Destrehan, Robicheaux poised for another superb football season

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Destrehan High Football

Winning comes naturally and annually at Destrehan under Steve Robicheaux.

Other than his hiatus from coaching in 2010 and 2011, the Wildcats have won and won big under Robicheaux, posting a 154-32 record, winning back-to-back Class 5A state football championships in 2008-09 and reaching the state title game in 2014. Overall, Destrehan has five state titles in the rich history of the program.

The 2017 season holds great promise, once again, for the Wildcats.

There is outstanding skill on offense, led by junior quarterback J.R. Blood. As a sophomore, Blood stepped in for the injured Kohen Granier and completed 65 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,610 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“He exceeded expectations,” Robicheaux said. “Kohen goes down in a big game with Hahnville. We were able to do everything we wanted to do with Kohen. He eats it up, he is smart, he watches video, he’s an honor student and everyone loves him. He’s the reason we coach. We are really glad he’s on our team. He’s very special.”

Despite the graduation of Kristian Mosley, Destrehan has an elite running back returning in junior John Emery (6-0, 200).

A major Division I prospect, Emery rushed for 1,290 yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago. Sophomore Carl Edwards will spell Emery.

There are a pair of outstanding wide receivers returning as well in senior C.B. Anderson (5-9, 170) and junior Quinton Torbor (6-1, 185). Anderson had eight catches for 141 yards and a touchdown while Torbor had 19 catches for 293 yards and three scores. Junior Carl Lewis (5-8, 170) also returns. Lewis had 11 catches for 145 yards and a touchdown in 2016.

“They’ve had a great summer,” Robicheaux said. “Emery is quick and powerful. He is above 200 pounds now. He is a force. He is the closest we’ve had to being at that level since Rondell Mealey. He can put his foot in the ground and make a cut and he can run through tackles. He works very hard. He never stops working. He wants to be good and loves football. C.B. played a lot last year. Carl Lewis will be very good in the slot. Torbor has an offer from Auburn. We like the group.”

Junior Mark Trahan (5-9, 170) is the H-Back while junior Carson Rieder (6-2, 200) is the tight end.

Up front, the Wildcats lack size and there is only one starter returning in senior tackle Sam Matthews (6-0, 280). Others will have to mature quickly, including senior Brandon Oubre (5-10, 245) and juniors Avery Wagner (6-0, 215), Chase Cooke (6-0, 200) and Jalen Richard (5-10, 200).

“I really like this offensive line group,” Robicheaux said. “They won’t be as big and physical but they play extremely hard and are athletic. I’ll take those kind of guys anytime. It’s a good group that figures to improve. Sam Matthews started a year ago and will be our leader.”

Defensively, Destrehan has five returning starters.

Up front, physical senior nose guard Jabriel Fields (6-1, 240) is a standout player. Fields had 20 tackles a year ago. Senior Bryce Scioneaux (6-1, 250) returns as well while senior Jyi Teague (6-3, 250) adds size to the three-man front.

“Fields and Scioneaux got valuable experience last year,” Robicheaux said. “We have four or five guys we like up front. Hopefully, they will come together early. It is a group of guys that can move.”

At linebacker, senior Rob Hall (5-10 185) is a returning starter, moving to inside linebacker from playing safety a year ago. Junior Alex Huszar (6-0, 215) is the other inside linebacker. On the outside, senior Macon Clark (6-0, 180) is back after registering 46 tackles a year ago while senior Aaron Buckwalter (6-1, 185) should start on the other side.

“Macon is the guy that the colleges like,” Robicheaux said. “He can play outside linebacker or safety. He’s a physical kid who has gotten bigger through the weight room. Hall loves the weight room as well and we’ve moved him inside. Alex Huszar started at the end of last season. Buckwalter will be a good player. They are very active and can get it done for us.”

The secondary is led by junior safety Champ Craven (5-10, 175), who will slide from free safety to strong safety while while junior Trent Smith (5-8, 170) will also play strong safety. The cornerbacks are senior Jalen Smothers (6-0, 180) and junior Dontrell Smith (5-10, 170).

“We will start a pair of corners who don’t have much game experience but they have enjoyed good summers,” Robicheaux said. “Craven is back and could play either safety spot. Denzel Riley (5-11, 180 Jr.) transferred from Bonnabel and he can play free safety.”

Junior Ronal Santos (5-8, 160) and Perry Stubbs (5-10, 170) will handle kicking duties.

The schedule opens at home against Slidell on Sept. 1 before the Wildcats play down in classification but not in quality in a trip to LaPlace to take on Division II power St. Charles Catholic in week two. Robicheaux attended St. Charles.

“Slidell is solid and well coached,” Robicheaux said. “Obviously, playing a guy like Frank Monica, who is one of the best in the business, is special. He does a tremendous job and his kids are good players who are well prepared. It’s probably a game you don’t want to schedule but we did. They will play hard and fight you to the end. They are tough. It’s a little bit of a homecoming for me and my daughter cheered there.”

Week three has Destrehan facing a very talented John Ehret squad at home. The Wildcats beat Ehret twice a year ago, including in the 5A quarterfinals.

Week four is the annual rivalry showdown game which could decide the 6-5A district title as Destrehan hosts Hahnville before a talented Thibodaux squad comes to Destrehan in week five.

“Hahnville has size and skill,” Robicheaux said. “Anthony Williams is one of the best players around. They have a quarterback they really like and their offensive line is massive. It’s always a tough challenge. It’s Hahnville-Destrehan. That is all you have to say. It is a great rivalry, fun for everyone but coaches and we play them after St. Charles Catholic and John Ehret, which is tough.”

It is the battle of the Wildcats in week six as Destrehan hosts East St. John before traveling to Bayou country to face Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois. Week nine has Destrehan hosting Jesuit in a non-district tilt before the Wildcats travel to Terrebonne to close the regular season Nov. 3.

“East St. John will always be a tough game,” Robicheaux said. “We have to travel to Central Lafourche and be ready to play. Thibodaux is always a tough game. Slipping Jesuit in is a challenge as well. We decided to play each other as the only other team with an open date that week was Evangel. We always want to find games that challenge us, help our power points and allow the kids to play 10 games, which they deserve.”

If the offensive line can hold up, Destrehan has a host of very good skill players that should be able to put plenty of points on the board, resulting in plenty of victories. Of course, 7-5A should once again come down to the Wildcats and Hahnville.

“I hope we are that team and I hope you are right,” Robicheaux said.

To not consider Destrehan a favorite to win its league and advance deep into the playoffs would be foolish.

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…

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