The Lutcher Bulldogs have now managed to go 1-0 each of the last two weeks.
After getting off to a 1-5 start, Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said he wanted his team to go 1-0 in each of the following four weeks of the regular season.
Lutcher got off to a good start with a 41-0 win last week over St. Michael’s and followed it up with a narrow 21-14 victory Friday night over visiting Woodlawn.
“That’s all we can focus on. We will put it behind us and start to work on another 1-0,” Jenkins said.
Lutcher led 21-0 at halftime but had to hold off the Panthers as the Bulldogs moved to 3-5 overall and 2-1 in District 6-4A play. Woodlawn, off to its best start in Daniel Luquet’s three years as coach, dropped to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in district.
Trailing by three touchdowns to open the second half, the Panthers came out throwing on the first possession of the third quarter to quickly move down the field to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Xavier Lodge to make it 21-7.
Lutcher was clinging to its two-touchdown lead until the Bulldogs pinned the Panthers inside the Woodlawn 1-yard run on a punt with 5:16 remaining in the game.
A 29-yard pass from quarterback Brian Byrd to Joshua London gave the Panthers some breathing room. Woodlawn came up with a pair of third-down conversions to keep the drive alive. The second came on a run by Lodge and a personal-foul against the Bulldogs that advanced the ball to the Lutcher 4.
Two plays later, Chris Middleton scored from 4 yards out to make it 21-14 with 3:20 left in the game.
“You thought after we had to punt the ball and pinned them down, it might be the break that we needed but good football teams respond and that’s what they (the Panthers) are. I’m just happy the way our kids kept fighting. We had a lot of kids that had to step up – guys that didn’t play certain positions and guys that didn’t practice things that we practice just because we are down numbers-wise. We got a team effort,” said Jenkins.
“I am so proud of this team. God, they grew up in that second half. I tell you right now, we play better in the second half and we’re going to win the rest of our football games,” said Luquet, whose team still has district heavyweights Plaquemine and Parkview Baptist left on the schedule.
Needing a defensive stop, the Panthers managed to get the ball back at their own 45-yard line following a punt with 2:42 left in the game.
Woodlawn faced fourth-and-8 at the Lutcher 37 and no timeouts remaining with slightly more than a minute left in the game when a pass by Byrd was intercepted by Chris Burkhalter.
A 15-yard run by quarterback Kolby Bourgeois gave Lutcher a quick 7-0 lead on the Bulldogs’ opening possession of the game.
The Bulldogs’ game plan, Jenkins said, was to use Bourgeois more in the running game and it was working until the Lutcher quarterback got banged up.
“We thought our advantage was going to be able to use Kolby some in the run game, which we hadn’t done all year long. In the first half, he had two long runs, one for a touchdown and another to set up a touchdown. In the second half, he was limited so we tried to do a few things with Daevon Adams lined up in the wildcat just to try and give us some run game. They were able to put man-to-man on the outside and match up with us and they put seven guys in the box and were real physical at the point of attack and gave us all we could handle,” Jenkins explained.
Woodlawn faced fourth-and-inches in their own territory when Luquet attempted to try and pick up the first down. A snap over the head of Byrd allowed the Bulldogs to take over on downs.
The Bulldogs scored a few plays later on a 1-yard run by Adams for a 14-0 Lutcher lead.
“I felt good about my o-line and my running back and tried to take a shot and thinking we could get an inch. The ball went over the quarterback’s head and that’s on me. I’ve got to punt it and trust the fricking best part of my team, which is my defense. It got us here. That’s my fault. That’s my fault,” Luquet said.
A 1-yard run later in the second quarter by Jacoby Williams allowed the Bulldogs to take a 21-0 halftime lead.
The Lutcher game marked the seventh time in three years Luquet has played against teams from his native River Parishes and only has one win to show for it – a 28-14 triumph over West St. John in 2015. Yet, his Panthers have shown steady progress in building the Woodlawn program.
“I don’t hide it. I’m a River Parish guy. Being at Destrehan all those years and playing there, I know what kind of football is in the River Parishes. That’s the type of stuff I’m trying to take to Woodlawn, that ferocity that you play with never giving up; trusting your brothers, trusting the process. That’s what we do. We did it tonight but we just came up a little short,” Luquet said.