Destrehan edges St. Amant in shootout for playoff berth
ST. AMANT – A back-and-forth, season-closing match-up ended with Destrehan narrowly defeating St. Amant, 34-33, at the Pit Friday night.
Destrehan (5-5, 3-2) drew the No. 26 seed in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A playoffs. The Wildcats will face No. 7 St. Paul in the bi-district round.
The loss for St. Amant marked its fifth straight, all to district opponents. The Gators started the season 5-0 against non-district foes.
St. Amant finished the season 5-5, showing improvement over last season’s 0-10 mark.
The Gators remained persistent throughout their final game. Midway through the fourth quarter, St. Amant held a 33-24 lead.
Destrehan answered with Henry Lenox’s 80-yard run and a 24-yard Andrew Wyatt field goal to pull away with the victory in the closing minutes. Wyatt’s partially blocked kick sailed inside the left upright at the 34-second mark.
Prior to Destrehan’s final two scores, St. Amant’s Taylor Jones scored on a 4-yard run to give the Gators a nine-point lead.
Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said Lenox’s breakaway run was a key play.
“He comes through that smoke (from the St. Amant cannon) down the sideline and goes 80 and it gave us some life,” Robicheaux said.
Lenox led the Wildcats in rushing with 108 yards on 11 carries.
Destrehan quarterback Taylor Dunn threw for 211 yards on 14-of-28 passing. He was intercepted twice by the Gators.
St. Amant took the first lead of the game in the first quater when quarterback Tyler Guillory connected with Shaft Graves on a 33-yard touchdown pass.
Destrehan followed with a 27-yard Wyatt field goal, and a 9-yard pass from Dunn to Eric Johnson. The conversion pass failed.
St. Amant answered with a pair of scores. A 9-yard touchdown carry from Daniel St. Pierre and a 35-yard field goal off the foot of Justin Manton gave the Gators a 17-9 lead.
Manton proved to be a key player for the Gators, especially in the first half when he kicked a pair of extra points, cleared three kickoffs to the end zone for touchbacks and pinned the Wildcats back on punts. He also tacked on the two second half extra points.
“If there’s a better kicker in the state, I’ll have to see it,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said.
Destrehan capped an 80-yard drive at the end of the first half to tie the score at 17-17. Dunn hooked up with Rickey Jefferson on a 29-yard touchdown pass for the tying score.
The teams each scored touchdowns in the third quarter. The Gators also picked up two points on a safety when a punt snap sailed out of the back of the end zone.
Dunn hit Johnson on a 21-yard touchdown pass. St. Amant answered with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Guillory to Chase Keller.
Keller’s scoring catch was set up after Britton Day recovered a fumble at the Destrehan 11.
Jones’ 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth was set up by Breck Schexnayder’s 28-yard reception.
While Oliver said the district outcome was disappointing, the Gators had a chance to win three of the games in the fourth quarter.
“We were real fortunate to get it done,” Robicheaux said.
St. Amant’s ground attack remained strong, despite losing its top rushers. The Gators racked up 247 rushing yards.
St. Amant’s total of 2,772 rushing yards was a season record, surpassing the previous high of 2,667 in 1998.