After getting his team to the Class 5A semifinals in 2013 and to the state championship game in 2014, Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux knows expectations are high in 2015.
Then again, he said, expectations are always high for the Wildcats.
“When you have a tradition like we have and a school like we have with good athletics, good players, good coaches, good facilities, good administration, expectations are always going to be up there,” said Robicheaux, who is in the fourth season of his second go-round at Destrehan. He was head coach from 2007-09 and won back-to-back titles in 2007 and ’08. “Nothing’s changed.”
Well, a few things have.
In February, Destrehan’s starting quarterback from last year, Marquise Darensbourg, transferred to East St. John. He had started 14 of 15 games as a sophomore, throwing for 1,396 yards and 14 touchdowns.
But in the championship game against Acadiana, Robicheaux and his staff elected to start fellow sophomore Kohen Granier, who had gotten less playing time but had shown flashes of brilliance. He struggled to complete 8 of 14 passes for 56 yards with two interceptions in the 23-7 loss, but he finished with 595 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.
With what he saw last season and in offseason workouts, Robicheaux has every confidence that Granier is ready to continue as the starter.
“Kohen just has that ‘it’ factor,” Robicheaux said of the junior, also a standout baseball player. “He’s the kind of guy you want on the mound, the guy you want on the field when the game’s on the line. He’s a real smart kid. He just got better and better as the season went on. He has a great grasp of the offense. He’s a big strong kid. He has tremendous potential. If he just grows into that body ... his brother (Southeastern pitcher Kade Granier) is 6-foot-4. I hope he grows as tall as his brother.”
The question marks on this year’s team are on Granier’s supporting cast. The Wildcats lost five starting offensive linemen, most of the secondary and workhorse running back Will Matthews, who rushed for 1,814 yards and 24 touchdowns last season.
“We definitely will feel the loss of Will Matthews,” Robicheaux said. “He was the guy we went to.”
Working to fill that spot will be senior Karon Taylor, who got the ball a bit last year.
Granier will have a few targets to find, including returning senior receivers John Williams, Will Sirmon and Tramaine Armstrong as well as juniors Justin Jefferson and Mike Young.
But, as always, Destrehan will be driven by its defense, which returns senior linemen Glen Logan (6-4, 285), who has committed to LSU; Gerald Wilbon (6-3, 295), who has committed to Texas; and Matt Young (5-10, 255).
All together, it looks like Destrehan isn’t missing too many pieces of its puzzle. But will Robicheaux be able to put it all together to win another championship?
“That’s always the goal,” he said. “Expectations are always high at Destrehan.”
Coach: Stephen Robicheaux (130-31)
2014: 14-1, 7-0
Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Acadiana in the state title game)
Looking back: Destrehan came up a victory short of the state title after an undefeated run through league play.
Moving forward: At Destrehan, expectations always are high. This year is no exception, despite the holes to fill and a new QB.
Ask The Advocate: Expect the Wildcats to once again dominate the district and be right back in the hunt for the state title.
Projected starters on offense: *WR John Williams (5-9, 170, Sr.), *WR Tramaine Armstrong (6-0, 165, Sr.), WR Justin Jefferson (6-2, 155, Jr.), WR Mike Young (6-0, 180, Jr.), WR Will Sirmon (6-0, 185, Sr.), RB Karon Taylor (5-9, 170, Sr.), QB Kohen Granier (6-0, 175, Jr.), T Justin Schmidt (6-2, 220, Sr.), T Jacob Wentz (6-4, 270, Sr.), G Kalen Brown (5-10, 235, Sr.), G Elijah Hayes (6-4, 275, Jr.), C Hunter Breit (5-9, 235, Sr.).
Projected starters on defense: *DL Glen Logan (6-4, 285, Sr.), *DL Gerald Wilbon (6-3, 295, Sr.), *DL Matt Young (5-10, 255, Sr.), *LB Alex Zayed (6-0, 215, Sr.), *LB Tyjon Sanchez (5-11, 245, Sr.), LB Deonte Flowers (6-2, 230, Sr.), LB C.J. Preito (501, 220, Sr.), *DB Kendell Anderson (6-0, 170, Sr.), DB Alvin Joseph (5-8, 170, Sr.), DB Jayce Brown (5-7, 155, Sr.), DB Macon Clark (5-10, 160, So.).
Sept. 4 at Slidell
Sept. 11 Woodlawn
Sept. 18 John Ehret
Sept. 25 at Hahnville#
Oct. 2 at Terrebonne#
Oct. 9 East St. John#
Oct. 16 Central Lafourche#
Oct. 23 at H.L. Bourgeois#
Oct. 30 Thibodaux#
Nov. 6 TBA
East St. John Wildcats
Coach: Alden Foster (first year)
2014: 6-6, 4-3
Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Destrehan in the second round)
Looking back: After four playoff appearances in four seasons under Phil Banko, East St. John has a new leader in Foster.
Moving forward: The team also is back at its home campus in Reserve after three years in a make-shift compound at a spare junior high.
Ask The Advocate: Expect this to be a rebuilding year. If Marquise Darensbourg, who transferred from Destrehan, is ruled eligible, it might be better than that.
Sept. 4 at Shaw
Sept. 11 at John Ehret
Sept. 18 Madison Prep
Sept. 25 at H.L. Bourgeois#
Oct. 2 Thibodaux#
Oct. 9 at Destrehan#
Oct. 16 at Hahnville#
Oct. 23 Terrebonne#
Oct. 30 Franklin
Nov. 6 Central Lafourche#
Coach: Nick Saltaformaggio (9-4 at Hahnville, 101-46 overall)
2014: 9-4, 6-2
Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Destrehan in the quarterfinals)
Looking back: After starting out with lofty goals, Saltaformaggio’s first season did not go as expected. Injuries hit the Tigers early, forcing a change in the offensive scheme to fit personnel.
Moving forward: Hahnville is another team that lost its projected starting QB when Austin Perrin elected to focus on baseball. The Tigers also have supposedly scrapped their triple-option veer offense in favor of a pro style attack to fit this year’s projected starter, Mike Neal.
Ask The Advocate: With a year of battles on the bayou behind him, Saltaformaggio should be more ready this season. The district title will be decided in Week 4 against Destrehan.
Projected starters on offense: WR Chandler Freeman (6-0, 185, Sr.), WR DaVonte Crevin (5-8, 165, Sr.), TE Kade Miquez (6-1, 200, Jr.), T Drew Melancon (6-5, 295, Sr.), G Torin Borne (6-2, 295, So.), C Drew Jones (6-2, 300, Jr.), G Lee Vial (6-0, 250, Sr.), T Carmichael Critton (6-4, 255, Sr.), QB Michael Neal (6-2, 180, Sr.), FB Drew Dunn (5-7, 215, Sr.), TB Devante Clark (5-7, 180, Jr.).
Projected starters on defense: DE Stephen Cloud (6-2, 205, Sr.), DT Jacob Plauche (6-5, 260, Sr.), DT Trevas Chambers (6-5, 270, Jr.), DE Travon Honor (5-8 205, Jr.), LB Peyton Robert (6-0, 190, Sr.), LB Brandon Davis (5-7, 185, Jr.), LB Jamar Davis (6-2, 200, Jr.), DB Eric Gilmore (5-10, 175, Sr.), DB Hunter LeBlanc (6-2, 170, So.), DB Chris Marshall (5-11, 185, Sr.), DB Juston Young (6-0, 170, Sr.).
Sept. 4 at Woodlawn
Sept. 11 Patterson
Sept. 18 Riverside Academy
Sept. 25 Destrehan#
Oct. 2 at St. Thomas More
Oct. 9 at Terrebonne#
Oct. 16 East St. John#
Oct. 23 at Central Lafourche#
Oct. 30 H.L. Bourgeois#
Nov. 6 at Thibodaux#
Central Lafourche Trojans
Coach: Keith Menard (8-12 at CLHS, 143-137 overall)
2014: 4-6, 2-3
Last playoff appearance: 2012
Looking back: The Trojans have consistently finished in or near the middle of the pack in 7-5A. Last year, they tied with rival South Lafourche for fifth place.
Moving forward: Returning QB Austin Aucoin (81-of-164, 918 yards) may give the team a jump start. And South Lafourche has dropped down to 4A, giving the Trojans room to move.
Ask The Advocate: Central Lafourche should take fourth place on its own.
Projected starters on offense: TE Josh Sazama (5-11, 180, Jr.), SE Kenneth Poindexter (6-3, 180, So.), *T Holden Pierce (6-3, 250, Sr.), *G Jarod Folse (5-9, 195, Jr.), *C Logan Bergeron (5-11, 275, So.), *G Owen Hebert (5-9, 245, Sr.), RB Nelton Allen (5-10, 190, Jr.), *QB Austin Aucoin (6-1, 165, Sr.), *WR Andrew Griffin (5-11, 170, Sr.), *FL Jake Allemand (5-11, 170, Jr.), WR David Robinson (6-2, 170, So.).
Projected starters on defense: *NG Dereon Thomas (5-11, 250, Sr.), DE Isham Hendon (6-0, 240, Sr.), OG Alex Duplantis (5-11, 220, Sr.), *LB Zack Bilbo (5-10, 205, Sr.), LB Zavier Triplett (5-10, 205, Jr.), *LB Brendon Weaver (5-10, 195, Sr.), SS Norman Taylor (5-8 200, Jr.), SS Cade Martin (5-11, 150, Sr.), *CB Anfernee Poindexter (5-10, 165, Sr.), *CB Davon Batiste (5-11, 175, Jr.), FS Austin Guidry (5-11, 160, Jr.).
Sept. 4 Patterson
Sept. 11 Vandebilt Catholic
Sept. 18 at South Terrebonne
Sept. 25 South Lafourche
Oct. 2 H.L. Bourgeois#
Oct. 9 at Thibodaux#
Oct. 16 at Destrehan#
Oct. 23 Hahnville#
Oct. 30 Terrebonne#
Nov. 6 at East St. John#
H.L. Bourgeois Braves
Coach: Carey Melvin (first year)
2014: 2-8, 1-6
Last playoff appearance: 2007 (lost to Dutchtown in first round)
Looking back: The Braves won two more games last year than they did in 2013.
Moving forward: The team will struggle to win more than that in 2015.
Ask The Advocate: Bourgeois has struggled to compete in this district. Don’t look for any miracle turnarounds this season.
Projected starters on offense: QB Jude Lecompte (5-9, 160, Jr.), RB Blaise Lecompte (5-9, 175, Sr.), WR Desean Walker (6-0, 170, Sr.), WR Devaughn Nixon (5-8, 155, Jr.), WR Kane Mathews (5-8, 170, Jr.), OL Johnathon McKinley (6-2, 275, Sr.), OL Christian Melancon (6-2, 315, Jr.), OL Wade Rouse (5-10, 220, Sr.), OL Peyton Lasserre (5-10, 250, Jr.), OL Tyrese Anderson (5-11, 275, Jr.).
Projected starters on defense: DE Lester Batiste (6-4, 220, Jr.), DT Tre’Von Nolan (6-2, 295, Sr.), DT Treyon Burrell (6-1, 340, Jr.), DE Kris’T’Yown Dalbany (6-2, 215, Jr.), LB Nick Langford (6-4, 210, Sr.), LB Brett Dupre (5-9, 220, Sr.), LB Tevyn Johnson (6-0, 195, Sr.), CB Xavier Walker (5-9, 160, Sr.), DB Deante Short (5-11, 170, Jr.), FS LeRoyal Lee (6-1, 180, Jr.), SS Brent Ramirez (5-9, 170, Jr.).
Sept. 4 South Terrebonne
Sept. 11 at Ellender
Sept. 18 South Plaquemines
Sept. 25 East St. John#
Oct. 2 at Central Lafourche#
Oct. 9 at Westgate
Oct. 16 Thibodaux#
Oct. 23 Destrehan#
Oct. 30 at Hahnville#
Nov. 6 at Terrebonne#
Coach: Gary Hill (44-42)
2014: 2-8, 0-7
Last playoff appearance: 2013 (lost to Destrehan in first round)
Looking back: Like its bayou brethren, Terrebonne also struggled to compete in this district.
Moving forward: Not much will change in 2015.
Ask The Advocate: The Tigers will continue to struggle to win more than once.
Projected starters on offense: C Bryce Terrio, LT Everett Rodrigue, LB Martin Chaisson, RG Tyler Poche, RT Nick Johnson, TE Austin Miller, WR Malcolm Smith, WR Blake Verrett, WR Anthony Walls, TE Joseph Alvis, QB Mason Turner.
Projected starters on defense: DT Kyle Landry, DT Deanta Walters, DE Jordan Cook, DE Cannon Harris, LB Trenton Johnson, LB Chris Wesley, DB Jeff Deroche, DB Tyriq Stewart, DB Ade Animashun.
Sept. 4 at Ellender
Sept. 11 South Terrebonne
Sept. 18 Assumption
Sept. 25 at Thibodaux#
Oct. 2 Destrehan#
Oct. 9 Hahnville#
Oct. 16 at Lakeshore
Oct. 23 at East St. John#
Oct. 30 at Central Lafourche#
Nov. 6 H.L. Bourgeois#
Coach: Chris Dugas (21-21)
2014: 10-2, 6-1
Last playoff appearance: 2014 (lost to Scotlandville in second round)
Looking back: The Tigers are probably wishing for a do-over after last year’s 21-14 loss to Destrehan.
Moving forward: Thibodaux has been on the best track to challenge the traditional district powers.
Ask The Advocate: Big offensive losses might take the Tigers a step back this season. Some youngsters will have to step up their game — and quickly.
Projected starters on offense: QB Trey Leblanc (5-8, 150, Sr.), RB Donnel Adair (6-0, 190, Sr.), WR Ronald Lemon (5-9, 160, Sr.), WR Rontrell Sandolph (6-1, 170, Sr.), WR Toby Everage (6-0, 175, So.), TE Chase Hollis (6-1, 185, Jr.), C Dakota Price (6-0, 255, Sr.), RG William Reed (6-1, 275, Jr.), LG Roderick Gilton (5-11, 254, Sr.), RT James Bourg (6-3, 295, Sr.).
Projected starters on defense: DL Devin Hebert, (6-3, 275, Sr.), DL Darius Richard (6-0, 310, So.), DE Brennan Garman (6-0, 215, Jr.), DE Antony Sigue (6-0, 220, Jr.), LB Joey Guilliot (5-9, 210, Sr.), LB Kalin Joseph (5-10, 235, Sr.), DB Blair Brooks (6-2, 195, Sr.), DB Dwayne Coleman (5-9, 175, Jr.), DB Trymaine Samanie (5-11, 165, Sr.), DB Tyler Brown (5-9, 160, Jr.), DB Amik Robertson (5-9, 165, Jr.).
Sept. 4 St. Charles Catholic
Sept. 11 at East Ascension
Sept. 18 at South Lafourche
Sept. 25 Terrebonne#
Oct. 2 at East St. John#
Oct. 9 Central Lafourche#
Oct. 16 at H.L. Bourgeois#
Oct. 23 St. Augustine
Oct. 30 at Destrehan#
Nov. 6 Hahnville#
* — returning starter; # — district game