Destrehan comeback effort falls short in 22-14 playoff loss to Barbe

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Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux looked into the faces of his devastated team Friday night and told them how proud he was of how they fought to come back against the Barbe Buccaneers.

Then he told them this one is going to hurt.

After spotting Barbe a 22-point lead thanks to three fumbles, Destrehan stormed back in the second half to pull to within 8.

With less than a minute left to play, the Wildcats had the ball at the Barbe 18-yard line.

But after quarterback JR Blood threw an incompletion on first down, he was sacked back at the 19 on second down. On third down he spiked the ball to stop the clock. On fourth down he threw into the end zone but the ball was tipped away and Barbe escaped with a 22-14 win.

No. 9 seed Barbe (11-1) advances to the Class 5A quarterfinals at No. 1 West Monroe next week. No. 8 Destrehan finishes its season 9-3.

Robicheaux said the mistakes his team made were costly.

“You can’t spot a team like that 22 points,” Robicheaux said. “You can’t fumble the ball, you can’t jump offsides, holding calls, obviously. It’s the second round of playoffs and you’ve got to play almost perfect to win, we just didn’t play well tonight.”

Barbe finished with 337 yards of offense, including 188 yards rushing.
Quarterback Luke Richard led the offense with 62 yards and one touchdown. He also passed for 149 yards.

Highly touted running backs Dana Fontenot and JaIvan Samuel combined for 60 yards with a 3-yard touchdown by Fontenot. Jaylon Smith added 67 yards on four carries.

But Barbe coach Mike Cutrera lauded his defense for holding off the Wildcats for all of the first half and to preserve the win at the end.

“I can’t say enough about our defense,” Cutrera said. “We got up and they came back but our kids found a way to win.You’ve got to give credit to Destrehan too. That’s a well-coached team that played hard. It was just a good high school football game..”

The Wildcats were feeling confident with the return of running back John Emery, who missed nearly a month following surgery for a fractured hand. He returned to the lineup Friday and rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown. Blood was 15 of 25 for 250 yards and one touchdown to Carson Rieder.

But turnovers crushed the Wildcats’ comeback.

Destrehan lost four fumbles, three in the first half. The first came on a bad snap in the first quarter and was recovered by Barbe’s Andre Lee at the Wildcats’ 10.

The Destrehan defense stiffened, however, and Barbe had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Mason Caldwell.

Caldwell kicked his second field goal with 7:36 remaining in the second quarter from 35 yards out.

Destrehan lost the ball again with 2:28 remaining in the first half and the Buccaneers converted it into a touchdown six plays later when Dana Fontenot scored from the 3. Barbe elected to go for 2 but the pass failed, leaving the Bucs with a 12-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Destrehan’s Dontrell Smith was sprinting into Barbe territory when he was hit and the ball fell right into the hands of Caldwell.

On the ensuing drive, Richard connected with Jaivan Samuel, who made a spectacular catch at the Destrehan 6. But with 2 seconds remaining in the half, Barbe settled for a 23-yard Caldwell field goal and a 15-0 halftime lead.

The Buccaneers added to their lead early in the second half, going 68 yards on seven plays. On fourth-and-one, Richard faked a handoff to Samuel and ran for a 35-yard touchdown with 9:14 remaining.

Destrehan finally found the end zone on its next possession, going 80 yards on seven plays. With 6:31 remaining in the third quarter, Blood found Carson Rieder in the back corner of the end zone for the touchdown to cut the lead to 22-14.
The Wildcats appeared to have scored again a short time later. But while fighting for extra yardage after a 12-yard gain, Emery was stripped of the ball at the goal line and the Bucs were awarded a touchback.

They could not convert, however, and Destrehan got the ball back with 1:07 remaining at their own 42.

On the second play of the fourth quarter, Emery ran left and spun at the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown with 11:17 remaining in the game.

There were five punts over the next eight minutes or so. Destrehan started its final drive with 2:53 on the clock at its own 33-yard line and with Emery limping on the sideline.
Blood got the Wildcats into Barbe territory with a couple of passes and a key run by Kyle Edwards to the Barbe 18.

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