No, East St. John didn’t get two days off of school for beating Destrehan.
It may just have seemed that way with the St. John Parish school system’s fall break falling only days after East St. John defeated Destrehan 14-13.
“Anytime you play a team in the River Parishes, it’s always going to be a big game,”
East St. John coach Brandon Brown said. “Going into that game in a hostile environment and come out with a victory, it feels real good.
“We knew they would be ready. Destrehan is a championship ball club. I told our kids we will have to play our best ball just to keep it close.”
Most people felt it would be close. After all, Destrehan edged East St. John 35-34 in each of the previous two seasons.
The one-point margin last Friday wasn’t too surprising, but the low 14-13 final was an eye-opener.
“That’s a credit to both defenses,” Brown reflected. “They had a very good game plan. It looked like every time we got something going, they did some great things to negate it.
“The same thing with our guys defensively. Every time Destrehan came and punched us in the mouth, our guys responded and we punched them back. We had several key fourth-down stops.”
When East St. John (4-3 overall, 2-1 in District 7-5A) takes on Central Lafourche (5-2 overall, 1-2 in district) Friday night in Mathews, there will be no surprise as to who the team will have to stop for the Trojans.
The prolific senior running back rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns a week ago in the Trojans’ 42-20 loss to unbeaten Hahnville.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Brown said of Jenkins. “He does a good job of staying behind his blockers, reading his keys and doing things that he’s coached to do.
“We have to play another good game. I think we are prepared at this point. Playing the likes of St. James and the athletes they have on the field…we played Hahnville already with Darryle Evans and then we just played Destrehan with Kyle Edwards so I think we are kind of battle tested as far as where we want to be at this point in the year.”
In past years, Central Lafourche has had sort of a manage-the-offense type quarterback. Now, the Trojans have a different dimension with Ashtrein Duncan behind center.
“Watching the Hahnville game, he broke a 60-yard run for a touchdown. He’s dangerous back there,” said Brown. “He throws the ball well but whenever the protection breaks down, he’s such a good athlete he can escape the pocket.
“We will have to do a good job of being disciplined. When we rush, we will have to be able to rush contain. We have to contain the quarterback. If we don’t, he’s going to make us pay for it.”
Another guy ESJ will have to keep its eyes on is Trojan tight end Logan Wilcox.
“He’s probably one of the best players we’ve seen pound for pound,” Brown said of Wilcox. “The tight end is a kind of unknown thing with today’s offenses. They do a good job of getting him the ball. He does a really good job in the run game and he’s just a big body. He blocks well and that’s the hard thing. He blocks and blocks and blocks and before you know it, he goes down the seam and he’s wide open.
“Teams have done different things on him and it didn’t help. Hahnville was dropping the defensive end under him and H.L. Bourgeois had a guy spying him the whole night and he was still able to make things happen.”
The strength of the Trojan defense may very well be their front, led by Trevor Allemand.
“All of those guys on the defensive front, and the (overall) defense as well, they play extremely hard,” Brown said. “That’s why they’ve been able to be in games this year, just because of the effort those guys exert.
“They do a good job of mixing it up defensively. They go from an odd-man to even-man front. They are in the 4-2 at times and in the 50 front at times.”
The Central Lafourche defensive front, Brown said, poses concerns for an opposing offensive line.
“Our protection has to be solid. We have to make sure we do a good job of making sure we block the right people because they give you so many different looks up front,” said Brown.
Limiting players like Jenkins and Wilcox, Brown said, will be the key if ESJ is to come out on top on Friday.
“Jenkins is a tough guy,” the ESJ coach said. “We understand he will get yardage. We just have to minimize it. You can’t let him get the 40-, 50-yard runs. He does a really good job running behind his pads and breaking tackles. We just have to tackle well. If we do that, we will be in good shape.
“We have to contain Wilcox. He will get some catches. We understand that. We can’t allow too many big plays.”