St. Amant hosts Destrehan for playoff berth

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Marlon Bourgeois, Tyler Schexnayder and Chase Hitchcock must tackle better after the Gators gave up over 300 total yards for the third consecutive week. St. Amant hosts Destrehan Friday night at the Pit with a playoff berth on the line.

ST. AMANT – A Class 5A playoff berth will be on the line when St. Amant and Destrehan strap it on for a District 6-5A matchup Friday night at the Pit.

The Gators (5-4, 0-4) have lost four straight games after opening the season 5-0 but are still No. 33 in unofficial power ratings. Destrehan (4-5, 2-2) sits tied with Terrebonne at No. 31 meaning the winner of the regular season finale will likely move up leaving the loser out of the postseason.

“If we win, we are in and if we lose, the season is over,” St. Amant head coach David Oliver said. “That is what it looks like. I think there is no doubt about that. That is just the situation for us. We feel like the playoffs start for us Friday night at the Pit.”

St. Amant is coming off a 35-21 loss to Hahnville last week, a game which the Gators led the third-ranked Tigers in the fourth quarter. Two-time defending state champion Destrehan defeated East Ascension 22-10 a week ago to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Wildcats beat St. Amant 24-0 last season after a scoreless first half.

“We are focusing on eliminating errors,” Oliver said. “We have made a few errors that have been crucial to our success. The Gators beating the Gators. What we are going to try to do is go out and play a great football game and not beat ourselves.

“(Destrehan is) a good football team. They have speed on the edge and obviously they are team that has experienced success. They have been in big games and we have our work cut out for us. Even though their record might not show it, they are a good team and it seems like they are improving at the right time with a young team.”

Destrehan, a program with five overall state titles, is in their 10th year under head coach Steve Robicheaux but have been up and down this season losing to Hahnville and East St. John by the scores of 48-10 and 41-9.

They return four starters on offense that includes running back Henry Lenox, who rushed for 41 yards last week and caught a 48-yard touchdown pass a week ago, wide receiver Kyron King and tackle Ashton Duhe.

Taylor Dunn has taken over for the departed Wyndrick Smothers and passed for 185 yards and three touchdowns over 30 yards last week. Kenrick Robertson also rushed for 59 yards, while Eric Johnson caught a 71-yard touchdown and Rickey Jefferson hauled in a 32-yard score.  

“They have big play capability and we are working hard to shut that down,” Oliver said. “We are working hard in practice to improve on (tackling) and when we get a chance to make a play, we have to make one.”

St. Amant surrendered over 300 total yards for the third consecutive game a week ago giving up 260 yards on the ground and 170 threw the air.

The  front consists of Marvin Martin, Bryce Carpenter, Seth Vaccaro and Rhett Sheets. Romel Streit and Marlon Bourgeois are the outside linebackers, while Chase Hitchcock and Tyler Schexnayder are inside. Safeties LeBlanc and Breck Schexnayder are joined in the secondary by Wendell Williams and Tony Raffrey.

St. Amant’s triple option offensive attack has amassed 2,525 yards rushing this season scoring 40 times on the ground and are within distance of breaking the single season school rushing record of 2,667.

The Gators have three players with over 500 yards rushing led by fullback Nelson Jointer who has rushed for 737 yards on 114 carries scoring 17 times. Running back Tre` Vaughn has carried 72 times for 756 yards and seven touchdowns, while quarterback Tyler Guillory, who threw for over 100 yards for the second consecutive week, also has 595 yards and 11 touchdowns on 99 attempts. The line is anchored by Michael McDonald, Justin Bumgardner, Dillon Delaune and Christian Jenkins. Chase Keller also caught two receptions for 53 yards last week.

“I think we will continue to grow into the offense and improve as time goes on,” Oliver said. “We have to learn to finish drives and not accept field goals, eliminate penalties and turnovers and I think the winning will take care of itself if we do those things.”

Gone are tackle Darrington Sentimore, linebacker Rufus Porter and cornerback Antonio Parker from Destrehan’s defense last season but the Wildcats do return three starters in nose guard Calvin Ursin and linebackers Warren Lennix and Tarquin Kenner, while Marrick Charles provides size.