By Steve Peloquin
BREAUX BRIDGE – The 2018 season came to an excruciating end for the Lutcher Bulldogs on Friday night.
Lutcher, the No. 18 seed, fell to 15th-seeded Breaux Bridge 29-28 in overtime in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs on a cold, windy night.
“It's a tough loss, but any loss that ends you season is difficult,” said Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins. “It was a good game, and I'm proud of our guys, and how hard they played. Breaux Bridge was just a play better than us.”
The Bulldogs tied the game with 1:40 remaining in regulation when Kolby Bourgeois threw a long pass to an open receiver inside the 5-yard line, which bounced off the face mask of the intended receiver, and into the hands of Cam Amato, who went into the end zone after the 47-yard touchdown pass off the deflection, to make the score 21-21.
Breaux Bridge was able to drive down the field and attempt a 34-yard field goal as time expired.
The kick, which was into that stiff breeze, ended up short, and the two teams headed to overtime.
Lutcher scored on the first play of the overtime period when Bourgeois hit Amato with a 10-yard scoring pass, making it 28-21.
The Bulldogs looked like they had won, just for a split second, when a Breaux Bridge pass attempt fell to the ground on a fourth down play.
But defensive holding was called on Lutcher, allowing the Tigers one more play.
On a second do-or-die play, quarterback Cole Mouton rolled to his right, before throwing back to the left side of the end zone, when he hit a wide- open Kyser Patt with a 3-yard scoring pass, to make it 28-27.
That’s when Breaux Bridge coach Chad Pourciau decided to roll the dice and go for the win with a two-point conversion.
On the play, with a couple of seasons on the line, Jacob Landry crossed the goal line on a run in between the tackles, giving the home team a memorable one-point win.
“We made up our minds after we missed the kick at the end of regulation that, if we had the chance, we were going to go for two,” said Pourciau. “We had some momentum there, and we didn’t want the wind to continue to be a deciding factor.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Breaux Bridge got on the scoreboard first, at the 9:16 mark of the second period, when Kavion Martin capped off an 8-play, 65-yard drive, with a 1-yard plunge, giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead.
Going into a stiff wind, which played havoc with the respective passing games and special teams all evening, the Tigers were unsuccessful on the extra point, which kept the score at 6-0.
Lutcher scored its first points at the 3:39 mark of the second quarter when Rondell Mealey completed a 6-play, 39-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 advantage – a score that would hold up through halftime.
The Bulldogs, who outgained the Tigers in terms of total yards, 136-70 in the first half, were paced by Mealey, who rushed for 46 yards, including a touchdown, while Bourgeois added 85 passing yards.
Breaux Bridge grabbed the lead back at the 2:29 mark of the third quarter when Martin scored his second rushing touchdown of the contest, this one from 10 yards out, ending a 53-yard drive.
Following a successful two-point conversion run, the Tigers were clinging to a 14-7 advantage.
Lutcher tied it at the 9:32 mark of the fourth quarter when Mealey ran in his second score of the night, this one from 33 yards away, culminating a 70-yard drive that took 2:45 off the clock, to make it 14-14.
The Tigers went ahead at the 3:44 mark of the final period, when Martin scored his third touchdown of the game, a 29-yard gallop, which ended a long 81-yard drive to give them a 21-14 lead.
Breaux Bridge, which was outgained by Lutcher in total yards 302-297, was led by Martin, who rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns, while Landry added 81 yards, all in the second half.
In a losing cause for the Bulldogs, Mealey rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
With the victory, Breaux Bridge improved to 8-3 on the season, while Lutcher’s season ended with an overall record of 6-5.
“It was a great football game,” said Pourciau. “They (the Bulldogs) are really talented and extremely well-coached. It could have gone either way.
“It's a shame that somebody has to lose a game like this, but this is what also makes the playoffs so special.”