Advancing to the playoffs gives a team another chance.
For the group of senior players at Lutcher, the Bulldogs have a chance to atone for past miscues that lead to first-round defeats the past two seasons.
“Our football team – the group that we have now that has played for us for three years – it gives them an opportunity to maybe go and exorcise some of those past mistakes,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said. “We’ve lost the last two years on the last play of the game. It gives us an opportunity to take one more crack at it and get on the road in the first round of the playoffs and see if we can put those two games behind us.
“You play at Salmen and these guys are sophomores and Salmen scores on the last play to beat you,” the Lutcher coach continued. “Last year you go to a good Breaux Bridge team. You are winning the game and then it goes to overtime and you think you stopped the two-point play to end the game and move on to the second round only to have to play another two-point play right after it and you go home.
“That’s the way the playoffs work and the margin of error is very thin. We get another opportunity this year to see if we can put those pieces together for those seniors. They deserve that opportunity and they’ve earned it over the last few weeks.”
The seniors, and the rest of the Lutcher squad, even get an extra day to prepare as the Bulldogs, the No. 20 seed in the Class 3A playoffs, face Booker T. Washington, the No. 13 seed, at 7 p.m. Saturday at Pan American Stadium in New Orleans.
The game will be live streamed on VSN Louisiana. Jason Duhe will handle play by play duties. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
“They’ve kind of been on a hiatus here for a few years and they brought football back a few years ago and played a full sub-varsity schedule in the city the last couple of years,” explained Jenkins.
“It’s their first year back competing for varsity football honors but it’s not like some of the teams that come back with freshmen and sophomores,” he continued. “They came back with a full four-year group. I think they have 11 seniors on their team that have kind of been through the building process. I know they are excited about earning their way into the playoffs.”
BTW played for the district championship last Friday, with the Lions of coach Wayne Reese Jr., losing to McDonogh 35 under coach Wayne Reese Sr., a coaching legend in the New Orleans area.
The Lions are led offensively by quarterback Kentrell Harris. Harris has topped 1,500 yards passing and is Booker T. Washington’s leading rusher with more than 600 yards on the season.
“He’s a true dual-threat kid, who can really throw the football a long way,” said Jenkins.
At running back for Keenen Boyd.
“Keenan Boyd is their top running back, but Harris is their leading rusher,” said Jenkins, emphasizing Harris’ role in the offense.
Harris’ top receiver target is Tyrese, who has close to 1,000 reception yards and reached double digits in touchdowns scored.
“I’ve seen him make plays in every single game that he’s played. There was one game where Harris looked like he had a little injury issue and they put him (Johnson) in at quarterback and they snapped it to him and he ran all over the place,” said Jenkins.
The Lions have one of the top ball-hawking secondaries around, according to Jenkins.
“On defense, they will play an even front – a four-man front and mix up coverages behind it, said Jenkins. “That’s probably what leads to interceptions. They are able to get pressure with their front guys and quarterbacks get confused and it just seems like their guys are able to make plays on the ball.”
Damian Alexander, Keith Hampton and Coryell Pierce are among the big playmakers.
“It seems like every game, a different one is getting an interception. Recently, it seems like they’ve played Tyrese Johnson some on the defensive side of the ball,” Jenkins noted.
If Lutcher had to open the playoffs on the road, there are worse destination than a short journey to New Orleans.
“Going to City Park and Pan American, we know how much time that is going to take. We know what that’s going to look” like,” said Jenkins. “It’s a school from New Orleans so you have to be prepared to deal with the band and all of those things.
“Getting that draw where you are going to something – maybe not a team that you are familiar with – but with a facility you’ve played in and a school that plays a type of football you are familiar with, I think all of those things kind of help with the preparation versus maybe having to take a trek to a North Webster like some things like teams have had to do in the past, or going up to Union Parish that is kind of in that same vicinity that we were. One spot up or down (in the playoff bracket), you bounce up a spot and now you are traveling to Union, which is a couple of miles short of Arkansas.”
Click below for the link to the game that is set to begin on Saturday, November 16 at 7 p.m.