It may not have been all pretty, but the resumption of the Stephen Robicheaux era at Destrehan got off to a pretty solid start Friday night with a 47-8 victory at St. James.
The Fighting Wildcats of Destrehan outnumbered, outmanned and outplayed the Mighty Wildcats of St. James, rolling up 311 yards of offense. Junior quarterback Donovan Isom completed 9 passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those were to Derrick McGee, both covering 23 yards. The third was to Michael Smith for 26 yards.
The Destrehan ground game amassed 178 yards with eight different ball carriers. Leading the way was Will Matthews with 82 yards on seven carries, including a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Lou Donovan Wells, Kenny King and backup quarterback Rashaud Joseph also got into the end zone.
For Robicheaux, marking his return to the field after a two-year absence, it was a good start – as were the Wildcats’ first two scoring drives in the first quarter.
“We came up with the first two drives, flawless, right down the field,” Robicheaux said. “Defensively we came out and held them to three-and-out in the first quarter. Then things went bad. And that can’t happen.”
After building a 14-0 lead and holding St. James to no first downs in the first quarter, Destrehan turned the ball over on a bad pitch at the St. James 20-yard line with 1:46 remaining in the period.
St. James could not capitalize, but Destrehan couldn’t regain its momentum either and the offense stalled. Isom, who was a perfect 4 for 4 on the first drive and 7 of 9 after the second drive, did not complete another pass in the first half. Luckily, the ground game took over, moving the Wildcats from their own 34 on four plays. Matthews covered 50 yards on one run, then had two short gains. With 1:38 remaining in the half, he then put Destrehan ahead 21-0 with a 4-yard run and Cameron Walsh’s point after.
Matthews said he and his teammates were just happy to be going up against a real opponent after last week’s cancellations due to Hurricane Isaac.
“Yeah we were tired of hitting each other,” Matthews said. “It was good to finally line up against another opponent.”
St. James, meanwhile, finished the first half with one first down and a total of 31 yards. Among the bright spots for the Wildcats was the play of junior Rashaan Dennis, who punted 10 times for a 31.4 average and had six kickoff returns for 200 yards.
Destrehan opened the third quarter with another solid drive, covering 52 yards on 7 plays in 1:53. On fourth-and-9, Isom connected with McGee for a 23-yards pass to give Destrehan a 28-0 lead.
After a short St. James punt, Destrehan needed just two plays to score again. On second-and-3 at the 26, Isom connected with Smith on the right side. Smith then cut back inside and outran the coverage for the score. The PAT was no good, but Destrehan led 34-0 with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter.
Things bogged down a bit after that, but Destrehan padded its lead early in the fourth with a 2-yard run by King. The Wildcats needed just four plays and 2:00 to cover 59-yards on that drive. A bad snap on the PAT left Destrehan leading 40-0 less than two minutes into the final period.
St. James got nowhere on its next possession, then neither did Destrehan. But St. James got a couple of breaks. With 5:50 remaining in the game, Destrehan’s Walsh was set to punt from deep in his own territory when a bad snap sailed into the end zone for a safety.
Destrehan then kicked to Dennis who returned it 37 yards to the Destrehan 39. Six plays later, St. James quarterback D’Kwan Sandolph ran in from the 3-yard line with 2:35 remaining.
Destrehan needed to do nothing but run out the clock to insure the victory, but with the clock winding down and the subs getting their playing time, Joseph showed what he could do, zigging and sagging for a 44-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds remaining in the game. Walsh’s PAT capped Destrehan’s scoring at 47 for the night.