Destrehan looks to build on 2013 success

Published 10:22 am Saturday, August 23, 2014


DESTREHAN — When he returned to Destrehan two years ago for his second stint as Wildcats head coach, coach Stephen Robicheaux reminded his team that it meant something to represent Destrehan on the football field. After three non-playoff qualifying seasons, Robicheaux sought to restore the program to the heights it achieved during its two-year, back-to-back state championship seasons in 2007 and 2008.

While the Wildcats didn’t haul in another state crown last season, the DHS program came awfully close to climbing to the top of the Class 5A mountain again. Destrehan went 10-0 on the field last regular season — though DHS had to forfeit its victory over South Lafourche — and the Wildcats reached the state semifinals. 

Of Destrehan’s regular season wins, none came by less than 25 points. The Wildcats bring back 16 starters from that team.

“Here at Destrehan, the expectations are always high,” Robicheaux said. “We’re really excited with where the program is again. Obviously, with 16 starters back from a team that went to the semifinals, we’re looking to put together another strong year and we can’t wait to get this thing kicked off.”

Destrehan will call on first-year starter Marquise Darensbourg to fill some big shoes. Quarterback Donovan Isom has moved on to play at Utah on the collegiate level after a sensational senior season. Isom compiled a 26-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio while piling up over 2,000 yards through the air.

Robicheaux said DHS may scale back the playbook a bit to allow their sophomore quarterback time to get his feet wet. That said, he has faith in Darensbourg to step in and find success.

“He has tremendous upside,” Robicheaux said. “He’s got a very strong arm and he’s a physical kid. He’s got all the tools, and the only thing he’s lacking right now is experience.”

Darensbourg certainly steps into a good situation. Destrehan returns four receivers from its shotgun spread attack, as well as tailback Will Matthews, who rushed for 20 touchdowns last regular season.

Three of those receivers, Alfred Smith, Kirk Merritt and John Williams, finished among the top six receivers in the River Region last regular season. Tremaine Armstrong caught just 14 passes last season, but 10 went for touchdowns.

“We’re real fortunate to bring all of those guys back,” Robicheaux said. “Our receiving corps has the potential to be one of the best we’ve ever had.”

Defensively, Destrehan loses leading tacklers RaeJuan Marbley and Malcolm Darensbourg, but otherwise brings back a stout roster of talent. 

DHS boasts a huge defensive front, led by the 6’5”, 215 lb. Glen Logan. Gerald Wilbon (6’3”, 310 lbs.) and Ed Leonard (6’, 265 lbs.) join him on the defensive line. 

Peyton Steib and Allen Pittman are returning starters at linebacker. 

And in the secondary, the Wildcats are stacked. Free safety Brandon Scott is being heavily recruited by high-Division I schools. Strong safety Raekwon Morgan is who Robicheaux calls the team’s “most instinctive player,” and cornerback Korian Reynaud is a Louisiana-Monroe commitment.