Destrehan running back John Emery may be four people in one.
At least that’s the way East St. John coach Alden Foster seems to see him.
When asked about Destrehan’s offense, the third-year ESJ coach responded: “John Emery, John Emery, John Emery, John Emery.”
The powerful junior running back is coming off a game in which he rushed for 215 yards on 29 carries in Destrehan’s 24-6 win over Thibodaux last week.
While East St. John’s focus many be on Emery, Foster said Destrehan is more than just the running back.
“You want to stop John but if you concentrate too hard, they will burn you over the top. You just have to play sound defensively and be where you are supposed to be,” said Foster.
The guy who can burn an opponent over the top is J.R. Blood, Destrehan’s junior quarterback.
“The quarterback, you can’t sleep on him. Last year in the first half we actually did a good job with John Emery but Blood hurt us with his arm a few times and kind of bailed them out,” said Foster.
East St. John built an early two-touchdown lead over Destrehan a year ago before eventually falling 39-20. The result allowed Destrehan to remain unbeaten on the season.
Friday night, both teams go into their District 7-5A encounter 3-2 overall. East St. John is 2-0 in league play and Destrehan 1-1. With Hahnville 2-0 but playing a non-district game, a win by East St. John over Destrehan would give St. John Parish-based Wildcats sole possession of first place in the league for the time being.
“It’s a huge game going into a rival with Destrehan, which is a next-door neighbor,” Foster said. “It’s a huge rivalry. We just want to stay grounded. We need to correct the mistakes we made last week and we can’t give up the big plays that we have been giving up in the past.
“It (being 2-0 in district play) just gives us a little extra incentive to play harder in a game that you already will play hard.”
Destrehan plays both a five-man and four-man front on defense
“They will slant and do things up front to give you problems is you are not prepared for it. They will play cover-3. They make you try to adjust to what they do. That’s what good programs do,” said Foster.
A top defender for Destrehan is defensive back Macon Clark.
“He can play. In two games I saw on film, he picked-6 two of them. He’s like their playmaker on defense,” said Foster.
Also catching the eye of the East St. John coach is Amauchechukwu Nnaji-Collins and Bryce Scioneaux up front.
Trying to stay within itself could go a long way for East St. John in Friday’s battle of Wildcats, according to Foster.
“It will take us to go in and stay grounded and not make the mistakes we have been making. We have to take advantage of some of the things they do and stop the run. If we don’t give up the big play passing, we should be fine,” the East St. John coach said.