Williams and Roland Wallace. Williams is a player Steele often targets while Wallace is a big target at 6-foot-2, 193 pounds.

Fritz Walker, at 201 pounds, is a runner the Skippers use for tough yards while Mandeville makes use of Taron Jones in a variety of ways.

“They get him the ball. They spread it out. They spread you out and create seams and he’s real effective at getting it done,” Robicheaux said of Jones.

Mandeville employs a 3-3 Stack defense.

“They are always, always, always in the right spot. They get guys to the ball. They play extremely hard,” said Robicheaux.

A pair of tough defenders are ends Demoni Boyd and Malcolm Johnson.

“The guy I like a lot is Sawyer Poulsen. He plays so hard in the middle,” said Robicheaux.

Physical linebackers include Austin Faciane, Terrell Anderson and Maghee McMullen.

The secondary consists of Devin Seiber, Travis Lecompte, Ian Braun and Evan Guillory.

For the Wildcats, the goal is to put pressure on Steele.

“You can’t just sit back there because he will put the ball where he needs to put it,” Robicheaux said. “He’s definitely the best throwing quarterback we are going to face. He reminds me of the kid at Slidell, Larry Griffin. This kid is more of a running quarterback but they throw the ball the same way and they just hit their spots. They make you expand your zones and they hit the ball where you’re not.”

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.