Griffins seeking share of district title at Destrehan

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Eddie Lacy stiff arms St. Amant’s Paul Gayden on a 38-yard run last week. Lacy and the Griffins travel to Destrehan Friday night with the District 5-5A championship on the line.

GEISMAR - Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia quickly turned his attention to Destrehan following a 56-21 District 5-5A victory over St. Amant Friday night. With due respect, a share of the district championship is on the line for the first time in the school’s seven-year history.

“We are playing for a district title,” Saia said. “We are playing for seedings in the playoffs. We are playing for Ascension Parish to show that we can play in that league. We will fire our best shot and see what happens.”

“We took them to the wire last year. I think we really could get a lot of respect if we can go there next week and win that game. This district doesn’t take a back seat to anybody.”

Defending state champion, No. 2 Destrehan (8-0, 4-0) is the coming off a 46-0 victory over East Ascension Friday night and are currently on a 23-game winning streak under head coach Stephen Robicheaux heading into the matchup against No. 9 Dutchtown (7-1, 3-1) at Fighting Wildcat Stadium.

“It is a big game,” Saia said. “You can’t be any better unless you are 24-0. They are very talented.”

This will be the third meeting between the schools in the last three years. Destrehan defeated Dutchtown at Fighting Wildcat Stadium 35-28 in the Class 5A bi-district playoffs in 2006 before edging the Griffins 9-7 a year ago at Griffin Field.

“We scored seven points,” Saia said. “We have to score more points. You can’t win if you don’t score points and that is what we have to do. We have to get in the end zone and put some points on the board. We turned the ball over which gave them their touchdown. They really only scored three points on offense so our defense played an outstanding game. Offensively, we moved the ball but we didn’t score so we have to get in the end zone.”

Unlike a year ago, when the Wildcats sent five Division I recruits to the next level on the offensive side of the ball, Destrehan’s strength this year is its defense, that is allowing just five points per game and have only surrendered 41 all year long. They are led by end Darrington Sentimore, linebacker Rufus Porter Jr. and cornerback Antonio Parker, who returned both a punt and interception for touchdowns in last week’s win.

“They returned almost everybody on defense and that is where they are really special,” Saia said. “Offensively, I don’t think they are as explosive as they were last year but they are still very good. Defensively, they are better. They lost some but they didn’t lose it all.”

Dutchtown rushed for 305 yards last week. Kelvin York produced 74 yards on just four carries scoring three times upping his season totals to 840 yards on 118 carries with eight touchdowns. Eddie Lacy scored twice gaining 55 yards on five attempts to improve his season totals to 721 yards on 90 totes to go with 13 touchdowns. Wesley Perkins hit 5 of 8 passes for 93 yards and now has thrown for 530 yards completing 33 of 75 throws. Lacy rushed for 122 yards in last year’s contest as the Griffins won the total yardage battle 236 - 213.

“I don’t know if we got their number but I am hoping the third time is a charm,” Saia said. “Our kids believe they can play with them because of what has happened in the past. We have to play a good football game. I don’t think they are unbeatable. I don’t think they are Superman. We just to protect the football and score when we get in position.”

Wydrick Smothers has taken over as the Wildcats’ quarterback for Jordan Jefferson, who is now at LSU, and completed 6-of-11 passes for 100 yards  and two touchdowns a week ago to up his season totals to 1,245 yards on 78-of-139 passing with 14 touchdowns. His top targets have been Corey Videl, who has hauled in 19 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns, Brad Armstrong who has hauled in 21 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns and Kyron King who has caught 17 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns. The Wildcats have plenty of running options with Henry Lenox who has 375 yards on 65 attempts, Myron Smith with 277 yards on 73 carries to go with six touchdowns and Marshall Charles.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is they score a lot of their points off special teams,” Saia said.  “We have to real sharp in that area and not give them anything cheap.”

Dutchtown’s defense held St. Amant to 276 yards of total offense last week forcing three fumbles and hauling in two interceptions, both by Brandon Lucas who returned one for a 51-yard score.

Eric Reid grabbed the one fumble the Griffins recovered. Dutchtown has held opponents to 17.3 points per game this season and in last season’s contest limited Destrehan to just 46 yards on the ground.

“I think we are the underdog just because of what they have accomplished,” Saia said. “When somebody is the champion, you have to beat them but we don’t think we are outclassed. We are going to line up and play with them. We have in the past and we are going to do it again.”