It wasn’t exactly the offensive juggernaut Destrehan football fans have become used to, but Wildcats fans will still take Friday night’s 22-0 victory over Hammond in the Class 5A bi-district playoffs.
The win puts No. 2 seed Destrehan (10-1) on the road in next week’s regionals. The Wildcats will travel to Behrman Stadium to take on No. 18 Landry-Walker, which defeated No. 15 Barbe 30-12 on Friday.
For No. 31 seed Hammond, Friday’s game ended a storybook season for a team that was 1-9 just a year ago and hadn’t had a winning season in 14 years. This Tornadoes team finished 6-5 and didn’t give up more than 28 points in a game all season.
“We knew they were good,” Destrehan coach Stephen Robicheaux said. “They’ve played well defensively all year.”
That was a challenge for Destrehan, which is used to showing off its high-powered offense. Hammond held Destrehan’s star running back, John Emery, to 95 yards on 14 carries and one 1-yard touchdown.
Carl Edwards rushed for 76 yards on 13 carries and had the Wildcats’ longest play from scrimmage — a 30-yard touchdown run with 3:50 remaining in the game. He also had a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Quarterback JR Blood, who passed for four touchdowns and ran for another last week against Terrebonne, was 7 of 14 for 52 yards and no scores on the night.
Destrehan’s defense met its challenge, holding the Tornadoes to 158 yards of offense and forcing two turnovers. Champ Craven intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble.
Hammond’s Edward Retcliff rushed for 47 yards on 20 carries and quarterback Kevin Primus added 25 yards on 13 carries. Primus threw for 75 yards.
Hammond also gave up a safety in the first quarter when a mishandled punt went out of the back of the end zone.
While he was pleased with the win, Robicheaux said it was not a typical night for his team.
“We just didn’t move the ball well,” he said. “We weren’t sharp. I thought defensively we played well at times but at times we didn’t look so well. It definitely concerns me because we go from playing real well the last two games of the year to all of a sudden this. But I think a lot of factors were involved and I think we’ve just got to play better.”
One of the factors certainly was the weather, Robicheaux said. Temperatures dropped 25 degrees throughout the day, and there was a cold, steady rain as falling as the game began. Brisk winds carried several balls off their intended paths throughout the night.
“It’s only going to get colder from here on out,” Robicheaux said.