No. 3 Destrehan latest challenge for St.?Amant

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Tre` Vaughn breaks free against East St. John last week. Vaughn and the Gators travel to Destrehan Friday night.

ST. AMANT - No. 3 Destrehan of Class 5A will be St. Amant’s latest challenge of top tier teams when the Gators travel to Wildcat Stadium Friday night for a District 5-5A battle.

“The mountain is steep,” St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. “Destrehan is a tremendous team. I think they have won 20 straight games and are the defending 5A state champs. That will be a huge challenge for us Friday night and our kids are excited about it.

“If you win out, you will have a chance to do what you want to do. It is nice to control your own destiny. The thing we have to do is start taking care of the ball and get our first win.”

Destrehan (5-0, 1-0) won the Class 5A state championship last season finishing 15-0 under head coach Stephen Robicheaux and are coming off a 33-7 victory over rival Hahnville to begin district play. They have outscored their opponents 164-34 this season.

St. Amant nearly gave the Wildcats their lone setback last season in a 21-19 defeat at The Pit when Colby Robert’s 39-yard field goal attempt was blocked on the game’s last play.

The Wildcats have lost a slew of seniors from last season, many who moved on to the next level, led by LSU signees Jordan Jefferson and Tim Molton, but have reloaded and are consider by some to be just as dangerous as a year ago.

“I think they are a pretty deep team,” Oliver said “I think that was the reason, they were able to go as far as they did last year. They had good depth so they were able to absorb the losses of some key guys. The guys that have replaced them have played well and they are pretty good on both interior lines which allows them to cover up some flaws in the secondary or the backfield. They are still top to bottom probably the top team in our (district).”

Destrehan is led by quarterback Wynrick Smothers, who has thrown for 781 yards on 52-of-82 passing and has thrown for 10 touchdowns while added 130 yards on the ground on 36 carries to go with two touchdowns. Smothers’ top targets have been Brad Armstrong, who has hauled in 19 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns and Kyron King,  who has caught 13 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. The Wildcats top rushers are Henry Lenox with 231 yards on 44 attempts and Myron Smith with 201 yards on 53 carries to go with five touchdowns.

“They do both well,” Oliver said. “We are going to try and stop the run first and then stop the pass like we do every game.”

Destrehan’s defense, which is allowing just 6.8 points per game, is led by top prospect Rufus Porter at linebacker.

St. Amant (0-5, 0-1) is coming of a 69-35 loss to East St. John. The Gators rushed for 271 yards last week led by quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc’s 127 yards on 10 carries, including two touchdowns. LeBlanc added 98 yards in the air on 3 of 10 passing and has amassed 429 yards in the air to date.

“I think that he has improved tremendously game to game and he is continuing to grow as we go, so we are pleased with what he is doing,” Oliver said of LeBlanc.

Adrian Bourgeois has led the Gators ground attack this season rushing for 276 yards 42 carries, while Tre’ Vaughn has added 255 yards on 39 totes and Nelson Jointer has contributed 194 yards on 37 attempts. St. Amant’s top receivers are Anthony Bonadona, who has caught 10 passes for 171 yards, and Chase Keller, who has hauled in eight catches for 108 yards.

“Any team at any time can come out and do something special,” Oliver said. “If you catch them when they are not as hot as they usually are and we are playing our best football, anything is possible. We are going to go in with an open mind and try to play our best football and hope that things go our way. That is why they play these games on Friday night.”

St. Amant will host long-time rival East Ascension next week.