Destrehan’s 22-0 win over visiting Hammond in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs last week was a bit of a departure for the Wildcats.
“You have to be able to win games in different ways and I was happy we able to run the ball and get that win and get out of the first round, especially with the weather conditions Friday night,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.
A cold night and a constant, strong wind played havoc with the kicking game and passing game of teams throughout the state last Friday, so the Wildcats turned to their defense and more of a workmanlike that explosive approach on offense.
“We tried to get it over the top a couple of times and J.R. (Blood) missed Quincy (Brown) twice just because the ball was kind of negated by the wind a little bit,” Robicheaux explained. “It definitely wasn’t offensive conditions with the weather but we did what they had to do.
“We knew they (the Tornadoes) were really good on defense. They had a tremendous year and the reason they won so many games was because of their defense and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Take away our passing game and it was an issue. We had to grind it out and we did and our defense came up big. Champ Craven came up with two turnovers with an interception and a fumble recovery.”
While Craven came up big on defense, the Destrehan offense got its points via the ground. Kyle Edwards ran for two touchdowns – including a 30-yard score for the Wildcats’ longest play from scrimmage – and a 1-yard scoring run by John Emery.
Destrehan, 10-1, heads on the road to take on Landry-Walker at 7 p.m. Friday at Behrman Stadium in Algiers. The Charging Buccaneers go into the game 7-4. The four teams Landry-Walker has lost to, (John Curtis, 10-0), Karr (12-0), Warren Easton (8-2) and John Ehret (11-1) are a combined 41-3.
“They are 6-4 and they are the No. 18 (seed) in the state. That tells you a lot. They won the games they were supposed to win, and teams that were 10-0 and 9-1, they played them pretty tough,” said Robicheaux.
The Charging Buccaneers are led offensively by dual-threat quarterback Ja’Quan Dorsey but Landry-Walker also inserts Tony Cargo, a better passer, into the game as the team’s signal caller.
“They run the zone read well. They hurt Barbe. Barbe couldn’t stop them and couldn’t tackle them Ja’Quan Dorsey all night long,” said Robicheaux, referring to Landry-Walker’s 30-12 playoff-opening triumph a week ago.
The Charging Buccaneers’ top runner is Chad Alexander.
“Chad Alexander, the running back, can fly. He’s kind of like the guy last year who is now at West Virginia,” said Robicheaux, comparing Alexander to former Landry-Walker star Tevin Bush.
Targets for the quarterbacks include Ramon McGrew and Dywan Griffin.
Defensively, the alignments utilized by Landry-Walker, Robicheaux said, likely will be determined by the Wildcats’ offensive sets.
“They played a few people with a 3-2 and they play most of the people in 4-2 box. I imagine we will see both, depending on what we give them. If we give them a tight end, it looks like a four-man front. If not, we will see three-man fronts. We will have to be prepared to do both,” the Destrehan coach explained.
Top defenders for Landry-Walker include 6-foot-1, 310-pound nose tackle Rasaan Thomas, along with linebackers Ernest Williams and Corey Chairs.
Griffin and McGrew also play in the secondary. Roberick Mitchell plays in secondary and also some on offense as well.
“They are real athletic on the back end. We have to be real smart in how we try to attack them and make sure we know where those guy are on the field because they can make big plays,” said Robicheaux.
The Charging Buccaneers also are capable of big plays on offense – something the Wildcats will have to negate if they are to advance to the Class 5A quarterfinals, according to Robicheaux.
“We just have to hope we can contain them, and hopefully, we can move the ball on offense. They thrive on the big play. Hopefully, we can try to make them drive the football. We have to slow the game down a little bit. They want to get the ball in their playmakers’ hands and we will have to work really hard to stop that,” the Destrehan coach said.