Parker’s interception seals 26th straight win for DHS
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 26, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Destrehan cornerback Antonio Parker’s had his share of big-game heroics in his prep career to date. But none were greater than the play he made on Friday night.
With three minutes remaining and his Wildcats up a touchdown, Parker’s interception in the end zone of Ruston quarterback Nick Rome sealed a 17-10 victory at Destrehan and a trip to the Class 5A state quarterfinals for his team.
“I feel like he’s the best athlete on the field,” said Destrehan Coach Stephen Robicheaux. “He got burnt one time and gave up a touchdown. He’s such a great athlete, he tends to take some chances. But for the one time he doesn’t make a play, there’s 10 times he does. We’re excited about what he brings to our team.”
Destrehan (11-0), the tournament’s No. 2 seed, will travel to No. 10 seeded Higgins to face the Hurricanes in the state quarterfinals. It’s a rematch of an early season game between the teams that Destrehan won 20-0 on Sept. 26.
Ruston (8-4) had its chances, but Destrehan made enough plays to keep its 26-game winning streak alive. After a 29-yard fourth quarter field goal by Ruston’s Reid Brasher cut a 10-point Destrehan lead to 17-10, the Bearcats recovered an onside kick. But Brasher missed a 32-yard field goal with nine minutes left.
But after a Destrehan fumble, Ruston had one final chance to tie the game with seven minutes left. But after driving inside the DHS 30, Parker sealed the win with his pick.
Rome was 15-35 for 149 yards through the air. The interception didn’t take away from the impression the quarterback made on Robicheaux.
“That’s probably the most gritty quarterback I’ve faced in a long time,” he said. “We knew they’d be tough to stop.”
The Wildcats did a solid job of that, their defense again the team’s calling card. Destrehan allowed only 203 yards of total offense to a team that has topped 40 points four times and 50 points twice this season. Destrehan rolled up 331 yards of offense.
Destrehan quarterback Wynrick Smothers passed for 169 yards, completing 11-of-15 passes. He also ran for 55 yards. Henry Lenox ran 13 times for 86 yards.
The Wildcats led 10-0 after a quarter, and it seemed like the floodgates could open again for DHS. A Marshall Charles 1-yard touchdown run and a 30-yard Ryan Rome field goal put Ruston in a hole.
But Nick Rome’s deep pass to Thomas Davison was complete for a 35-yard score, cutting the lead to 10-7. That was the score at the half.
Early in the third quarter, Lenox scored on a 16-yard run to make it a 10-point game again. But the DHS offense bogged down against a game Bearcat defensive effort.
“There were a couple times I thought we were about to pull away, once we led 17-7,” Robicheaux said. “We didn’t get it done though.”
But thanks to Parker and the defense, Ruston wouldn’t force overtime.
Now that victory is secure, Robicheaux sees the nail-biting win as a positive for his squad.
“Part of me is glad to have a close game at this point,” Robicheaux said. “To have to pull one out at the end…it’s a test for the kids, and they did the job. In the playoffs, you tend to have these games the further you get along, so it’s good to get a win down to the wire.”