Destrehan edges Thibodaux to open league play

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 27, 1999

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 27, 1999

DESTREHAN – A sustained ground defense made up for a struggling offense, and Destrehan’s Fighting Wildcats earned a 9-7 homecoming victory over the Thibodaux Tigers in the district opener Friday night.

Aerial assaults were not the story, what with Thibodaux’s Cliff Clement managing only 5 yards by passing and chalking up two interceptions. Itwas little better on the Destrehan side, as Ivan Mashia managed just 30 passing yards with two interceptions.

Thibodaux took the opening kickoff but only lost yards in its first possession. The Wildcats did little better, and the Tigers again had theball.

Destrehan’s defense riddled the Tiger offense time and again for a number of sacks, including Lekeith Robinson and Dernell Arline double-teaming Clement back to the Thibodaux 11-yard line, which forced the next punt.

The Wildcats tried to crank up their offense, but a third-down interception by Wilfred Turner handed possession back to the visitors.

Again, the Tigers were ineffective in their passing offense and eventually gave up the ball again on a punt.

Powered by the running of Deron Love, Destrehan pounded upfield, the ball moved from the Wildcat 41-yard line deep into Thibodaux country. There, aface mask penalty on the Tigers edged the ball down to the 9 yard stripe, which set up the Jonathan Scifres’ field goal with 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter to give Destrehan a 3-0 lead.

Following the kickoff, Thibodaux’s possession was cut short early in the second quarter by Todd Picou, who intercepted Clement’s pass at the Tiger 41-yard line. Mashia then connected with Lucky Givens on a home sidelinepass. This moved the ball down to the Thibodaux 13-yard line.Four plays later Destrehan’s Dechad Ward plunged into the end zone from one yard out, which placed the Wildcats into a 9-0 lead.

Thibodaux’s next possession moved the ball from its own 39 backwards 10 yards and forced a punt. However, Destrehan was called for roughing thekicker and the ball was set at the Tiger 44-yard line, still in Terrebone’s possession.

Again, the Tigers were unable to crank up any offense and their next punt set Destrehan at its own 47. The Wildcats struggled to gain 10 yardsbefore Thibodaux took over on downs. At this point, Thibodaux’s offense,spearheaded by the powerful running of Derrick Coleman, woke up in the best sustained scoring drive of the game.

In a string of seven carries Coleman pounded the Wildcat defense and capped the effort with a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 1:10 remaining in the first half. A PAT kick from Jeremy Navarre boosted the Tigers onto thescoreboard, narrowing Destrehan’s lead to 9-7.

The first half struggled to its close, with one interception of Destrehan by Kenneth Matthews and another interception of Thibodaux by Danny Krieger on the last play of the second quarter.

With no more scoring in the game, the second half was punctuated only by a few eyebrow-lifting plays. These included Thibodaux’s first punt of thethird quarter, which was blocked behind the line of scrimmage. Thisallowed Mark Crosby of Thibodaux to scoop up the loose ball and scramble from the Tiger 43 to the Destrehan 43-yard line.

On the first play of the fourth quarter Thibodaux’s punt to Danny Krieger was run back several yards before he was hit hard, forcing a fumble, which was snared by Tiger Troy Granier on the Destrehan 44-yard line.

With 1:35 remaining in the game Dernell Arline snagged an interception at midfield, which put an end to Thibodaux’s dream of moving into field goal range and locked up the 9-7 win for the Fighting Wildcats.

Thibodaux ended the game trailing in several statistical categories.

Destrehan led 11-9 on first downs, 180-64 in yards rushing and 30-5 in yards passing.

Mashia threw 14 passes with three completions and two interceptions.

Clement threw 16 times with one completion and two interceptions.

Destrehan had five penalties, losing 50 yards. Thibodaux had sevenpenalties for 49 lost yards.

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