Destrehan escapes with 2-1 win over ESJ
Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
It appeared that host East St. John would be little match for District 6-I co-leader Destrehan in their match on Tuesday.
Not only was ESJ winless in six district games, but it was also down to only 11 available players as it took the field.
But Destrehan was not in for an easy time. East St. John came within a whisker of not only notching its first district win, but dealing a fatal blow to Destrehan’s bid for a district championship. In the end, Destrehan escaped with a 2-1 victory.
“We played our best game, better than we have all season,” said East St. John Coach Paul Dupuy. “Everyone figured out their roles defensively, and we were clicking on offense, moving the ball around, playing unselfishly.”
Destrehan (10-7-3, 5-2) remains tied with East Ascension and Dutchtown for the district lead.
In East St. John’s last district game, against East Ascension, the short-handed Wildcats wore down late, and a close game unraveled into a blowout.
That would not be the case this time. Destrehan scored five minutes into the match, and clung to a 1-0 lead throughout much of the match’s second half.
But with 10 minutes left in regulation, East St. John’s Brandon Trant scored to tie the game.
“We had opportunities to win. When Brandon scored, we knew we were knocking on the door,” said Dupuy.
East St. John (7-10-1, 0-7) saw one such chance go awry when a shot bounced off the post and away from the goal. Another saw a shot go too high, over the net.
Despite the success, ESJ’s inexperience would factor in. A defensive mistake would cost ESJ in the end, and DHS put in the final, game-winning goal with little time remaining. ESJ could not answer.
“I don’t think they expected that kind of showing from us,” Dupuy said. Dupuy believes his team may have hit a turning point with this performance.
“I think we now realize that we can compete with anyone when we play unselfish, team ball,” said Dupuy. “When we play as a unit and not as a number of individuals, we compete. I’m very encouraged. I think the players are, too.”
Dupuy also says that the loss of several players in the past two weeks has led to the remaining starters raising their level of play.
“Now, there’s no use looking over to the bench for a spark,” Dupuy said. “They know they have to find it within themselves to win. We’ve had a shift to a new mentality. If we had done it earlier, I think we’d be in a much better position today.”