Destrehan enters 2023 after state title

Published 2:13 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

DESTREHAN — Destrehan is the defending Division I non-select state champion.

Last year, Destrehan went 10-0 in the regular season and then won all four games in the postseason, capped off by a 17-10 victory over Ruston.

“This year’s team is on the younger side,” Destrehan coach Marcus Scott said. “The talent level is good, just some inexperience, but they’ll adjust.”

Scott begins his fourth year as Destrehan’s head coach.

On offense, the line brings back Michael Reed and Cincinnati commit Jayce Mirchell and Yarnell Smith saw playing time last year.

Gage Schreiber, Davin Royer and Andrew Dragna are new to the lineup.

“They’re working hard,” Scott said. “They’ve got some cohesiveness and they’ll be ready when it’s time.”

Shane Lee returns at running back with Shane Ward and Jayden Bailey new to the lineup.

Lee hit 1,000-yard plateau last season, going for 1,136 yards on 134 carries (8.5 yards per attempt) with 17 touchdowns. He also caught eight passes for 109 yards (13.6).

“Shane (Lee) leads the group, but it’s a steady group,” Scott said. “We’ve got a few guys who can run the ball. The issue is that the other guys don’t have the big game experience.”

Scott talked about the difference in the running backs.

“Shane (Lee) is more of an overpowering back,” Scott said. “The other two are slashers.”

The returning receivers are Jonnie Thiel and Phillip Wright.

Thiel made 14 catches for 170 yards (12.1 yards per reception) and two touchdowns.

Wright caught nine passes for 182 yards (20.2) and three touchdowns. He also scored a touchdown on his only carry that went for 1 yard.

Makylon Smothers is returning from injury. He missed last year after he got injured in the spring game.

The new guys are Jabari Mack and Gregory Wilfred.

“From top-to-bottom, they’re probably the most talented group we have,” Scott said. “There are some guys we have that are sophomores, so they just have to get the big-game experience.”

Anthony Robinson, who plays receiver, running back and defensive back, is an Ole Miss commit. Last season, Robinson ran for 97 yards on eight carries (12.1) and he caught two passes for 12 yards (6). Defensively, Robinson made 59 tackles, nine for loss with 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble, two recovered fumbles, four pass breakups, an interception and two touchdowns.

“Anthony is one of the most versatile players in the state. He can do a little bit of everything. He can serve at running back, he can catch it out of the backfield, he can play receiver. He actually started at receiver as a freshman.”

The tight end group is new. They are Brian Juichard and Noah Bagwell.

Brody Picou is a two-way player. He gives depth at tight end and outside linebacker.

“They’re working hard and showing some promise,” Scott said. “Hopefully we can use more of the tight end in our offense.”

The quarterbacks are Jackson Fields and Braden Fenerty.

Both saw time with the first unit in the spring.

Last year, Field went 10-of-11 passing (90.9 completion percentage) for 139 yards and two touchdowns.

“Jackson is very talented. He does a lot of things naturally,” Scott said. “Braden is veteran and he’s does a lot of good things for us.”

Defensively, the line returns Gideon Bowman, Jyrin McCall and LSU commit Kolaj Cobbins, who is also an outside linebacker, are back.

Bowman had 24 tackles last year with three for a loss, 1.5 sacks, two pass breakups and five quarterback hurries.

McCall tallied 33 stops with 7.5 behind the line, 4.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and three quarterback hurries.

Cobbins posted 82.5 tackles in 2022 with 16 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, five passes defensed 16 hurries and a touchdown.

“We have some experience coming back,” Scott said. “All three guys played in the dome last year. They’ve seen various blocking schemes up front. Hopefully that’ll help them play faster.”

Inside linebacker Arrington Adams returns. Last year, Adams recorded 76.5 stops, 13.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, a pass breakup and four quarterback hurries.

The newcomers are Myd Gilbert and Semaj Walker.  Gilbert had 27 stops last season with 1.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.

“Arrington is going to be the leader of that group,” Scott said. “He’s going to be the person who settles everybody down. He’s a quiet leader. He leads by example. Kolaj is that energy guy.”

At defensive back, Robinson returns. Everybody else is new.

J.T. White is a safety. There’s a battle at safety with Jhase Thomas and Dejai Smith. There’s also a battle at cornerback with Korwin Scott, Tai Terrell and Braylon Cryer. Terrell had 13 tackles, 0.5 for loss and four pass breakups.

“We’re young and pretty athletic,” Scott said. “They have the ability to make plays, but it’s big shoes to fill from last year’s group.”

On special teams, Destrehan brings back punter Ryan Lacy and kicker Caleb Johnson.

Destrehan begins the 2023 season on Sept. 1 at home against Bonnabel.