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Lutcher Bulldogs have to hold off Marksville after building early lead

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  • RPF Staff
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  • November 26, 2016 - 3:16am

File photosLutcher quarterback Jontre Kirklin passed for three touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 35-28 home victory over Marksville in the Class 3A quarterfinals Friday night.

By Tate Roussel

Despite having an impressive first half that gave them a 29-0 lead going into the break, the fourth-seeded Lutcher Bulldogs had to come up with a defensive stop in the final two minutes of the game to take down visiting Marksville 35-28 in the Class 3A quarterfinals Friday.

“We made too many mistakes on our chances that we had to take them out in the second half,” said Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins.

The fifth-seeded Tigers came into the second half looking like a completely different team, scoring 22 unanswered points through the third quarter and early into the fourth. An 8-yard run by Juan d’Jones on the first Marksville possession of the second half started the span just four minutes into the quarter. The two-point conversion was successful and the Tigers were on the board for the first time of the game.

Marksville was able to capitalize off of an interception by its defense and turn it into a 38-yard touchdown pass from Qway Mingo, making it a 29-16 game going into the final quarter of play.

Mingo had an impressive night for his Tigers despite the loss, hitting on 17 of 30 pass attempts for 291 yards and three touchdowns.

“Huge credit goes out to Marksville and their kids. They played hard all game, and they played like a team that didn’t want their season to end,” said Jenkins.

On their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs turned the ball over for the third time in the half, giving Marksville excellent field position inside the Bulldog 10-yard line. It took just two plays for Mingo to toss another touchdown pass, and after a failed two-point conversion, the Tigers were down 29-22 with 6:55 to play.

On the very next possession, the Bulldogs found the spark that they had going in the first half as quarterback Jontre Kirklin, an LSU commitment, raced 49 yards to the end zone. A blocked extra-point attempt made it a 35-22 game and took only 10 seconds off the clock. It would be the only Bulldog score of the second half, but it would turn out to be extremely crucial.

“We talk all the time about making the play when the play has to be made and Jontre Kirklin was able to do that for us when we needed it late it the second half,” said Jenkins.

Marksville’s offense responded to the score slightly less than three minutes later as Mingo found his receiver quickly for a 45-yard touchdown pass to make it a seven-point game with less than four minutes to play.

After forcing the Bulldogs to go three-and-out, the Tigers had the ball and a chance to put together a potential game-winning drive in the 2:30 left in the game.

An incompletion and a reception of no gain left Marksville with a third-and-long situation that the Tigers were able to convert. A holding penalty two plays later and another incompletion set up a fourth-and-long situation that they needed to convert to keep their season alive, but the Bulldog defense stepped up and played great coverage, forcing an incompletion and sealing their spot in the semifinals.

Lutcher will be on the road to take on top-seeded West Feliciana. West Feliciana advanced with a 50-15 blowout of Northwest, the No. 8 seed.

A great offensive show in the first half allowed the Bulldogs to pull off their win, despite the second half surge by Marksville.

The pair of first-quarter Lutcher scores came on long passes from Kirklin to fellow senior Tariq Belvin, one of 83 yards and the other for 99 yards when the Bulldogs were backed up into their own 1-yard line.

Belvin’s impact continued into the second quarter as his third catch of the game was also his third score of the game, this time from 22 yards out.

Jacoby Williams also created a big play that found the end zone for the Bulldogs in the second quarter, this time on a 45-yard run.

Lutcher finished the night with more than 200 yards rushing, 136 from Kirklin. He was 5 of 17 passing for 222 yards and three touchdowns.

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