MATTHEWS — After intense battles the last two weeks against rival Hahnville and previously undefeated Thibodaux, Destrehan figured to be less inspired Friday night at struggling Central Lafourche. However, the Wildcats scored on their first three possessions of the second half and then added a defensive touchdown to break open a close game and defeat the Trojans 42-7.

With the win, Destrehan (7-0), ranked second in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A poll, inched closer to a perfect regular season and remained atop the District 7-5A standings at 4-0. Central Lafourche (3-4) lost its third straight district game to fall to 1-3.

“It was another hard, district road game. The first half was kind of eerie but we came out in the second half and made big plays to take the game over,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said.

Destrehan’s spread offense once again relied on the running game with workhorse Will Matthews providing the thunder and the explosive Kirk Merritt the lightning. Matthews rushed for 193 yards, eclipsing the 1,000 mark for the season, and scored three touchdowns. Merritt added 90 yards and one score. Destrehan gained 308 yards on the ground.

Destrehan marched 57 yards in eight plays after receiving the opening kickoff. Marquise Darensbourg’s 8-yard TD pass to John Williams in the corner of the end zone capped the drive.

Destrehan’s next drive had the same result but only took three plays. On the first play, Matthews ran 51 yards along the Wildcats sideline to the Trojans 2 and two plays later, he scored from the 1.

Central Lafourche missed a scoring opportunity early in the second quarter. The Trojans possessed the ball for more than seven minutes and 16 plays and moved 74 yards to the Destrehan 6, but Logan Maronge’s 23-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Brandon Scott.

Destrehan stretched its 14-0 halftime lead to 28-0 with two third-quarter touchdowns. On its first second half possession, Matthews carried five times for 74 yards and plunged the final yard for the score at the 5:03 mark. Less than three minutes later, the Wildcats scored again on Matthews’ 6-yard run, his third touchdown of the night and 15th of the season. In the three-play drive, Merritt caught a 26-yard pass from Darensbourg and Matthews had a 29-yard run.

Central Lafourche’s only score came early in the fourth quarter, traveling 71 yards on nine plays. Thomas Wesley’s 1-yard run got the Trojans on the scoreboard. Wesley ran for 37 yards in the drive and quarterback Austin Aucoin had two completions for 34 yards.

Merritt was featured in Destrehan’s next possession. He exploded for runs of 30 yards and 29 yards and then culminated the four-play drive with a five-yard touchdown run to give the Wildcats a 35-7 cushion with 9:22 left in the game.

Less than 12 seconds later, Scott returned an interception of Aucoin 32 yards for a touchdown to ice the Destrehan win.

“We played tough tonight, we just couldn’t convert third downs,” Central Lafourche coach Keith Menard said. “I can’t fault our effort. Our guys played hard. The first half we played well. The second half it looked like we were in quicksand.”