A traditional power accustomed to playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and an emerging power looking to reach to the Dome for the first time square off in the Class 5A semifinals Friday night when unbeaten top-seed Destrehan (12-0) entertains fifth-seed Landry-Walker (11-2) at Wildcat Stadium. You can listen to the game live on WGSO, 990 AM and at WGSO.com.
Destrehan advanced with a 21-14 win over ninth-seed John Ehret. Wildcats head coach Steve Robicheaux was pleased with the win.
“Our kids played really well,” Robicheaux said. It was pleasantly surprising. I thought they would move the ball a little better. Our kids made plays when they had to. They have done it all year. I hope they have another one left in them. Getting them to kick field goals, rather than allow touchdowns early was huge. Scoring 21 on that defense was pretty good.”
Under Robicheaux, Destrehan captured back-to-back 5A state championships in 2007 and 2008 and reached the title game in 2014, falling to Acadiana.
“We have some kids that have been to the Superdome before and some coaches, obviously,” Robicheaux said. “That is a thought but it is the furthest thing from our minds. We have such a difficult opponent this Friday night.”
Destrehan averages 38.7 points per game while allowing 19.4 points per contest.
Senior quarterback Kohen Granier has been bothered by a torn ACL in his right knee. He started the game against Landry-Walker but played only two series before being replaced by sophomore J.R. Blood.
Granier committed to Nicholls State last weekend. Granier has completed 55-of-108 passes for 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions and he has rushed 17 times for 116 yards. Blood has completed 85-of-126 passes for 1,530 yards and 19 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He has rushed seven times for 58 yards.
“We will likely give Kohen an opportunity again if his knee is good enough to play with. We know J.R. can step in and do a great job again. It is a motivational thing to know you are a step away from the Superdome. It is the goal every year. We are close but we have a very, very difficult task at hand. I believe the kids will be ready to play. I hope we can continue to ride the wave a little bit.”
Senior Kristian Mosley and sophomore John Emery lead a potent running attack for Destrehan. Mosley has rushed 185 times for 1,732 yards and 21 touchdowns and has seven catches for 79 yards and one touchdown while Emery has carried 117 times for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns and has three catches for 145 yards and two scores.
Senior Justin Jefferson is the leading receiver with 54 receptions for 1,215 yards and 12 touchdowns while Notre Dame commit Mike Young has 34 catches for 492 yards and six touchdowns. Sophomore Quinton Torbor has 17 receptions for 263 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensively, linebacker Terrell Chopin is the leading tackler with 54.5 stops while linebacker Jonathan Duhon has two interceptions.
The Charging Buccaneers have won 11 straight games since losing to powers John Curtis and Karr to start the season. They average 47.1 points per game while allowing 21 points per contest.
Senior quarterback Keytaon Thompson, a Mississippi State commit, leads the way. He has completed 167-of-280 passes for 3,260 yards and 40 touchdowns. Thompson has rushed 116 times for 1,161 yards and 21 touchdowns. West Virginia commit Tevin Bush has 47 carries for 897 yards and nine touchdowns and 40 receptions for 896 yards and 15 scores. Bush has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns as well.
Junior Devonta Jason has 41 receptions for 882 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has four two-point conversions and a kickoff return for a touchdown. Senior Travis Victor has 30 catches for 652 yards and five touchdowns while senior Lamont Berzat has 24 catches for 446 yards and six touchdowns.
Defensively, tackle Shamod Sullivan has 63 tackles, including eight sacks. He has forced a fumble, blocked a pair of field goals and blocked a punt. End Mitchell Gordon has 35 tackles and a team high 11.5 sacks and has forced two fumbles. End Tyrin Fielder has 50 tackles, including 10 sacks and an interception.
“Landry-Walker causes so many matchup problems,” Robicheaux said. “It is a nightmare trying to figure out how to stop them. We hope we can slow them down a little bit and make enough plays on offense. I think there quarterback makes them so good. He makes good decisions and gets the ball to the right people. I don’t think we’ve faced anyone as good in a long time and they have great skill around them.”
The Charging Buccaneers advanced with a very impressive 61-21 win over Parkway at Bossier City. Landry-Walker trailed 14-0 and 21-14 before scoring 47 unanswered points. Head coach Emmanuel Powell loved his team’s toughness.
“Our team showed a lot of character in coming back from 14-0 a long way from home. We fought through adversity. Many teams would fold on the road against a good opponent when down 14-0. It showed our senior leadership. We knew we could do it and we were able do to so.”
Powell does not shy away from his team’s overall ability
“We have talent on both sides,” Powell said. “We scored 61 points but our defense played very well, holding a talented team to 21 points after a bad start. It was a total team effort. We played as a team and that is what we have to do moving forward.”
O. Perry Walker reached the 4A state championship game in 2002, losing 16-14 in a rematch game with John Curtis, whom Frank Wilson’s Chargers had beaten during the regular season. O. Perry Walker merged with Landry-Walker in 2013. L.B. Landry won a Class B state title in 1942, defeating Arcadia 58-0.
“We are going to approach it like we approach any other game,” Powell said. “They have a very good coach with a ton of experience that I respect very much but we believe in our team. We will play our best and hope that is good enough. They are very consistent in what they do and they will play all four quarters. We have to match their intensity. They are a very well coached team. It will be a great atmosphere to play in. We are looking forward to it. I like our chances if we play to our ability.”
The winner advances to the championship game on December 10 to face the winner of the semifinal pitting defending state champion and 11th-seed Zachary at West Monroe.