Video: Destrehan escapes East St. John with 35-34 win
RESERVE – In a game where Destrehan turned it over three times in the first quarter, the defense was able to make big plays down the stretch to seal the victory.
Late in the fourth quarter, Destrehan put together an eight-play, 99-yard drive capped by a 29-yard run from Kyle Edwards to take a lead would prove enough.
After a 22-yard touchdown run by Prentice Cook pulled East St. John to within one point of the visiting Wildcats, Champ Craven blocked the PAT with 3:47 left in the game. Destrehan would hang on to beat East St. John, 35-34, at Joe Keller Stadium on Friday night.
Craven was a difference maker in the game, tallying a blocked field goal and another blocked extra point in the second quarter before contributing on the final pass break up to end the game.
“I knew they were gonna tie it up if they made it and we needed a big play. I didn’t want to leave my offense having to go down the field. I wanted to help them out and make a big play,” Craven said about the blocked extra point attempt in the fourth quarter.
Both teams combined for over 850 yards of total offense, scoring back and forth throughout the contest.
“We made a lot of mental mistakes, not fitting where we’re supposed to do,” Craven explained. “Not running the right plays. So, we just gotta stay focused during the week.”
East St. John (2-4, 1-2) took a 20-14 lead going into halftime, but Destrehan fired back in the third quarter, scoring on a 7-yard run by Carl Lewis to take the lead 21-20.
On the ensuing possession, East St. John would drove down the field to the one-yard line, only to be held short of the endzone on four straight carries. Destrehan responded with an 8-play, 99-yard drive, capped by Carson Reider’s 9-yard catch, extending Destrehan’s lead to 28-20.
Two plays later, East St. John opened the fourth quarter with a 70-yard touchdown catch by Dontae Fleming, tying the game up at 28-28 after the two-point conversion pass to Fleming as well.
East St. John quarterback Sean Shelby also showed a strong rapport with his receivers Duke Crosby and Markel August. Crosby reeled in seven catches for 85 yards and one touchdown, while August also caught seven balls for 88 yards.
“It was a hard-fought game”, Shelby said. “Both sides played great. We just gotta clean up a few mistakes we had on offense. If we clean them up we’ll be good. I gotta make my reads right and we gotta practice. That’s all we gotta do.”
Shelby completed 20 of 33 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while adding nine rushes for 61 yards.
Destrehan (5-1, 3-0) will enjoy a hard-earned road win, but it was a forgettable start to the night. Running back John Emery fumbled on the team’s first two possessions, and quarterback J.R. Blood was intercepted on the third possession by Shawn Sterling.
Emery was bottled up at first, but ran well late. The Georgia commitment had 17 carries for 107 yards. Blood completed 13 of 20 passes for 143 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Blood noted that his team was expected the challenging environment at Keller Stadium but was not necessarily ready for it at first. “You get in here and it’s like you expected and you just gotta come out here and play. When you get out here, it’s real.”
The two teams are very familiar with each other as well, and Destrehan downed East St. John last season by the same 35-34 score in an overtime thriller. “To be honest, this is the same team we’ve been playing since freshman year. So we knew what kind of game it was going to be. It was really personal, competitive, and we have some kids that came from their school anyway. It was just that type of game.”
Duke Crosby made a six-yard catch to put East St. John on the board first 7-0 to open the second quarter.
On the following kickoff, Destrehan’s Dontrell Smith broke off a 99-yard kick return to tie it up.
On East St. John’s next possession, Calvin Gardner got free for a 61-yard touchdown run on fourth down to take the lead at 14-7.
Destrehan scored once more in the first half on a five-play, 56-yard drive, capped by Quincy Brown’s 32-yard catch to make it 14-all.
Before halftime, East St. John took back the lead, 20-14, on Jarius Monroe’s 37-yard catch to finish off a nine-play, 79-yard drive. The extra point try was blocked by Craven in a sign of things to come.
“I hate it for our kids. They’ve been playing their butts off all year. We’ve lost three games by a total of four points. We lose to McDonogh 35 by two, we lost last week by one and this week by one. It’s very unfortunate, but it’s year one type of stuff,” said East St. John head coach Brandon Brown. “In year one of the program, those types of things happen. So, we just gotta clean some things up and continue to work hard. I just want our kids to keep fighting and keep believing.”
Destrehan head coach Stephen Robicheaux spoke highly of Brown’s first-year coaching efforts in Reserve.
“Brandon has done a phenomenal job. We saw it on film. They should’ve been 4-1. I think the weather got them last week and they were in the game against McDonogh 35. We told our kids they’re a 4-1 team and they have great athletes. We kind of did some things that are uncharacteristic of what we normally do. Hey, I’m happy that we got a win, but we just gotta be better. My hats off to them. They played a tremendous game. It’s a different East St. John team, I promise you.”
Both teams will continue district play next week as Destrehan faces off against Central Lafourche at home, while East St. John hosts undefeated Terrebonne.
DHS 0 14 14 7 – 35
ESJ 0 20 0 14 – 34
DHS 201, ESJ 175
DHS 143, ESJ 341
DHS 344, ESJ 516
DHS 14, ESJ 14
DHS 5 for 35 yards
ESJ 10 for 70 yards
John Emery 17 carries for 107 yards, 2 fumbles lost
Kyle Edwards 5 carries for 43 yards, 1 TD
JR Blood 5 carries for 27 yards
Quinton Torbor 2 carries for 9 yareds
Carl Lewis 2 carries for 12 yards, 1 TD
Mark Trahan 1 carry for 3 yards
JR Blood 13-of-20 for 143 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT
Quincy Brown 4 catches for 54 yards
Carson Reider 2 catches for 37 yards, 1 TD
Quinton Torbor 2 catch for 23 yards
Carl Lewis 2 catches for 11 yards
Joe Washington 2 catches for 21 yards
John Emery 1 catch for 8 yards
Pershing Toney 12 carries for 14 yards
Calvin Gardner 2 carries for 61 yards, 1 TD
Sean Shelby 9 carries for 61 yards
Prentice Cook 2 carries for 31 yards, 1 TD
Duke Crosby 3 carries for 4 yards
Reginald Foster 1 carry for 4 yards
Sean Shelby 20-of-30 for 341 yards, 3 TDs
Duke Crosby 0-of-2 for 0 yards
Duke Crosby 7 catches for 85 yards, 1 TD
Markel August 7 catches for 88 yards
Dontae Fleming 2 catches for 68 yards, 1 TD
Hoxie Brown 2 catches for 40 yards
Jarius Monroe 1 catch for 37 yards, 1 TD
Pershing Toney 1 catch for 14 yards
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Prep Sports Contributor
Born at East Jefferson Hospital, Jordan Liuzza is a Louisiana native who grew up in Metairie, before moving to Destrehan after Hurricane Katrina. Jordan graduated Destrehan High School, class of 2012, and thereafter graduated from LSU, class of 2017, with a B.A. in Communications. Growing up in Metairie, Jordan played park ball at Johnny Bright Playground. At Destrehan High School,…