Predicting the type of offense Destrehan may face when taking on H.L. Bourgeois on Friday night at Tom B. Smith Stadium in Houma may just depend on when you happen to view the Braves.
“One film they are strictly double-slot, run the Wing-T principle. Another one, we have them with one back and one back with trips and doubles. They do multiple things and they give you a lot to prepare for,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.
Destrehan goes into Friday’s game coming off a rare regular-season loss, falling 31-24 at St. James last week.
Down 31-10 at one point, Destrehan rallied to within a touchdown and had one last Hail Mary pass from the St. James 40-yad line to try and force overtime.
Contributing to the loss was a blocked punt for a touchdown and a 90-yard interception return.
“We had (those mistakes) because they made plays,” Robicheaux said of St. James. “They have been doing that all year. They are an opportunistic and very fast and physical.
“That night they were the better team and sometimes you have to say the guys across from us were better than we were. That might have been the case Friday night.”
Destrehan (3-1), ranked No. 9 in the Class 5A, poll plays its District 7-5A opener when it takes on HLB. The Braves (1-3 overall, 0-1 in district) is coming off a 67-7 drubbing at the hands of East St. John.
“They have some talent. I think East St. John’s speed just kind of overwhelmed them,” said Robicheaux.
Regardless of how the Braves may line up, leading the offense is quarterback Jordan Rainey.
“He’s very active,” Robicheaux said of Rainey. “The offense is kind of a misdirection type deal, so you have to stay and read your keys and make sure you are in the right place because he can hurt you not only throwing the ball but with his feet.”
One of the Braves’ top runners is William Babin.
The biggest threat on offense for the Braves very well may be Tyrese Starks.
“When they throw it, they like to go to Tyrese Starks. He’s kind of out of the backfield. He’s also a running back in that doubles-slot offense,” said Robicheaux.
Helping the Destrehan cause defending the Braves will be the expected return of defensive lineman Noah Taliancich. The Tulane commitment missed the St. James game with the flu.
“We get Noah back this week. That definitely helps. Noah not only is one of your better D-I defensive linemen, he probably our leader on our team,” Robicheaux said.
HLB’s defense provides opponents with different looks, according to Robicheaux.
“I imagine we will see the 4-2-5 or the 3-3 depending on what we give them offensively. They are a cover-3 team and will play some man,” the Destrehan coach said.
One player in particular represents the youth of the Braves’ squad, Robicheaux said.
“The guy who blew away the offensive staff is a freshman, Jameian Buxton. He’s a real active kid,” said Robicheaux.
Other underclassmen playing key roles on defense for HLB include defensive lineman Gage Frederick, Jaelen Johnson, Josh Mire, Aden Jackson and Nathan King.
One of the few key seniors is linebacker Ron Celestine.
While regular-season non-district losses are rare at Destrehan, it certainly doesn’t mean any kind of death blow to the Wildcats.
“I kind of reminded (the players) last year that we lost to a good Ehret team. We lost that game and ended up going all the way to the semis,” Robicheaux said. “We still have a lot of things we can accomplish this year. We just have to get better every week. We have some good football players. Everything we saw happen on film is correctable. We need to go back to the drawing board and see what worked for us and what didn’t work for us and how we can get better.
“I think our kids will bounce back. In the past, they have done that. Hopefully, this team will do the same.”