ESJ runs over Destrehan

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 10, 2005

52-7 win gives ESJ district title, second seed


Sports Editor

DESTREHAN — In the widely anticipated match-up of the top two 5A teams for the district 5 title, there were two Wildcat teams with a combined record of 15 wins and one loss. Something had to give.

It was Destrehan. And they gave until it hurt.

The formerly unbeaten Destrehan Fighting Wildcats (9-1, 4-1) held homefield advantage in the game against East St. John (7-1, 5-0) last Friday night, and the turnout for both teams had cars parked from the railroad tracks all the way to River Road. But it was ESJ’s Wildcat defense that made the most noise, by forcing eight turnovers and holding senior quarterback phenom Jai Eugene to five yards rushing and 50 yards passing.

The East St. John offense was in full force as well, with Johnnie Thiel returning to the line-up from an injured leg that had him sidelined for much of the last five weeks.

But Thiels job was mostly to hand the ball to Brother Martin transfer Johnny Owens who ran for 197 yards on 17 carries and scored four TDs.

At kickoff, the game looked to be an even match-up as ESJ stalled on their first drive and was forced to punt. But a Destrehan fumble on their first possession was recovered by Antoine Forcha right around midfield. East St. John took the possession down to the Destrehan three yard line where Owen took it in for his first TD. His three other TD runs on the night would come from 14, 49 and 13 yards out.

After ESJ got the lead, they never looked back. A stifling defense kept Destrehan in check throughout and following the 17-0 halftime lead, East St. John poured it on.

“It was the defense,” said ESJ Coach Larry Dauterive said on the field after the game. “They were stronger than us at the line, but our adjustments worked.”

The offense was a healthy complement to the stiff defensive performance, as the Wildcats rolled up 463 yards.

Ricky Dixon moved back to wide receiver for most of the game, but came in for mop-up duty in the fourth quarter where he went 4-of-5 for 76 yards including a TD pass to Joshuelle Tuesno.

The win was East St. John’s first outright district title in since their undefeated state championship season in 1980.