Destrehan knocked out at St. Paul’s

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2009

By Mike Pervel

Ponthartrain Newspapers

St. Paul’s Wolves (10-1), the No. 7 seed in Class 5A, used a big second half to roll post the Destrehan Wildcats 35-14 Friday night in the bi-district round at Hunter Stadium, officially ending Destrehan’s two year reign as Class 5A state champions.

St. Paul’s junior quarterback Alec Duncan passed for 246 yards with two touchdowns completing 9-of-13 passes.

Wolves’ junior defensive back Stephen Smith picked off three passes and junior linebacker Tyler Tourelle recovered two fumbles to help secure the victory.

St. Paul’s coach Ken Sears said it was a total team effort.

“Our defensive staff did a great job making adjustments in the second half. Our quarterback (Duncan) played well, our backs ran hard and our o-line blocked well. It was a great team effort against a program with a great tradition,” Sears said.

After a scoreless first quarter in which both defenses dictated play, Destrehan (5-6), the defending Class 5A state champion, finally broke the deadlock with senior running back Henry Lenox cashing in from 11-yards out with 5:31 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats went on an 82-yard, 13-play drive. Daniel Cimino’s extra point made it 7-0.

Following a fumble recovery by St. Paul’s Tyler Tourelle, the Wolves took over at midfield with 3:56 left in the first half. Tourelle, the Wolves’ junior middle backer and leading tackler on the season, recovered two fumbles. He was also in on 13 tackles including nine solo stops.

Trailing 7-0, on third-and-goal from the three, Duncan faked an inside hand off and rolled left finding Smith all alone in the corner of the end zone.

St. Paul’s took over at their 11 following McCune’s punt early in the second half. The Wolves didn’t waste any time as Duncan found Jermaine Sams in full-stride on a strike and he broke a tackle outracing Destrehan defenders into the end zone. Saltalamacchia’s PAT made it 14-7 with 6:59 remaining in the third quarter.

After Sams’ 89-yard jaunt, Destrehan’s Lenox took the ensuing kickoff at his six and returned it 60 yards being brought down by Saltalamacchia at the St. Paul’s 34.

Destrehan showed its determination putting the ball in the end zone on a five-yard TD toss from junior quarterback Taylor Dunn to Kyron King, who caught seven balls for

Dunn connected on 15-of-31 passes for 199 yards, but was picked off three times in the second half by St. Paul’s junior cornerback Stephen Smith.

St. Paul’s took the lead on sophomore fullback Dylan Long’s 2-yard run finishing off a seven-play, 65-yard drive with 10:55 left in the fourth quarter. Saltalamacchia’s point after gave the Wolves the lead for good at 21-14.

Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux said it was a heck of a ballgame for three quarters.

“Our kids came out and played well. We have been making mistakes all year and that’s the reason we were 5-5 coming in. We go down and fumble the ball at the five-yard line the first series and we drop a potential touchdown,” Robicheaux said.

On their next drive, Duncan found Will Gensler for 14 yards and Washington gained four yards before Stephon Smith ripped off a 30-yard run setting up first-and-goal at the 7. Smith gained four more yards and finished with 101 yards on just nine carries to help spark the Wolves’ running game. Long tallied from 3-yards out and Saltalamacchia’s PAT pushed the margin to 28-14 with 8:06 to play.

Destrehan gained one first down on its next series, but on third-and-10 from the their own 37, Dunn was victimized again by Smith on his second interception. The Wolves capitalized three plays later with Duncan tossing a perfectly thrown 43-yard strike to Gensler, who made a nice over-the-shoulder catch and raced into the end zone. Saltalamacchia’s extra point closed out the scoring at 35-14 with 4:22 left.