Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009



RESERVE — Even when East St. John’s offense left the field, Destrehan couldn’t avoid D’haquille Williams.

The ESJ wide receiver caught five passes for 140 yards and four touchdowns and intercepted a pass late in the first half as his Wildcats throttled Destrehan, 41-9, in a Di9strict 6-5A game at Joe Keller Memorial Stadium.

ESJ had lost to Destrehan in each of the last two seasons.

Williams put on a show, catching touchdowns of 30, 26, 40 and seven yards – the longest of which coming on a spectacular grab Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half to put ESJ ahead 28-3.

“At school, I went to Coach Doe and asked him, ‘This is a big rivalry game, huh? This is important.’ And he told me yes, and that they’re all important. But I told him I was going to come out tonight and play every down like it was my last. I was ready to put up points for my team.”

Said ESJ coach Larry Dauterive: “He intercepted a pass and took it back. He ran a reverse for a touchdown, even though it was called back. He’s phenomenal. He can do anything.”

It seemed like East St. John (7-1, 3-0) could do just about anything on Friday. Its offense entered the game with the reputation of being a high scoring unit, and it lived up to billing.

But just as pleasing to Dauterive was the team’s defensive performance, as well as its play on special teams.

“It was our most complete performance of the year, no question,” said Dauterive. “And this is the time when you want to peak.”

Kalen Henderson completed 11-of-19 passes for 219 yards and four touchdowns for East St. John.

Destrehan’s Henry Lenox rushed for 108 yards and a score.

ESJ marched down for a score on the game’s opening drive, cashing in on a 10-play, 80-yard drive. Reynaldo Young capped it off with a 11-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 6:45 left in the first quarter.

After forcing a three-and-out, ESJ took over in great field position on the Destrehan 41. It drove down to the 19 before a holding penalty set them back. But on first-and-20, Henderson found Williams open and he took it in for a 30-yard score, making it 14-0 on the final play of the opening quarter.

Destrehan’s next drive was ended when Williams intercepted a tipped ball thrown by DHS quarterback Taylor Dunn.

That play was negated when the Destrehan defense came up with a big play of its own. Henderson attempted a short pass, but found DHS’ Dylan Senia instead. Destrehan (3-5, 1-2) took over on the ESJ 7, but a fumbled snap and a penalty forced it to settle for a 32-yard Andrew Wyatt field goal with 5:00 left in the first half.

The half’s final minute proved Destrehan’s ultimate undoing.

First, ESJ scored with 51 seconds remaining on a third-and-25 play, a 26-yard touchdown on a jumpball in the endzone.

“It feels good to have him on the field,” said Henderson. “He’s a guy I can go to when in trouble. I give him all the credit.”

Then ESJ took advantage of another Destrehan turnover when a snap fired through Dunn’s legs. ESJ recovered and with 13 seconds left, Henderson rolled out to throw a Hail Mary. Destrehan pressured him, and he escaped, buying time with his legs in the backfield. He rolled sideline to sideline before finally setting himself and heaved a pass for the back of the endzone, where Williams was waiting to haul it in. The crowd erupted.

“Kalen kept that alive,” said Dauterive. “You can’t coach what happened on that play…we’re not afraid to go to D’haquille in any situation. Just get it close to him.”

Said Henderson: “Before the snap, Coach told me I had to put it in the endzone. I was just trying to buy some time – the defensive end got a good rush. I strung it out as long as I could. And when I saw him there, I just knew – he’s a foot taller than the corner. If it’s inbounds, it’s a touchdown.”

Destrehan showed life early in the second half when Lenox scored on a 37-yard run up the sideline, making it 28-9.

But they would draw no closer. In the fourth quarter, Young added his second rushing touchdown and Williams his fourth receiving, both on 5-yard plays.

“The kids are happy. I’m happy,” said Dauterive. “And East St. John’s happy.”