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Destrehan Football: Great Expectations

DESTREHAN — Gearing up for the beginning of school in the River Parishes means getting ready for football. Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Coach Marcus Scott and the Destrehan High School Wildcats are preparing for their season just as the other River Parish schools are, under the regulations and guidelines set forth by the LHSAA for Phase 2.

“The overall feeling of the team is excitement and anticipation. The kids did not have a chance to participate in spring football, as most schools usually do, so the kids are looking forward to going out and competing,” Scott said. “Yes, they are antsy, and have many questions, but as coaches, we basically have to tell them, ‘Look, we can only abide by the guidelines of the LHSAA and the information we are given.’ I wish I could tell them more, but we must go on the way we have been going. We are in Phase 2, so we will basically continue what we’ve been doing throughout the summer.”

Many local high schools have continued to try to do as much as they can to prepare their athletes for the season, given the regulations that are in place. Scott said the kids have been working hard, certainly knowing that their football season is threatened, but with hopes of returning to the field soon.

“I think whenever something is threatened to possibility be taken away, we all tend to cherish and appreciate it a little bit more,” he said. “So, the fact that this season, in some people’s estimation, could be in jeopardy certainly makes the kids and coaches be more grateful for the opportunity to play, coach, focus and pay attention to details that much more.”

With the announcement from the LHSAA of football season to possibly begin in October, players have a ray of hope that this season could very well be under way.

As a first-year coach at Destrehan coming into the inheritance of a fantastic football school, the expectations are great, but Scott is well aware and assuredly prepared for the challenge.

“I feel it’s always great to be somewhere where there are expectations. And when there are expectations people usually are put in position to be successful. So, here in St. Charles Parish, we are very fortunate to have some things that some people take for granted. The most challenging thing so far has been learning the culture and the people of the East Bank, but everyone has been very supportive and extremely helpful so far,” Scott said.

“It’s a different world from Jefferson Parish to the River Parishes, even though it’s right there, so close. I feel great about the team right now. The true measure of a team is how things happen whenever the pads come on. You can’t really measure how good you’re going be until you figure out how physical the kids are willing to be. That’s where the buck ends and begins actually. Once the fatigue and the pads come on you find out who’s willing to run full speed. Coaches are always so optimistic this time of year. I’m anxiously anticipating us being able to move forward.”

Scott’s future expectations for his Wildcats are hopeful and bright based on what he has seen, the workouts and steps they’ve taken in order to get better.

“It all comes down to playing fundamental football and playing hard. It’s a process and we need to focus on getting better and improving as well as blocking out distractions. But we also want to keep the focus on the most important things such as the virus, keeping healthy and preserving life,” Scott said.

“We can focus on football as we go. I was given an opportunity and it is incumbent on me to maintain that standard on and off the field. We will still be monitoring the players academically and socially; it’s not going to change. This will also hold the kids more accountable and prove to be a little more efficient. This will be a challenge for coaches, but I want my coaches to truly take an interest in the players’ lives. This is my expectation.”

The Wildcats haven’t had many major changes this year. The offensive and defensive lines are pretty much still intact but there will be some slight changes.

“Our offensive line lost four starters, so we are looking forward to this young group stepping up and rising to the occasion for the program,” Scott said. “Defensively we are fortunate enough to have eight returning starters, but it’s all about how good you are now and what you’re willing to do in order to excel and get better.”

Returning veteran offensive players, including Eli Taffi, Daniel Blood and Calvin Bullock, are expected to do some great things. Scott said he feels good about the freshman class and that some of the younger guys on the team could be very powerful players if they continue to progress.

The defense has eight guys returning, inclusive of veterans Tyler Morton, Dillon Gibbs, James Gooden and Williams Bryant. Scott thinks these upperclassmen are taking more of a leadership role on and off the field.

When all the pieces come together, Scott is looking forward to the dynamic Wildcats having a magnificent season.