All season long, Destrehan coach Marcus Scott has mentioned that big-time players make big-time plays when referring to the exploits of Tyler Morton.
Either in his role as a defensive back or kick returning, Morton seemed to come through time and time again for the Wildcats in 2020.
Morton came up with his biggest big play yet when, in his role as a defensive back, he scooped up a fumble by Ruston running back Ke’Travion Hargrove in the fourth quarter and raced 45 yards for the game’s only score in Destrehan’s 6-0 win over Ruston in the Class 5A quarterfinals at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.
“It was a forced fumble. Tyler is a playmaker. He’s not satisfied with just falling on the ball. He’s played enough football and has enough experience to know that if the ball is in the open field, to pick it up and make a play, and that’s what he did,” Destrehan coach Marcus Scott said.
Kelvin Lea, Morton’s defensive teammate, came up with a play of his own to seal the win.
With Destrehan (10-0) clinging to a 6-0 lead late in the game, Ruston (7-3) reached the Wildcats’ 14-yard line when Bearcats sophomore quarterback Jaden Osborne fumbled the ball, with Lea coming up with the recovery.
“Kelvin is a player with a lot of big-game experience. Our defensive guys really played assignment football,” Scott said.
With some observers questioning the toughness of the Destrehan team, the Wildcats took that critique to heart, according to Scott.
“There was a lot of talk during the week if we could match their physicality. There were some questions about whether we were able to be physical or match their style of play. Quite frankly, it was insulting to our kids and to our program. Our kids had a chip on their shoulder and had something to prove,” the Destrehan coach said.
Destrehan, the No. 5 seed, advances to the semifinals at top-ranked Acadiana next week. Acadiana defeated No. 8 seed Mandeville, 21-0.
“It’s always good to go on the road and we had a lot of adversity to overcome, but our kids played very hard and our assistant coaches did a really good job of preparing the kids,” Scott said.
The Destrehan-Acadiana game will be a rematch of last year’s state title game in which the Wildcats fell 8-3.
“It’s an opportunity to play. A few months ago, we didn’t think we were going to be able to play at all. The fact we have an opportunity to play for a chance to go to the title game is an accomplishment in itself. We are a young football team. The kids are looking forward to the challenge,” Scott said.
Points were hard to come by for Destrehan and Ruston, the No. 13 seed, in a rain-filled game.
Destrehan’s defense held Hargrove to 55 yards rushing. The highly-touted running back missed most of the season with injuries but topped 200 yards rushing in an opening-round playoff win over Hahnville and was part of a Ruston ground attack that amassed 400 yards a week ago in the Bearcats’ victory over Ponchatoula.
Ruston’s 260-poud fullback Davian Wilson rushed for 86 yards against the Wildcats.
After losing their season opener to St. Paul’s of Covington, the Wildcats have won 10-straight games.