Destrehan shuts out Gators after scoreless first half

Peter Silas Pasqua
St.?Amant’s Paul Gayden drops Destrehan’s Myron Smith as Zach Whittington closes in the Wildcats 24-0 victory Friday night.

DESTREHAN - Winless St. Amant played No. 3 and defending state champion Destrehan to a scoreless first half before the Wildcats scored 24 unanswered points in the second half on way to a 24-0 District 5-5A victory Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.

“Our kids played hard and gave themselves the opportunity to go out in the second half and try to steal a ball game from a pretty good team,” St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. “I don’t know if they are quite the team that they were last year but they are very good and there is a reason why they won the state title last year and there is a reason why they’ve won 21 straight games. They have good athletes, they are well coached and they are very competitive.

“We came out in the second half and just didn’t play like we did in the first half. We couldn’t get going on offense and gave them a short field to work with. We had a turnover and subsequently they were able to punch a couple in but we kept battling and kept fighting. We are going to have to find a way to be consistent for 48 minutes. We played a decent 24 minutes.”

Quarterback Wyndrick Smothers led Destrehan (6-0, 2-0) with 220 yards on 12-of-24 passing but St. Amant (0-6, 0-2) did not allow a Wildcat to rush over 35 yards despite surrendering 124 yards on the ground.

“I was real pleased with the way the defense competed,” Oliver said. “I thought we did a good job of sewing them up. That is a very explosive offense and to hold them down like we did was impressive for our kids.

“The first two scoring drives in the second half went less than 40 yards. We turned it over our own end and we did a great job of rallying and holding them to just a field goal. They gave up a long drive at the end but they had been on the field a lot.”

Scoreless at halftime, St. Amant was forced to punt on the opening possession after quarterback Jaylin LeBlanc’s 9-yard run picked up a first down and Destrehan’s Marshall Charles capped the 5-play, 38-yard drive with a 1-yard burst into the end zone after Justin Manton’s 14-yard punt.

Smothers’ 18-yard run and Charles’ 15-yard pickup set up the score. Ryan Rome’s kick gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 6:40 left in the third quarter.

“We have to learn to play 48 minutes with all three phases,” Oliver said. “We had some short punts that pinned us in our end instead of kicking us out and changing field position. We had a turnover and we did not move the ball on third down very efficiently.”

Antonio Parker intercepted LeBlanc on the ensuing possession and returned it 19-yards to the Gator 11 but St. Amant’s defense bowed and held Destrehan to Rome’s 34-yard field goal after Travonne Parquet was dropped for an 8-yard loss.

LeBlanc’s 10-yard completion to Beau Wilson on the next series fell short on third down after a chop block penalty and Destrehan responded with a 9-play, 52-yard drive capped by Charles’ 1-yard burst. Myron Smith’s 9-yard run kick started the possession before the Wildcats took advantage of a pass interference penalty after getting caught holding. Corey Videl’s 19-yard run set up the score and Rome’s kick put Destrehan ahead 17-0 with 9:29 left to play.

Matt Marrero hauled in a 28-yard catch from LeBlanc to open the next possession but the Gators were forced to punt and Smothers’ 15-yard jaunt into the end zone capped the ensuing 8-play, 84-yard drive. Smothers’ 46-yard completion to Kyron King fueled the drive and Rome’s kick reflected the final tally with 3:30 left to play.

Tre` Vaughn scampered for a 26-yard pickup on the ensuing possession across midfield but the Gators failed to tally.

St. Amant took over at the Destrehan 48 after holding the Wildcats on fourth down by forcing Smothers to throw incomplete, but Rufus Porter sacked LeBlanc for a 9-yard loss and the Gators were forced to punt.

Penalties plagued the Wildcats on the ensuing possession but once again the Gators were forced into a three-and-out when Darrington Sentimore dropped Adrian Bourgeois for a 2-yard loss on third down.

The teams traded three and outs before an offense finally showed light when Smothers connected with Brad Armstrong for a 30-yard pickup to kickstart an 8-play, 64-yard drive to the St. Amant 1 where P. J. Brown sacked Smothers for an 11-yard loss on fourth down. Chase Hitchcock hit Lenox for a 3-yard loss but a pass interference penalty against the Gators set up a first down before the Wildcats were penalized for a block in the back.

St. Amant’s offense answered the call and LeBlanc hit Anthony Bonadona down the right sideline for a 43-yard completion to convert a third down on the ensuing possession but the Gators were forced to punt.

Destrehan drove 66-yards in eight plays on the next series but were penalized three times and Rome’s 53-yard field goal attempt fell short. Smothers hit Armstrong of a 27-yard pickup before connecting with Videl for 18 and 34 yards but a block in the back and Marvin Martin’s sack for an 8-yard loss proved too far a distance for Smother’s 17-yard pass to Videl on third down.

St. Amant’s offense was limited to 136 yards total offense. Vaughn gained 41 yards on seven carries and LeBlanc completed 5-of-13 passes for 85 yards.

St. Amant hosts long-time rival East Ascension (1-5, 0-2) Friday night at The Pit.

St. Amant’s Tre’ Vaughn rushes against Destrehan’s Antonio Parker Friday night.