Fighting Wildcats move into first place tie

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 29, 2002


RESERVE – Despite the horrible weather conditions, both football teams from Destrehan High School and East St. John High School were able Friday night to make great plays.

However, the DHS Fighting Wildcats were able to execute in the early part of the game when they needed it. Senior wide receiver Fred Smith’s four-touchdown performance elevated DHS to a 27-21 district victory over ESJ at rain-soaked Keller Stadium.

“We had better field position in the second half but just couldn’t move it. I’m just glad that our defense stepped up when they had to,” said Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux.

A DHS victory combined with a Hahnville High School loss meant the Fighting Wildcats were tied for first place in District 6-5A. With the score tied at 21 in the fourth quarter, DHS quarterback Demarko Hutchinson connected with Smith to give the Fighting Wildcats a six-point lead, 27-21.

“I think we live and die with the pass these days,” Robicheaux said.

ESJ head coach Larry Dauterive added, “He (Hutchinson) plays like a magician out there sometimes.”

The early part of the game saw the Fighting Wildcats, 7-1, jump out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. At times, it appeared East St. John was playing only against Smith and not the rest of the DHS team. With 5:13 left in the first, Hutchinson hit Smith for a 62-yard touchdown to give Destrehan a 6-0 lead. Once again, only this time at the start of the second quarter, the Hutchinson to Smith connection was responsible for a 76-yard TD pass to give the Fighting Wildcats a 14-0 lead.

The East St. John Wildcats were able to move the ball into Destrehan territory on a couple of occasions in the first half, but could not score.

“I thought we missed some scoring opportunities tonight. We get the ball in their territory and could not take the lead when we should have,” Dauterive said.

The third and final big play of the half was once again Hutchinson to Smith. This time it was 68 yards and it gave DHS a commanding 21-0 lead with 5:41 left in the first half.

Derron Thomas’ 40-yard scamper finally put the Wildcats on the board. The Wildcats trailed Destrehan 21-14 at the half. Amazingly, Destrehan only made three first downs in the first half.

After neither team could do anything with the ball on their first few possessions of the second half, ESJ quarterback Ryan Perrilloux threw a 65-yard strike to receiver Reggie Joseph to tie the game 21-21.

Due to the inclement weather, both teams had trouble holding on to the football. DHS committed five turnovers in the game, while East St. John had two turnovers. The longest drive of the night by ESJ, 6-2, was a 12-play, 60-yard drive that stalled at the DHS five when the Wildcats missed a field goal with about 34 seconds left in the second quarter.

Despite the loss, Dauterive remained upbeat about his team’s performance.

“Give Destrehan credit because they are a good football team. I’m not concerned because the sun will come up tomorrow and we’ll be ready for Central Lafourche next week,” Dauterive said.