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Lutcher’s reign comes to an end with 34-30 loss to Spartans

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  • November 11, 2017 - 7:44am

File photosFor the first time as a head coach, a Dwain Jenkins team failed to reach Thanksgiving Week with a 34-30 loss to the Salmen Spartans on Friday night.

When quarterback Kolby Bourgeois connected on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Williams to put Lutcher back on top of Slidell with what appeared to be 57 seconds remaining on the clock, the Bulldogs looked like they had found a way to extend what had been a very trying season.

After the score, the officials added time to bring the clock to 1:04 and the Salmen Spartans took full advantage of those extra few ticks when quarterback L.J. Leonard hooked up with Anthony Mosley III on a 6-yard touchdown toss with 13 seconds left in the game to hand the Spartans a 34-27 victory in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs that eliminated Lutcher and ended the Bulldogs’ two-year reign as a state champion.

“When it ends the way it does, it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. I guess, fortunately, it’s something through my career I haven’t had to deal a lot with. It is a strange deal in a lot of ways. I’ve been coaching varsity football since 2003 and this is only the second time we have been bounced this early – the first time as a head coach not playing Thanksgiving Week,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said.

Lutcher, which entered the playoffs as the No. 24 seed, ended its season at 4-7. Salmen, the No. 9 seed, improved to 9-2 and advances to take on Northwood of Shreveport. Northwood, the No. 8 seed, defeated No. 25 St. Martinville 34-20.

The Bulldogs led 17-7 at the half and extended the advantage to 24-7 on a 1-yard run by Daevon Adams at the 6:33 mark of the third quarter before the Spartans began to rally.

Salmen scored four times in the fourth quarter, the first coming on a 6-yard run by Aaron Williams to make with 24-13 with slightly less than eight minutes remaining in the game. The score was set up by a Lutcher fumble.

The Spartans recovered an onside kick and took quick advantage when Leonard connected on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Smith to narrow the gap to 24-19 with 5:54 left in the game.
Smith, a TCU commitment, hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Leonard with 3:50 left in the game to put Salmen on top 27-24.

After Lutcher regained the lead, Leonard tossed his fourth touchdown of the game when he hooked up with Mosley for the game-winning score.

The first of three touchdown passes from Leonard to Smith gave Salmen a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Lutcher made it 7-3 after one period on a 20-yard field goal by Alec Bland.

Bourgeois, who passed for 19 of 25 for 261 yards in the game, tossed a 19-yard touchdown to Gregory Clayton to give Lutcher the lead at 10-7. The junior quarterback connected with Rondell Mealey from 7 yards out with seven seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Bulldogs their 17-7 halftime edge.

Four different receivers had at least 50 reception yards for Lutcher.

After being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, the Bulldogs now have to focus on the future, according to Jenkins.

“You count the blessings of the good times that you had and all you can do is get back to work and start preparing,” the Lutcher coach said. “I thought our senior class this year was very limited on their experience on how much they had played coming in but those guys continued to fight and block out a lot of the criticism and fought hard. In 11 games this year, we came up on the short end of quite a few games that could have gone either way.

“Hopefully, our younger guys who had an opportunity this year to get a lot of experience a little earlier than kids at Lutcher High School do. Hopefully, they learn and grow from it and we will reap those benefits in the future.”

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