Lutcher rallied back from a 14-13 halftime deficit for a 27-20 home win Friday night over McDonogh 35 in the Bulldogs’ season opener.
The Bulldogs (1-0) held leads of 7-0 and 13-6 in the first half before the Roneagles (1-1) pulled ahead at halftime.
Lutcher struck first on an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ruston Matherne to Torian Shorty for its 7-0 lead at the 5:23 mark of the first quarter.
After Willard Cheatham’s 1-yard touchdown run at the 4:42 mark of the second quarter, a missed conversion attempt allowed Lutcher to cling to a one-point advantage.
A tackle-breaking 34-yard run by Shorty moments later allowed Lutcher to extend its lead but this time it was the Bulldogs missing the extra-point attempt, leaving LHS with a 13-6 edge.
Cheatham hooked up with Byron Blunt on a 27-yard touchdown pass and Isaac Brooks scored on a two-point conversion run to give McDonogh 35 a 14-13 lead with 1:40 remaining before intermission.
“I liked the way we answered the call right before the end of the half but we only had 34 seconds but we did move the ball and we knew we were getting it first in the second half,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said.
The Bulldogs were their own worst enemy in the first half with several key mistakes. One example was when Lutcher had the ball near midfield. A Bulldog lineman was called for holding and then committed a late hit. The 10-yard spot foul from behind the line of scrimmage, plus the 15-yard personal foul penalty pushed Lutcher back to near its own goal line.
“I don’t know what you call in the playbook. They don’t have a play for that,” Detillier said.
Lutcher struck first in the second half when Shorty, who accounted for three touchdowns, broke loose on a 36-yard gallop to help the Bulldogs regain the lead at 20-14 at the 10:18 mark of the third quarter. Shorty finished with 83 yards rushing in the game.
“At halftime, there weren’t a lot of adjustments to make. What we were doing, it was working on both sides of the ball,” Detillier explained. “Maybe we needed to be a little more intense and a little more physical but we needed to quit shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Later in the third quarter, a diving catch on a 31-yard pass play by Spencer Roussel at the 1-yard line set up Matherne’s touchdown run to give Lutcher its biggest lead of the game of 13 points at 27-14. Matherne was 20 of 28 passing for 175 yards while Roussel had two catches for 46 yards.
Tyrone Clark’s 1-yard run with 5:14 left in the game allowed the Roneagles to pull to within seven points.
Clinging to a one-touchdown lead, Shorty picked up a first down on third-and-short in the closing moments for a first down that allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock.
“If we don’t pick up the first down, its fourth-and-1, we go for it. If (we don’t pick up the first down), McDonogh’s got the ball with some time left,” Detillier said.