Destrehan’s 2nd half surge guides Wildcats past Dutchtown

Published 12:04 am Saturday, November 30, 2013





LAPLACE – Destrehan had to sweat it out late into a game for the first time all season at Dutchtown Friday night.

But while the Griffins slowed the Wildcats’ offense more than anyone this season, Destrehan’s defense reminded everyone statewide that it, too, is more than formidable in a 23-7 Class 5A state quarterfinal victory in Geismar.

Destrehan advances to the Class 5A semifinals, where it is set to host 8th seeded Barbe. Barbe downed Acadiana 27-17 to advance.

Destrehan led just 2-0 at halftime, but two long Donovan Isom touchdown passes to Tramaine Armstrong gave the Wildcats the breathing room it needed in the second half, and Raekwon Morgan hauled in two of three fourth quarter interceptions of Dutchtown passer Brandt Fritsche.

It was a rematch from Week 3 of the season, where Destrehan beat Dutchtown, 45-13.

Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux had no illusions of a cakewalk, though.

“We went up by two scores and that forced them to make throws,” said  Robicheaux. “They moved the ball on us in the first game, too.  Dutchtown’s got two guys committed to Arkansas, a team of good football players and Benny (Saia) does a great job. I knew it wasn’t going to be anything like the first game.”

Destrehan (12-1) led 9-0 early in the fourth quarter when Dutchtown put Destrehan’s title hopes in real danger. The Griffins (10-3) forced a Destrehan punt and began their first drive of the fourth quarter on the Destrehan 46. Torrance Mosley broke free on the fifth play of that drive, shaking a safety and breaking a tackle en route to a 29-yard score to make it 9-7 with 9:49 remaining in the game.

But Destrehan fired right back just over 90 seconds later when Isom bought time on a first-and-10 play and threw a rocket downfield to Armstrong, who caught it in stride for the 51-yard touchdown to make it 16-7.

“It was just sudden,” said Armstrong of both plays. “He just threw it out there and I had a few steps.”

The Wildcats defense stepped up to end each of Dutchtown’s next two offerings, Morgan intercepting passes to end each threat. Destrehan put things away on a drive beginning with five minutes left, Isom bulldozing into the endzone on a 5-yard run to make it 23-7 with 2:08 left. 

Korian Reynaud intercepted Fritsche on Dutchtown’s final drive, and Isom knelt it out to close.

The game’s first touchdown finally came with 9:08 remaining in the third quarter, Isom connecting with a wide open Armstrong down the left sideline for a 37-yard score on third-and-10, making it 9-0.

“Son of a gun, he’s hard to stop,” said Dutchtown coach Benny Saia. “He’s eight feet tall, throwing it high up there on a rope. He’s a headache.”

Dutchtown then embarked on a long drive sparked by an opening reverse to Torrance Mosley for 19 yards. Dutchtown kept the ball on the ground and marched down to the Destrehan 8 in 10 plays.

But Mosley was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on a post-play skirmish, and Dutchtown stalled, a field goal attempt from 24 yards no good.

“There were some spots where I felt we had chances to score and we hurt ourselves. Against a Destrehan, that beats you,” said Saia.

Robicheaux said that Dutchtown stepped up to hold down the Destrehan rushing attack.

“I thought we could run on them, but they shut it down. They’re good,” said Robicheaux. “Our offense had been carrying us, but we’re gonna get it worked out.  Our defense came up big for us.”

One big play the Destrehan defense made early came on a fourth down stop down at the DHS goalline.

“They scored 45 on us last time. I felt we needed a touchdown and I thought we’d get it,” said Saia. “They made a few first downs and flipped field position on us, and I thought that was a big key in the game.’

“I wanted to keep their defense on the field, because those guys haven’t had to play a lot of football wire-to-wire … but that defense is very good. People talk about their offense, but not enough people talk about Destrehan’s defense.”