If a turnover-filled loss to Amite had Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins shaking his head, the ending to the Bulldogs’ 23-21 Week 2 loss to St. Charles Catholic must have him pulling out his hair.
Trailing by two points late in the game, Jacoby Williams high-stepped into the end zone from a yard out to give Lutcher the apparent lead. The score was nullified, however, when the Bulldogs were penalized for an illegal chop block on a receiver, resulting in a 23-21 loss.
After getting a chance to look at the play again, Jenkins was far from put at ease.
“Unfortunately, I saw what I didn’t want to see on film,” the Lutcher coach said.
“There is no way that is a chop block,” he continued. “The kid is on the ground. He’s getting up, his back is turned to the guy he supposedly chopped block. He running to celebrate with his teammates and he gets run over from behind and that gets called as a chop block and takes a touchdown off the board that gives you the lead with under three minutes.
“I guess those guys are human, too, and make mistakes, but that was as rough of a call to be made in that situation as I’ve seen in 18 years of coaching.”
After falling to 0-2, it’s time for the Bulldogs to try and regroup.
“It’s unfortunate,” Jenkins said. “Now, I’m left here to pick up the pieces and put things back together and try to move on but it’s a rough way for a game to end. The fine line between winning and losing and the repercussions you deal with the emotions of 14-18 year olds over a loss is something we will try to have to overcome this week.”
The Bulldogs will attempt to pick up the pieces when they host KIPP Renaissance at 7 p.m. Friday. KIPP Renaissance is also known as Frederick Douglass, having reverted back to the school’s earlier name.
By whatever name, Lutcher’s opponent is 2-0 on the season with wins of 35-8 over Grace King and 23-22 over West Jefferson.
After missing the previous season with an injury, Ja’van Wright is at quarterback for his junior season.
He’s really athletic and has a chance to really make some good plays down the field. He was instrumental in that tight win over West Jeff, using his arm and legs,” Jenkins said of Wright.
Douglass has a dynamic receiver in Michael Carmouche, according to Jenkins.
“You see him making plays at different times throughout all the films that we had – he seems like he makes big catches down the field,” Jenkins said.
Douglass lines up in a 4-2-5 on defense and is led up by defensive tackle Charles Dean.
“Dean does a good job of disrupting things up front. He is, by far, their best defensive player you see on film,” said Jenkins.
Joining Dean up front is defensive end Terrance Gooden, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior.
Leading the secondary is defensive back Lawrence Joiner.
Another guy to watch, Jenkins said, is kicker Danior Ballesteros.
Ballesteros’ ability as a weapon takes on added significance in light of the problems the Bulldogs have had on special teams.
Opening the season without the team’s expected starters at kicker, punter and deep snapper, has put the Bulldogs at a disadvantage, according to Jenkins.
That was in evidence against St. Charles. The Bulldogs had a snap go over the punter’s head deep in Lutcher territory and into the end zone that was recovered by St. Charles for a touchdown. A long kickoff return by the Comets set up another score for SCC.
“We knew coming into this year with the injuries that we have with those guys, that would be an issue. When you play St. Charles, you kind of factor in you will have to overcome some of those things. You prepare for it as much as you can but there’s not many high school teams that lose their punter, kicker and deep snapper before the season starts,” Jenkins said.
In Douglass, the Bulldogs will be taking on a team that is starting to believe in itself, according to Jenkins.
“They are 2-0, which gives them some confidence coming in. They are a confident football team,” the Lutcher coach said.
For the Bulldogs, it all comes back to picking up the pieces after two tough losses.
“For us, it’s how do we respond?” Jenkins asked rhetorically. “We’ve had two games against two championship-level programs. A call here, a bounce there, and you are 2-0 and you are feeling completely different about yourself. That’s one of the things you have to emphasize to the kids is that we are still the same football team, regardless of what the results say right now.”
“You’ve played two football teams,” he continued. “One team, you gave them every opportunity to win the game and still had a chance to win at the end. The next week, you did everything you could to win the game and it didn’t work out with things that are out of your control.
“You need to figure out how to move on and put it past you. You need to continue to build in the right way, and hopefully, if you continue to do things the right way, the results you want to see will come up at the end.”