Friday night’s bidistrict playoff game against Denham Springs had Destrehan coach Steven Robicheaux both happy and not so much.
He was happy with the outcome — a 44-23 victory that keeps the Wildcats undefeated at 10-0 and advances them to next week’s regional round at home against No. 14 Barbe. But Robicheaux wasn’t so thrilled about all the ways the Wildcats got there.
Destrehan, the No. 3 seed in the Class 5A bracket, had to overcome a slow start, a slew of uncharacteristic miscues and a pesky bunch of Yellow Jackets to get the win in a game that saw just about everything.
“Even though you’re happy because you’re in the Top 16 and you’re still playing, (I’m) just kind of disappointed in the way we played tonight,” Robicheaux said. “We had probably the most penalties we had all year. I thought we played uncharacteristic as far as personal fouls. That’s just not a Destrehan team. And made a lot of mistakes. We saw some crazy things tonight.”
There was a blocked punt for a touchdown (Destrehan), a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (Denham Springs), a fumble at the 1-yard line (Destrehan) followed on the next play by a safety (for Destrehan) and there was an interception for a touchdown (Destrehan). But there also was a quarterback who passed for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
Destrehan junior Kohen Granier was 18 of 27 for 275 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with Justin Jefferson, Mike Young and John Williams for scores. Battling illness, Granier said last week’s open date gave him and his teammates a chance to heal up some wounds. But he didn’t have his best game Friday, throwing two interceptions.
“It wasn’t my best night,” he said. “It happens. It’s part of the game. I’m kicking myself, because I have higher expectations for myself, but it’s going to happen. They were stopping our run, so we had to go to the air a little bit more.”
The Wildcats also had to rely on their stout defense. Destrehan held Denham Springs to eight first downs. And while the Yellow Jackets gained 232 yards rushing, 78 of that came on one run by Tyre Golmond. He finished with 143 yards on 17 carries. The Denham Springs passing game, meanwhile, was held 16 yards on four completions.
But the Yellow Jackets still managed to lead the Wildcats early in the game, thanks to a 29-yard field goal by Cade Murry and a 7-yard run by Robert Thomas. Thomas’ 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 8:14 remaining in the second quarter gave Denham Springs a 17-14 lead over the Wildcats
But Destrehan would score the next two touchdowns, one a 56-yard pass from Granier to Young and then a 35-yard pass from Granier to Williams. Even after fumbling the ball at the Denham Springs 1-yard line, Destrehan scored a safety on the next play by tackling Thomas in the end zone.
Destrehan linebacker C.J. Prieto put the Wildcats ahead 37-17 when he snagged an interception and returned it 25 yards for a score. Prieto had started the Wildcats’ scoring with a 29-yard return of a blocked punt. Kristian Moseley capped Destrehan’s scoring with a 24 yard run with 6:49 remaining in the game.
“I was just kind of in the right spot at the right time,” Prieto said. “Our defense struggled a little bit at the beginning but we came back and sealed the deal.”