River Parish fans get to witness a marquee matchup of area teams when Destrehan plays at St. Charles Catholic on Friday in a game that was born out of mutual need for the schools.
“It’s a game we have to play because of the success of both programs,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “It’s hard to schedule games and I think Frank (Monica, the St. Charles coach) sort of got in the situation where he had trouble filling the schedule and it was the same with myself. I don’t think either one of us wanted to play this game but it’s kind of like us and Jesuit. I told (Jesuit coach) Mark Songy, ‘one of us has got to go to Evangel. It’s better than we just play here at Tad Gormley and he agreed. It’s the same thing with us and St. Charles. It’s a matter of filling games. It’s kind like the situation over at Riverside where they only have eight games. When your program is having a lot of success not a lot of people want to play you.
“I think it’s good for the fans here in the River Parishes. I consider Frankie the best coach in the area and it’s tough going against those guys but it is what it is and hopefully it will be a good game.”
Destrehan, ranked No. 9 in Class 5A, is 1-0 and coming off a 42-18 season-opening win over Slidell. Junior running back John Emery rushed for 154 yards while fellow running backs Kyle Edwards and Ed’Juan Green also had productive outings.
“When you are able to run the ball the way we did there are two things that are going on. Obviously, your backs are having a good night and the reason the backs are having a good night is the offensive line is playing at a high level. I thought our guys got after it. They were extremely physical up front and had a lot of holes and the backs ran the ball real hard. It was just John. John did a tremendous job. Kyle Edwards did a great job. Even Ed’Juan Green did a great job running the football,” Robicheaux said.
There is uncertainty surrounding St. Charles’ offense entering the game after an injury to Comets quarterback Lloyd Nash in SCC’s 29-0 season-opening win over Chalmette. Nash suffered a fractured clavicle and is expected to miss at least six week. The Destrehan coaching staff prepared the Wildcats as if Nash or any other number of candidates might be at the quarterback position for the Comets.
“We are under the mindset that we are preparing for three types of offense,” Robicheaux said. “We are preparing for Lloyd. Obviously, he is a tremendous athlete and to hear that he was hurt is a terrible thing. You have to prepare for him. You have to prepare for (running back Narquez) Jones as the wildcat quarterback and Sutton Bourgeois is coming in and we don’t know a whole lot about him.”
What Robicheaux and company know is that the Comets have a bevy of running backs in Jones, Joe Chiarella and Phillip Tran.
“They do a great job. Jones, I’m really impressed with him. He really runs hard and he’s fast and runs back kicks. He hits the hole and he’s exactly what they need. They like to run power and counter and run tough inside. When he gets on the corner, he can go,” said Robicheaux.
Regardless of the quarterback, the top receiving targets for the Comets remain the same.
“I think they like to go to Taylor Miller. Darrin Blystad makes a lot of catches for them. Those are the top two guys they try to get the ball to,” said Robicheaux.
The St. Charles offense is coming of a trademark effort in its win over Chalmette. The Comets held onto the ball for 16:02 of the first half in manage 408 yards of total offense, 345 of which came on the ground.
“They do such a good job of doing what they do. They are a power team. They are a play-action team. They are a bootleg team. They do a tremendous job of moving the football and keeping the ball away from the other team’s offense. They want to control the clock and move the ball down the field,” explained Robicheaux.
Like with the St. Charles offense, the Comets go into Friday’s game without their top defender in Dellary Oubre. Oubre suffered a knee injury a week earlier and is out for an extended amount of time.
“That’s a big loss. He was a kid that was here his freshman year. He’s a tremendous athlete. Again, you hate to see that,” said Robicheaux.
Robicheaux can sympathize a bit after the Wildcats lost Champ Craven last week after the defensive back buckled his knee against Slidell. Also, middle linebacker Alex Huszar has yet to play this season.
“You are not losing only one position but if you move somebody you probably get weaker at another position,” the Destrehan coach said.
Regardless of personnel, the Comets will be sound defensively, according to Robicheaux.
“It’s a tough loss for them but the one thing about them defensively is they are always lined up correctly and they play extremely hard. If you can do that defensively, you’ve got a chance. They have good athletes that run to the ball and know what they are doing on every play. You are not going to trick them. They are steady and well-coached,” Robicheaux said.
One Comet defender who caught Robicheaux’s eye is Mason Narcisse.
“They run a 50 and they have some big guys up front. Mason Narcisse does a tremendous job,” said Robicheaux.
The rest of the defensive front consists of Rodney Banks, Trey DeSilvey, Jordan Brown and Eli Ory.
“They are real active and they play hard and they are all over the place. They will be tough to run the ball against,” said Robicheaux.
Jordan Jensen and Anderson Sirmon are at linebacker for the Comets.
“I like their secondary. Trey Joseph at corner does a good job covering,” Robicheaux offered.
The remainder of the secondary includes Trey Arceneaux, Luke Brouwer and Bryce Authement.
“It seems like they’ve been having a No. 7 Authement there forever,” joked Robicheaux. “Bryce does a good job back there. He’s physical and runs to the ball and they never seem to be out of place.”
The outcome of the game, Robicheaux said, is likely to be decided at the line of scrimmage.
“Can our defensive line play with their offensive line and whoever is in the trenches, whoever gets the best of that is the team that will be the most successful. That’s what we have been preaching so far,” said Robicheaux.