When the 2018 schedule came out, Lutcher playing at Parkview Baptist in Week 6 in the District 6-4A opener seemed like at main-event type game.
With Lutcher 3-2 and Parkview 0-5, it doesn’t look quite as eye-popping game, but looks – and records – can be deceiving.
“I think everybody sees their record and sees a struggling football team. If you only look at their record, that’s what you see,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said.
Upon further inspection comes the realization that the Eagles’ losses have been to John Curtis, East Ascension, Catholic High of Baton Rouge, Walker and Southern Lab. Those teams are a combined 23-2, and except for Walker, all are ranked in the top five of their respective classifications.
A year ago against the same schedule, Parkview got off to 1-4 start but ended up winning the district title and reaching the second round of the Division II playoffs before losing to St. Thomas More.
Along with a brutal schedule, injuries have hampered the Eagles.
Colton Jumonville, the projected starting quarterback, has been out since Parkview’s scrimmage against Zachary. Dustin Philippe and Roman Mula have seen action behind center but Jumonville is expected back for the Lutcher game.
With injuries causing some changes in personnel, Jenkins said the Bulldogs face a bit of the unknown when they take on Parkview.
“They’ve played the difficult schedule and they’ve had injuries up front and at quarterback, and they’re kind of getting those guys back to start district,” the Lutcher coach said. “So, how much different does that team look going into this week is a little bit of an unknown.
“Defensively, they’ve been playing pretty well at times against some pretty good opponents and they’ve kind of struggled offensively.”
Even before the injuries, there was an element of the unknown involving Parkview heading into the season.
“The question going into this year with the quarterback they were going to have was would they throw the ball a little more or was he going to be more of a grind-it-out and pound it runner,” Jenkins said. “That’s one of the questions you have going in knowing that their quarterback (Jumonville) at 6-foot-3, 215, is going to be packing the lineup versus the guys they’ve been playing there that have not be as physically developed as this kid.
“He started at safety for them last year. Obviously, he’s a physical football player. If you kind of go back and look at Parkview throughout their history, it’s been a common theme for their starting quarterback to have to start at safety the year before he becomes their starting quarterback.”
Another factor that has played out a bit differently for Parkview this season is that the Eagles are not playing as many players on both sides of the line as was once anticipated.
“The biggest thing I think going into this year that was a little different for Parkview is that they were anticipate playing so many guys on both sides of the ball. They still have a lot of those guys but maybe it hasn’t played out quite like they expected. They’ve maybe found some depth in some other places. Some of the guys they were projecting to be two-way guys, they’ve kind of found another guy to fill in on one side, so their primary focus is on the other side,” said Jenkins.
With or without injuries, the Eagles stay true to form, particularly on offense.
“They are still a double-slot, triple-option,” Jenkins said. “It’s an offense similar to what Navy has run in the past and Georgia Tech normally have.
“They normally have a quarterback that can run the football and a fullback that can go straight ahead and get some yards and then their two little wingbacks normally get out on the perimeter and run counters, run sweeps and take pitches on the option and can make big plays.”
The fullback is Connor Reid, while a slew of wingbacks include Terry Tolliver, Darrel Cyprian and Chy Rivers. Phillippe also has played some at the position.
“The thing that kind of makes them unique is the emergence of Kyle Washington at receiver. He’s 6-2, 185 pounds, and is a Division-I kid running around. He plays on both sides of the ball but he gives them a legitimate threat one the outside that really can take some attention away and allows them to be really effective running the football” said Jenkins.
Defensively, the Eagles boast a pair of 290 pounders along the defensive line in DeSanto Rollins and Hamdi Sheikha.
“Any time you can put that type of size up front, it gives you cause for concern,” said Jenkins.
Parkview also features a pair of sophomore linebackers in Ian Pourciau and David Murla.
“I think their linebackers are a little young but they run really well,” Jenkins said.
Many of Parkview’s top offensive players also line up on defense.
“I think the secondary is extremely talented because it’s a lot of those guys that are playing those slot positions on offense, Darrell Cyprian, Terry Tolliver. Chy Rivers lines up at strong safety. Kyle Washington goes into the game at safety,” said Jenkins.
While some may see winless Parkview as a down-and-out team, Lutcher’s coach certainly doesn’t view the Eagles that way.
“I know for them, the start of district gives them a new opportunity,” Jenkins said. “That 0-5 start goes away real quick if they get wins this week against Lutcher and Plaquemine and they are sitting right back as the front-runner to win the district championship.
“One of the things we have to understand is that we can’t let everybody else looking at Parkview as being 0-5 and think that’s an indication of what team they have. They are the defending district champ and if you want to stake claim to the district championship, you will have to go to Parkview and get a win.”