The Lutcher Bulldogs know what to expect when they play at Amite on Friday night to kick off the 2019 football season.
“When you schedule Amite, you know what you are going to be playing. They are rich in tradition. College coaches still know where Amite is on the map,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said.
The Warriors are coming off a Class 2A state title and lost numerous key plays off of that championship squad but the cupboard is never bare at Amite.
“They lost some pretty big guys last year but not of schools lose those types of guys, especially at the 2A level, and then the next year still have guys that are Power 5 recruits. They have two guys that are already committed to play Power 5 football that are seniors this year,” said Jenkins.
One of those two players is defensive back Daran Branch, who has committed to Miami.
“He’s obviously a kid that is long and lean, about 6-1, 180 pounds. He looks like a college defensive back right now,” said Jenkins.
“When you play Amite, you expect big linemen but you also expect those 6-0, 6-1, 185-200 pound kids that can really run and play out in space. He’s definitely fits the mold, Jenkins said.
The duo leads the Warriors on defense.
“On the defensive side, they will give us a different look than we’ve kind of prepared for in fall camp,” said Jenkins. “They are a 3-3 Stack defense that kind of morphs into a 3-4 and bring a lot of pressure.
“They have a platoon system of front where they give you some different variables with their front guys. They have some bigger guys that they can bring in and can really pound in you and stop the run. They have a sub-package of defensive linemen that are smaller guys that are extremely quick and give you some fits with movements.”
Another guy who has stood out on film to Jenkins is Qabari Jackson.
“He’s a linebacker-type body at 5-10, 185 pounds. He runs really well and always seems to be around the football,” Jenkins pointed out.
The Warriors have a first-year starter at quarterback in John Walker.
“He looks like a really good athlete. He’s a threat running the ball as well as throwing it,” Jenkins said of the 6-foot, 215-pound junior.
The top threat in Amite’s spread offense is running back Corey McKnight.
“You’ve seen teams at Amite that’s had the big, powerful back and you’ve had Amite teams that have had the smaller backs that are very elusive and fast. I think he’s kind of a mixture of the two. 5-11, 180 pounds. He kind of runs pretty violent. He’s explosive but not afraid of contact,” Jenkins said of McKnight.
Amite’s offensive line, as usual, is big.
“Their offensive line and defensive lines are always big and physical. It’s one of the things Amite has traditionally had. They’ve always had big kids up front. They are not just big weight-wise, but they have 6-2, 6-3 kids that are 280 pounds. It looks like they have quite a few of those guys again this year,” said Jenkins.
Defending the Amite offense will be a challenge, Jenkins said, especially with Lutcher being shorthanded following the suspension of two players involved in a skirmish at the end of the Bulldogs’ jamboree game against Destrehan last week.
“We will have to make adjustments defensively with the loss of a couple of guys this week. Hopefully, we get a couple of other guys that didn’t play last week back from injury. We had two starters out last week against Destrehan who have been multiple-year starters for us in Tre Stewart and Rashaud Long,” the Lutcher coach said.
Offensively, Jenkins said, it will be a matter of continued growth for the Bulldogs.
“On the offensive side, we just have to clean up some things. I thought at times we did some things really well (in the jamboree). Then, at times, we looked like a team still trying to establish an identity,” said Jenkins.