Practically every high school football team has a music playlist for warm-ups. What defending Class 5A champion Zachary listens to on the way to its third straight road playoff game could be intriguing.
How about “On the Road Again.” Or better yet, “Long and Winding Road.”
Zachary coach David Brewerton make one thing clear —the sixth-seeded Broncos (11-2) are ready embrace whatever lies in front of them. This week it is No. 2 Destrehan (12-1) in the semifinal round at 7 p.m. Friday at DHS.
“I’ve never coached there before, and I’ve heard it is a tremendous place to play a high school football game,” Brewerton said. “The thing I can’t stress enough is how our guys approach the playoffs. They turn things up a notch for the playoffs and they want to be in big games and this is another one.”
At stake is a berth in next week’s LHSAA Prep Classic. Zachary seeks its third trip to a title game in four years. Destrehan won back-to-back 5A titles in 2007-08 and was the runner-up in 2014.
Destrehan is led by running back John Emery, an LSU commitment, who has 1,586 yards and 24 touchdowns. Quarterback Harold Blood Jr. has 2,247 yards passing and 26 TDs.
“You have two successful programs meeting to decide who plays for a championship,” Destrehan coach Steve Robicheaux said. “We feel very fortunate to be in this position. If you play high school football, this is the game you want to be in.”
With the kind of numbers Zachary quarterback Keilon Brown has critics may dismiss the Broncos as a one-trick pony. Destrehan’s Robicheaux is not in that number.
“Zachary is big up front, and they have so much speed,” Robicheaux said. “And it’s not just on offense, they have both on defense. The thing you can’t do with a team like them is allow then to get on a roll.”
Brown has passed for 2,346 yards and 25 TDs. He also leads the Broncos in rushing with 1,073 yards and 15 TDs. Robicheaux sees receiver/return specialist Chandler Whitfield to be equally dangerous. Whitfield has 1,143 yards receiving and 15 TDs.
When the offenses are prolific, the game can come down to which defense gets the most stops or who controls the ball.
“He welcomes the contact,” Brewerton said of Emery. “Obviously, a lot of offensive firepower there with the running backs, the quarterback and receiving corps.
“When you have guys with stars behind their names sometimes the defense gets overlooked. Destrehan played fast on defense last week. They make plays when they need to, and they don’t get beat over the top often.”
Robicheaux said Emery and the DHS offense need to be just as effective.
“We cannot get in a tempo game with them,” Robicheaux said. “Our best defense may be our offense. Lots of possibilities here.”
Zachary at Destrehan
7 p.m. at DHS
RECORDS: No. 6 seed Zachary 11-2; No. 2 Destrehan 12-1
LAST WEEK: Zachary beat Acadiana 26-14; Destrehan beat Terrebonne 31-14
PLAYERS TO WATCH: ZACHARY: QB Keilon Brown, WR Chandler Whitfield, DL Caleb Jackson, DB/P/KR Sean Burrell, LB Wes Brady; DESTRHAN: RB John Emery, QB Harold Blood Jr., S Champ Craven, LB Alex Huszar.
NOTEWORTHY: Defending Class 5A champion Zachary’s losses were to two other defending champions already in select title games, Division I Catholic and Division II. … Zachary has won eight in a row, while Destrehan has won 10 in a row since losing to John Ehret, another semifinalist playing West Monroe. … The schools played another high-stakes playoff game in 1983, a quarterfinal won by Destrehan.