Most football teams begin the season with perfection as a goal.
At Destrehan, it’s starting to almost become a foregone conclusion.
The Wildcats utilized a strong second half and held off a late comeback to defeat Thibodaux 51-40 in a District 7-5A matchup at home Friday, clinching the team’s third consecutive undefeated regular season.
Destrehan (9-0, 5-0), ranked No. 2 among large schools in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 and No. 3 by the LSWA in Class 5A, also clinched its third consecutive District 7-5A title.
“We’re at a special place,” Destrehan coach Steve Robicheaux said. “We have great players and great assistant coaches that do a tremendous job. We’re just blessed to be where we’re at and very fortunate to have the success we’ve had over the past few years.”
Thibodaux (6-3, 4-1) kept things close in the first half, but Destrehan’s stingy defense took control.
Wildcats defensive lineman Glen Logan stripped Thibodaux quarterback Trey LeBlanc on a sack and recovered the fumble, which the Wildcats turned into a 6-yard touchdown run by Karon Taylor seven plays later.
After a Destrehan punt pinned the Tigers inside their own 5-yard line, Wildcats linebacker Tyjon Sanchez shot into the backfield and took Thibodaux running back Donnell Adair down in the end zone for a safety.
On the ensuing possession, Destrehan only needed three plays to go 63 yards, ending with Taylor reeling in his third touchdown of the day on a 7-yard scamper to take a 44-20 lead with 11:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Thibodaux’s Dane Benoit added touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards, and LeBlanc added a 56-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Carter late in the fourth quarter to put on a furious comeback and cut the Destrehan lead to 51-40, but it wasn’t quite enough in the end.
Taylor finished with 25 carries for 195 yards and three touchdowns.
“Our defense really wanted to come out and start making plays in the second half,” said Logan, an LSU commitment. “Once we got that fumble and the safety, it gave us a lot of momentum and we just closed it out from there.”
Both teams went back and forth in a wild first half that saw the two combine for 48 points, 536 total yards and two onside kick recoveries.
After going into the second half trailing 10-7, the Wildcats reeled off three straight touchdowns with runs of 15 yards by Karon Taylor and 1 yard by Granier to go along with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Granier to Justin Jefferson that gave Destrehan a 28-10 lead.
Thibodaux quickly responded, though, with a 21-yard touchdown on a screen pass to Amik Robertson, and a fumble recovery by defensive lineman Joshua Burdis set up Benoit for a 37-yard kick with 37 seconds left in the half that cut the Destrehan lead to 28-20 going into halftime.
Thibodaux quarterback Trey LeBlanc went 18-of-34 for 368 passing yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Jonathan Carter added six catches for 238 yards and two scores.
“This was a very special accomplishment for us,” Taylor said. “The important thing for us is to just remember that it doesn’t end here and our ultimate goal is to go back to the Superdome and win this time.”