DESTREHAN — Some homecoming dates are just better than others.
Destrehan did everything it could to spoil the return of one of its own Friday night, taking a dominating 44-7 nondistrict victory over Woodlawn of Baton Rouge. The Panthers are coached by Destrehan alum and former assistant Daniel Luquet, who relished his return.
But so did Destrehan. The Wildcats, last year’s Class 5A runners-up, showed just about all of their strengths, scoring touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. The offense amassed 321 yards, led by first-year starting quarterback Kohen Granier’s 166 yards and three touchdowns passing.
The defense held the Panthers to 11 yards rushing and sacked Woodlawn quarterback Jamari Nelson eight times. Then the Wildcats took advantage of virtually every Woodlawn miscue to jump to a 30-7 first quarter lead before easing up. Destrehan scored all of its points in the first half.
“It was emotional on both sides,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “But the bottom line is, you’ve got to go out and play football. They made some mistakes that we were able to capitalize on, and we scored in all phases of the game.”
“I told my guys, I take this one,” Luquet said. “It got a little overwhelming toward the middle of the week with a lot of people coming to talk about my returning to Destrehan. That’s not what it was about. It was about those guys. I think, as a coaching staff, starting with me, we let them down. We didn’t have them prepared. Not to take anything away from Destrehan. That’s a (state championship) runner-up team there. Unbelievable. I have the utmost respect for them.”
Tyler Addison scored the first touchdown on a botched punt snap for the Panthers, scooping the fumble and running 34 yards for the score 2:41 into the game. After the defense held the Panthers to three incomplete passes and a successful punt, it took Destrehan’s offense just three plays to score again. On third-and 6 at the Panthers 38, quarterback Kohen Granier threw over the top to John Williams for a 38-yard score.
Then Woodlawn caught a break, recovering a fumble at its own 31-yard line with 7:33 to play in the first quarter. On third-and-7 at the Panthers 45, Nelson threw deep to Taj Sullivan, who made the grab for a 55-yard touchdown with 5:58 remaining in the quarter. It would be the Panthers’ only score.
Nelson finished 13 of 27 for 196 yards.
The Wildcats weren’t perfect, though. Their next drive went 66 yards to the Panthers 1-yard line before Woodlawn stopped Karon Taylor at the 1 with 2:30 remaining in the quarter. Woodlawn took over but, on the first play from the 1, Woodlawn’s Javin Myers was stopped in the end zone for a Destrehan safety. Destrehan led 16-7 with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter.
Then Woodlawn kicked. John Williams fielded the ball at his own 20-yard line and sprinted up the field for an 80-yard touchdown and a 23-7 Destrehan lead with 2:02 remaining in the quarter.
Destrehan added three touchdowns in the second quarter — a 20-yard pass from Granier to Williams, an 11-yard punt return by Mike Young for a score and a 21-yard pass from Granier to Young.