Matherne leads LHS past DHS in jamboree

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 24, 2012




DESTREHAN – Early on in its jamboree clash with Hahnville, it appeared that Destrehan had written the perfect script for coach Stephen Robicheaux’s return to the Wildcats’ sideline. But as the night went on,

Lutcher proved determined to not cooperate with the coaching greats storybook return.

Quarterback Ruston Matherne’s strong effort led the way for the Bulldogs in a 23-13 victory at Destrehan in the second game of Thursday night’s Ed Reed River Parishes Jamboree. 

Matherne passed for two touchdowns and ran for another. He also had a hand in converting two 2-point conversions, rushing for one and passing for another.

“We’re greener than the turf,” said Lutcher coach Tim Detillier of his team, which has had to replace a number of 2012 seniors. “It was sloppy at times on both sides. But I loved our effort … I thought we were very nervous before the game. This team needed to get out here and play under the lights, because you can’t simulate this in practice.”

It was Robicheaux’s first game back on the DHS sideline as head coach since he stepped down after the 2009 season. In 2007 and 2008, Robicheaux guided Destrehan to two Class 5A state championships and a perfect 29-0 record. In his absence, Destrehan has gone 5-15 in two seasons.

“It feels good to be back,” said Robicheaux. “I was a little disappointed in how we played tonight. We’ve got some work to do … Any time we did something to built a little momentum, they answered.”

The jamboree was two halves of 15 minutes. It was an exhibition game and the result is not counted.

The night couldn’t have begun better for Robicheaux’s team. After Mike Smith returned the opening kickoff 32 yards to Destrehan’s 40, tailback Lou Donovan Wells took off for a 60-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. 

“The offensive line did a great job and Lou broke it. It was a great run,” said Robicheaux. 

Destrehan forced a three-and-out on Lutcher’s first series, but the Bulldogs had a chance to tie after recovering a Wildcats fumble at the DHS 29. 

Things almost tilted in a major way in Destrehan’s favor when an incomplete pass from Matherne on a smoke route was originally ruled backwards and a fumble; Denzel Arceneaux recovered and returned it for an apparent score, but after the officials conferred it was ruled incomplete.

Nonetheless, Lutcher drove all the way to the DHS 1 and had two plays to punch it in, but DHS stopped two rush attempts for negative yardage.

The teams traded punts, but then Destrehan lost a fumbled snap that was recovered by LHS’ Claude Wiggins at the LHS 49. 

This time, Lutcher cashed in. After a sack by DHS’ Payton Steib pushed Lutcher into a third-and-18 play from the DHS 39, Matherne hit DiJohn Payne for 14 yards, then Lutcher drew Destrehan offsides to convert a fourth-and-five. Matherne capped what was a 14-play drive in 4:30 with a 6-yard touchdown run on a draw. 

Penalties continued to hurt Destrehan on the point after, as two offsides calls pushed the ball inside the 1, giving Lutcher coaches a reason to allow Matherne a chance to punch it in for the two-point conversion. LHS led 8-7 once he converted.

In the second half, however, Destrehan’s RaeJuan Marbley took advantage of Lutcher mistake to begin things, recovering a fumble to set up a DHS scoring drive that began at the Lutcher 27. Will Mathew’s 14-yard rush followed by a 9-yard Wells run set up second and goal from the 1, and Wells converted for his second touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked by Blake Roussel, and DHS led 13-8.

LHS embarked on another long drive, this one 11 plays. Matherne found Sully Martin twice on the drive for gains of 14 and then 17 yards and then found Payne for a 13-yard gain. Torian Shorty ripped off an 18-yard run, setting up a 22-yard touchdown toss from Matherne to DeAmphrany Davis, who hauled in a jump ball over two defenders to make it 14-13 in Lutcher’s favor. The lead became 16-13 after Matherne found Martin again for a 2-point conversion with 10:34 left to play. 

“We felt great about our receiving corps coming in, and certainly so after tonight,” said Detillier. “We’ve got experience and quality depth there. It’s one of the strongest positions on our team.”

Lutcher forced a three-and-out, then scored again on a short field, going 45 yards in five plays, Matherne dialing up Spencer Roussel on a fade route for an 18-yard score, pushing the lead to 23-13 after the extra point. 

“There’s a word we’ve got up on the wall that we touch when we go out there, ‘Relentless,’” said Detillier. “I talked about that word in the pregame, reminded them of what it means. I thought our kids attacked and attacked out there. They showed a lot of character.”

Destrehan couldn’t find a groove. Another three and out handed the ball over to Lutcher with 6:06 remaining, and the Wildcats never saw the ball again. Lutcher handed the ball off 10 consecutive times to kill the clock and ice the game.

Detillier was pleased with the win, but seemingly just as pleased to see Robicheaux, whom he had high praise for, back on the opposing sideline,.

“We don’t have enough good men in high school football, and I thought we’d lost one when he stepped away,” said Detillier. “He’s such a good man and a person who will affect so many of these kids and their lives. It’s good to see him back.”

But for Detillier’s own team, Matherne was the star of the night, numerous times eluding pressure and showing composure to make plays down the field. 

“He understands what he can and can’t do and has tremendous confidence in his abilities,” said Detillier. “In high school football, the confident player can often overcome one with more athleticism. Ruston believes in himself and, boy, so do we.”