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Late winning streak gives Lutcher a lot to play for versus Green Devils

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  • George Becnel
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  • November 01, 2017 - 1:31pm

File photosBy winning three in a row Dwain Jenkins' Lutcher Bulldogs have a lot to play for Friday night in a District 6-4A clash at the Plaquemine Green Devils.

A chance at four wins in a row, second place in the district, a break-even season and a home playoff game – the Lutcher Bulldogs certainly have a lot to play for on Friday night.

None of that seemed likely after Week 6 of the season when Lutcher lost to Parkview Baptist in the District 6-4A opener to fall to 1-5 on the season.

“There’s a lot of things that going 1-0 each week has led to. I really feel like we’ve played good football for awhile, going back to Dutchtown (in Week 5) in which we lost on a last-second field goal and then a one-point loss to Parkview. I know sometimes it’s hard to see the good when you are struggling like we were but for the last five weeks, we’ve played pretty good football and we’ve given ourselves a chance going in the last week,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins.

The Bulldogs (4-5 overall, 3-1 in district) are 4-0 after starting their weekly “1-0” campaign to close out the regular season. To finish with a flourish and to put all of the aforementioned into potentially reality, Lutcher will need a win at Plaquemine on Friday.

That will be no easy task. The Green Devils (7-2 overall, 3-1 in district) have been one of the kingpins in their class for awhile and aren’t in the mood to be usurped in District 6-4A by newcomers Parkview Baptist and Lutcher.

“It is a good opportunity and a good test for us against a team that has maybe had to find a way to rebound. This is a team Coach (Paul) Distefano thought could be of the best teams he’s had and they have been hit by injuries at some key positions. It kind of caught them all at one time and I think they kind of had a hiccup trying to adjust against Parkview (in a 39-27 loss). I think they gained some confidence late in that game and they’ve been able to carry it over the last couple of weeks,” Jenkins said.

The key injury for the Green Devils came with the loss of defensive lineman Nelson Jenkins, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound LSU verbal commitment.

“He’s been out somewhere around four-five weeks but they still have some capable guys at defensive end. They are very, very large,” Jenkins said of Plaquemine’s defensive front.

The capable, big defensive linemen include 6-foot-4, 280-pound sophomore Cullan Scott and Devin Mitchell, a 6-foot-2, 295-pound senior.

At defensive end is A.J. Riley, a converted receiver.

“He’s 6-4, 190 pounds and gives people fits week in and week out just with his athleticism,” Jenkins noted.

Herman Christophe is the man in the middle at linebacker while the secondary is led by cornerback Percy Butler.

“They are not afraid to use him up in press coverage. They have the ability to put him on one side of the field and kind of divert more bodies to the other side of the field,” Jenkins said of Butler.

Success will come to Lutcher on offense, Jenkins said, if the Bulldogs can run and pass the ball against Plaquemine.

“At times, we’ve been able to do one or the other, but in games, if we haven’t been able to do both, it’s been a struggle,” Jenkins said. “It will be pretty imperative for us to establish some sort of run game and be able to be consistent up front and give our running backs opportunities to run the football.

“We have to stay out of the third-and-long situations. That’s when Riley can get cranked up and start affecting the quarterback and creating turnovers.”

Injuries also have hit the Green Devils on offense.

“They lost their quarterback a few weeks back, Herb Thomas, who was having an excellent season. Since then, they’ve moved their jack-of-all-trades, Michael Sproles to quarterback. I think he’s played tight end, running back and the wing position for them. He’s gotten better each week and now he’s gotten comfortable at that position,” said Jenkins.

Sproles left last week’s game against Woodlawn, which included a weather delay of more than 90 minutes, with a leg injury.

Dontayvion Wicks, a junior, finished the game at quarterback.

“We are not sure the extent of Sproles’ injury so you have to prepare for him to be there. The weather conditions Friday night got pretty bad so you don’t know if it was something that was serious or precautionary. At that point they already were up 20-10 and playing well defensively,” said Jenkins.

Although the Green Devils line up in a shotgun formation, Plaquemine is a Wing-T team at heart.

“They do a lot of things out of the gun so I guess when people look at them, just with the way the world is with football today, they think it’s some type of spread – it’s not. It’s some buck sweep and some midline option-type stuff – all your good Wing-T plays are being run,” Jenkins said. “That’s something you have to be prepared for. It’s just a little different window dressing because they are in the shotgun.”

The offensive line is anchored by 6-foot-3, 310-pound Brockhim Wicks. The Green Devils also feature a tight end in 6-3, 200-pound Cody Willis.

“He’s a true tight end, which is something you don’t see a whole lot of in high school,” Jenkins said of Willis.

Plaquemine’s biggest threat on offense is Wayne Toussant, a Louisiana Tech verbal commitment.

“The guy you have to be aware of every time he touches the ball is Wayne Toussant, one of their little slot wing receivers. He also returns and punts. He also will play some on defense on third-and-long where he plays man coverage,” said Jenkins.

By pulling off a winning streak down the stretch, Lutcher has put itself in position to make the postseason, perhaps with a home game in the first round, but the opponent is anyone’s guess at this point.

“There is so much parity in the middle of 4A. You kind of have your elite teams at the top – Warren Easton, Karr and Lakeshore has been pretty dominant all season. Up north, you have Benton, who is unbeaten,” Jenkins said. “Plaquemine is kind of in that next group behind the Top 4 but too far behind to catch them. Neville lost a lot of games early but has been hanging around in the low-teens right now so you know they will be a threat.

“For us, we’re 17 or 18. I would think with a win we would have a good chance to move up a few slots and get in that home range. Win or lose, we’re probably somewhere between the mid-teens to the low-20s is probably where we’ll fall.”

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.