When a turnover-starved Lutcher squad came up with a pair of fumble recoveries in the third quarter that helped to build a 14-point lead, the Bulldogs seemed to have come up with an elusive winning formula.
But it was not meant to be as the Bulldogs again wore down late against a bigger and more physical opponent, falling to Parkview Baptist 29-28 in the District 8-4A opener Friday night in Lutcher.
“They were a typical Parkview line right in the middle. They were able to earn their worth right there in the middle. They were able to take it to us and we didn’t really have an answer,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said.
“For these guys to be down 14 in the second half to come back and win this game, that’s a testament to their mettle. The thing we can always rely on our guys is to play hard,” said Parkview Baptist coach Jay Mayet.
Trailing 14- to start the second half, Parkview’s Chy Rivers raced passed the Bulldogs with the second-half kickoff before Lutcher kicker Alec Bland made a touchdown-saving tackle at the LHS 22-yard line.
It proved to be a momentary reprieve as Darrel Cyprian ran wide right with an option pitch two plays later to tie the game 14-14 less than a minute into the third quarter.
Lutcher quickly responded on a 46-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kolby Bourgeois to Gregory Clayton to put the Bulldogs back on top 21-14 at the 8:35 mark of the third quarter.
Terry Tolliver fumbled the ensuing kickoff with Deonte Dennsion recovering for Lutcher at the Parkview 38.
Three plays later, Bourgeois connected with Jacoby Williams on a 23-yard touchdown toss to give Lutcher a 28-14 lead at the 7:14 mark of the third quarter.
“We know the margin of error is small. We took advantage of those turnovers. We just needed one more play down the stretch on either side of the ball and we didn’t come up with it,” Jenkins said.
The Eagles were driving on their ensuing possession but Tre Stewart’s recovery of a Cyprian fumble at Lutcher 8-yard line seemed to halt Parkview’s momentum.
“We were moving the ball well but we were just putting it on the ground a couple of times and we didn’t finish drives because we were giving it back to them,” said Mayet.
Parkview forced a punt from deep in Lutcher territory and got the ball back at the Bulldogs’ 39.
A 6-yard run by Rivers rallied the Eagles to 28-21 with 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
At that point, a season-long woe for the Bulldogs began to show itself as the Lutcher defense began to tire against Parkview’s relentless option attack.
Parkview marched 72 yards, culminating the drive on a 6-yard touchdown run by Kenneth Peyton. After the Bulldogs jumped offside on the extra-point attempt, the Eagles elected to go for a two-point conversion.
Parker Kirby ran in for the two points, putting Parkview on top 29-28 with 5:21 left in the game.
The Bulldogs were unable to move the ball and a punt gave the football back to Parkview at midfield.
The continual attack into the line by Parkview quarterback Alexander Aucoin and running backs Kirby, Tolliver and Cyprian took its toll.
At one point in the drive, the Eagles had three runs in a four-play sequence that went for 11 yards each as Lutcher was forced to burn its timeouts.
After the Bulldogs took the last of their timeouts, the Eagles reached the 1-yard line before taking a knee to end the game.
“When we are staying ahead of the chains and not putting the ball on the ground and we’re running the offense efficiently, it’s effective. We did that tonight when we needed to,” Mayet said of his offense.
“That’s a great program. You’re talking about the two programs that have won the most state championships in 3A in the last 15-20 years. That’s what you expect – two teams that will come out and fight and play hard,” said Jenkins.
Lutcher scored touchdowns on a pair of short Williams runs to take a 14-0 lead after one quarter. The only score in the second quarter came on a 7-yard run by Tolliver. Parkview kicker Mason McKey missed a 44-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half, allowing the Bulldogs to cling to a 14-7 led at halftime.
“Jacoby is one of our top players. We have to find ways to get him the ball. We have other guys that are playing really well for us and we just have to understand that on any given night, it could be any of those guys’ game to take over and do your job on each and every individual play and everybody will get their shot,” Jenkins said.