Wildcats find way to win, top Higgins in fourth, 27-18

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Sports Editor

Ahead by two scores, and backed by a lethal, downhill rushing attack, Higgins looked for all the world to be off to the Class 5A state semifinals.

But appearances can be deceiving. Just ask Destrehan.

The Wildcats scored three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat L.W. Higgins Friday night at Hoss Memtsas Stadium, 27-18, in a 5A state quarterfinal game.

Destrehan (12-0) will host Baton Rouge-Central in a semifinal game on Friday night.

Higgins (9-3) led 18-6 entering the fourth quarter, but Wynrick Smothers threw two touchdowns and ran for another to lift his team to victory.

“We didn’t play with emotion early on,” said Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux. “But we found a spark at the end of the third, and all of a sudden, the players started feeding off of that.”

Smothers found Brandon Armstrong early in the fourth quarter for an 8-yard touchdown to make it 18-13.

Then Destrehan took its first lead of the night on its biggest play. A long heave from Smothers dropped past a leaping Hurricane defender and into the hands of a wide-open Kyron King, who ran the rest of the way for an 80-yard touchdown. That made it 20-18.

“That gave us a big spark,” said Robicheaux.

With six minutes left, the Wildcats had Higgins backed up at their own 24. On fourth-and-6, the Hurricanes went for it. But Rufus Porter stopped Higgins quarterback Edward Bernard behind the line on an attempted sweep to the outside. Three minutes later, Smothers put Destrehan up by nine with a 1-yard touchdown run.

“As bad as we played in the first three quarters, that’s how well we played in the fourth,” Robicheaux said. “We started playing well, and Higgins made some mistakes when that happened. All I know is, we’re excited to still be playing.”

Corey Vidal caught 11 passes for 123 yards. Smothers completed 15-of-27 passes for 223 yards. He also ran for 36 yards on eight carries.

Bernard put the first 12 points of the game on the board, scoring on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, then on a 74-yarder in the second.

Ryan Rome cut the lead down with field goals from 32 and 26 yards away in the second quarter. But Higgins jumped out again in the third when Bernard capped a 16-play drive with a 1-yard score on the Hurricanes’ first possession of the second half.

Higgins rushed for 268 yards, to only 67 for Destrehan. But those rushing yards accounted for the only Higgins yards on the night — the Hurricanes found no yardage through the air, only attempting three passes.