There was no need for a second half comeback by Destrehan this time against East St. John. Destrehan got off to a fast start and never looked back in a 68-14 regional-round victory over East St. John on Friday night at Joe Keller Stadium in Reserve.
Destrehan (12-0), fourth-seeded in Class 5A, now advances to the state quarterfinals and will host parish rival Hahnville, the 12th seed, a 28-14 winner at Haughton.
Destrehan and East St. John, District 7-5A foes, met two weeks ago in the final game of the regular season and Destrehan trailed 14-0 before scoring 28 unanswered points to wrap up an undefeated regular season. There was no slow start this time. The Wildcats from St. Charles Parish scored on their offensive play from scrimmage as Kirk Merritt raced 55 yards untouched to paydirt.
“Our guys came out on fire and kept it on,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “I’m just excited about the way that our kids played and I hope that we can continue.”
All of Destrehan primary playmakers got into the act in its biggest offensive outburst of the season.
“Everybody had a hand it it tonight,” Robicheaux said. “Our quarterbacks did a great job throwing the ball and our offensive line did a great job opening holes and giving the quarterbacks time to throw the ball. Defensively, I thought we played lights out. East St. John has big play capability, but I thought our kids buckled down and did a great job.”
Merritt also scored on a 59-yard pass from Kohen Granier early in the second quarter to extend the lead to 21-0. Will Matthews ran 31 yards for the second DHS score with 3:29 left in the first quarter two plays after Brandon Scott blocked an ESJ punt.
The remainder of the second quarter was more of the same. After Allen Pittman recovered an ESJ fumble, Randy Harvey kicked a 27-yard field goal. Then Destrehan’s next drive lasted just two plays, the final one a 38-yard touchdown pass from Marquise Darensbourg to Alfred Smith. After ESJ turned the ball over on downs, Matthews ran 33 yards for his second TD of the game and Destrehan roared to a 38-0 cushion.
East St. John then managed the next two scores of the game. On the final offensive play of the first half, Shedrick Colbert caught a 19-yard TD pass from Xavier Lewis. On ESJ’s first possession of the second half, Jarred Jackson hit Jaylon Brown on a 48-yard strike to narrow the gap to 38-14 after a successful two-point conversion with 10:11 left in the third quarter.
East St. John would get no closer. Destrehan quickly put the game away. Less than one minute later, Darensbourg found John Williams for a 56-yard TD pass. Then less than two minutes after that, following Austin Dickerson’s interception, Darensbourg hit Williams for a 16-yard TD toss and the route was on.
Destrehan’s defense, which has held opponents to less than 10 points per game this season, also scored as Kalen Brown reached the end zone on a 35-yard fumble return.
East St. John suffered six turnovers in the game, with four lost fumbles and two interceptions.
Matthews, who has now rushed for more than 1,500 yards this season, had 127 yards and two TDs. Merritt scored on two of his three touchdowns.