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Thrilling finish finally goes Bulldogs’ way in double-overtime

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  • Feature Story
  • Game Recap
  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • September 22, 2018 - 1:32am

St. Amant teammates try to console K.J. Franklin, who buries his head into the turf after a fumble in double-overtime gave Lutcher a 31-28 win Friday night.

With Lutcher leading 31-28 and St. Amant in possession of the ball in the second overtime, it came as no surprise that the Gators’ K.J. Franklin got the call on first down.

Franklin had score twice earlier in the game and was perhaps the top nemesis the Lutcher defense faced all night.

Franklin fumbled the ball on first down and Lutcher defensive back Rashaud Long recovered, allowing the Bulldogs to claim a three-point victory.

“It was a scramble. I just turned around and saw the ball out and just picked it up,” Long said of his fumble recovery.

A fumble appeared as though it would prove costly to the Bulldogs on Lutcher’s second possession in overtime only moments earlier.

On second down from the 1-yard line, Lutcher quarterback Kolby Bourgeois fumble the ball while taking a deep snap from shotgun formation. Bourgeois recovered but a loss backed the Bulldogs to the 9-yard line. After Bourgeois’ next pass went through the end zone, Noah Detillier booted a 26-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a three-point edge.

“You know you’ve got to get points. The biggest thing in overtime is if you get the ball first, you have to put points on the board to give the defense a chance to make a play,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said.

The defense made a play, allowing Lutcher to even its record at 2-2. St. Amant fell to 3-1 with the loss.

Except for St. Amant’s 40-20 victory a year ago, the Gators and Bulldogs have played down-to-the wire games throughout the series between the teams.

“I was proud of my team. I thought they laid it on the line. It seems like every time we play Lutcher at Lutcher, it comes down to the last play of the game. Unfortunately, we came out on the short end. They made one more play than we did,” St. Amant coach David Oliver said.

“Last year was the exception and Coach Oliver and I talked about it and that’s why we keep playing each and every year. It’s two programs that try to do things the right way and two fan bases that get their money’s worth. I respect those guys a whole lot. Our team has been through some trials and tribulations and we played tough competition and had a few of these go the other way the last couple of years and it’s good to have one come up through your side,” said Jenkins.

St. Amant got the ball first to start the initial overtime period. Franklin got the call twice, gaining 2 yards on first down before scoring from eight yards out. Matthew Parker’s extra-point kick gave the Gators a 28-21 lead.

Lutcher also needed only two plays to answer. After running back Rondell Mealey was gang-tackled for no gain, Bourgeois hooked up with Adrian Butler for the touchdown and Detillier’s conversion tied the game.

Butler had a big night. He hauled in a 14-yard touchdown catch in regulation that give Lutcher a 21-14 lead. A few plays earlier in the drive, Butler made diving catch to give the team a first down at the St. Amant 18-yard line.

“We’ve been looking for another guy to be the guy to step up. We know Jacoby Williams is the guy everybody is going to game-plan for. Rashon Williams has become such a big deep threat that he’s going to eat up the next guy. We had to have somebody else step up and Adrian Butler has been getting better and better each week at practice. He’s a senior and he made some tremendous catches on the drive for the touchdown that gave us the lead and the big third-down catch, then he gets the touchdown catch and then he gets a touchdown catch in overtime,” said Jenkins.

The first half ended in a 7-7 tie. Lutcher scored first with 2:33 left in the first quarter on a 15-yard pass from Bourgeois to Cam Amato. A long kick return set up St. Amant’s only score of the half. Two plays after the return, Franklin scored from 2 yards out to tie the game.

The Gators were unable to muster much offense in the first half.

“Lutcher did a great job of controlling the tempo in the first half. We only had 12 plays in the first half. We got a big return and scored in two plays. They did a good job of limiting our turns or at-bats on offense. In the second half, we got more of a flow. It was back and forth. You have to give them a lot of credit. They had a nice game plan and made plays when they had to,” said Oliver.

St. Amant broke the tie 1-yard run by quarterback Lathan Bourgeois for a 14-7 edge for the Gators at the 3:08 mark of the third quarter.

Lutcher countered on its next possession when Mealey broke free on a 36-yard run to tie the game once again.

The teams again traded scores in the fourth quarter.

After Butler’s touchdown catch, the Gators answered on their next possession on a 2-yard run up the middle to make it 21-21 with 6:15 remaining in regulation.

St. Amant was pinned at its own 10-yard line with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Gators managed to reach the Lutcher 48 before tossing a jump ball in the end zone that fell incomplete, sending the game to overtime.

“That was a heavyweight fight that went more than 48 minutes and they made one more play than us,” Oliver said.

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.