Griffins overpower West Jefferson

Aaron Looney
Dutchtown running back Kelvin York dodges an unidentified West Jefferson defender during the third quarter of Friday night’s game at Griffin Field. York finished with 176 rushing yards and a touchdown.

GEISMAR – The Dutchtown Griffins used their trademark running game and some timely defensive sparks, including four interceptions and a fumble recovery, to score a 28-14 homecoming triumph over the West Jefferson Buccaneers Friday night at Griffin Field.

The victory kept Dutchtown, which was ranked No. 6 in last week’s Louisiana Sportswriters Association poll, in the ranks of the undefeated with a 3-0 mark heading into Friday’s marquee game at home with Catholic High, which fell 30-27 to Jesuit Friday.

West Jefferson, of District 5-5A, fell to 1-2 on the season with the loss. The Buccaneers next host McDonough No. 35 Friday.

“This was a good win,” Dutchtown head coach Benny Saia said. “West Jefferson is a good football team. They’re very physical and very athletic. They kept our secondary on their toes with a spread offense, but their quarterback is also extremely mobile. He hurt us on the ground tonight. It’s tough to strategize for a team like that, but I think we were up to the challenge. We did make a couple of mistakes that made the game closer that it needed to be.”

The Griffins finished with 334 total yards of offense on the night, of which 290 yards came on the ground. Senior Kelvin York collected 176 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown, while fellow senior Eddie Lacy ran 16 times for 81 yards.

Dutchtown also incorporated additional rushing weapons on the night. Sophomore Ephrem Reed ran six times for 26 yards and one touchdown on the ground, but proved to be a dual threat by also catching two passes for 37 yards and one score. Senior fullback Lyndon Holmes scored the Griffins’ remaining touchdown on the night.

Senior Griffin quarterback Wesley Perkins completed five of his nine pass attempts on the night for 44 yards, including the Reed touchdown strike.

The Buccaneer offense finished with 266 total yards of offense Friday, Senior quarterback Terrell Marco was 9-for-23 in pass attempts for 106 yards and two scores. He also rushed six times for 49 yards.

Running back Dewayne Lee led the Buccaneers on the ground with 84 yards on 18 totes.

Marco’s favorite target through the air was Glen Coleman, who caught four passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns on the night.

Dutchtown collected 21 first downs to West Jefferson’s 15. The time of possession battle was closer, with Dutchtown holding the ball for just under 26 minutes to West Jefferson’s 22:03.

Penalties did not hurt either team overall, as Dutchtown was called for four infractions for 33 yards and West Jefferson lost 38 yards on four calls.

“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” West Jefferson head coach Marcus Scott said of his team’s preparations for Dutchtown. “They have two of the finest backs (Lacy and York) I’ve seen since Warrick Dunn and Kevin Franklin. We knew we had to have the basics down if we were going to compete, which I think we did. But you just can’t win against a team like this when you turn the ball over.”

The Griffins also picked off four West Jefferson passes on the night. Shaquille Lewis nabbed two interceptions, while Johnathan Darville and Marcus Godfrey each with one takeaway. Lewis also came up with a turnover on a West Jefferson fumble recovery during the first quarter.

Randy Thackery the Griffin defense with eight solo tackles and two assists Friday.

The Griffins took an early lead by notching a touchdown in the first quarter. After reaching the Buccaneer 7, Perkins fired a pass to Reed in the middle of the end zone for a touchdown. Kicker Grant Auzenne added the extra point to put Dutchtown ahead, 7-0, with 1:35 left in the quarter.

Dutchtown extended its lead to 14-0 midway through the second quarter, as Reed again found the end zone. This time, he carried the ball in from six yards out. Auzenne toed the PAT kick through to give the Griffins a 14-0 edge with 6:22 remaining in the first half.

West Jefferson responded with its first points of the game later in the quarter. Pushing their way to the Griffin 9, Marco found Coleman in the end zone for a touchdown pass. With a successful point-after kick, also by Coleman, the Buccaneers cut Dutchtown’s lead in half, 14-7, just before halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Dutchtown put up two touchdowns in a matter of four minutes in the final frame. The first came on a 20-yard touchdown carry by York which, combined with Auzenne’s PAT kick, gave the Griffins breathing room with a 21-7 lead at the 7:51 mark in the quarter.

Later, Holmes punched through the Buccaneer defense for a one-yard score at the 3:14 mark. The Griffins took a commanding 28-7 lead after Auzenne put the extra point through the uprights.

Nearing a minute to play in the game, Marco again connected with Coleman for a 26-yard catch-and-run touchdown for West Jefferson. Coleman’s successful kick closed the scoring at 28-14 with 1:26 remaining.

West Jefferson looked to score again after recovering the ensuing onside kick, but Dutchtown shut down the threat when Lewis picked off a Marco pass at the Griffin 9 yard line to seal the victory.

Saia praised the work of his offensive line in creating openings for the running game and giving Perkins time to complete his pass attempts.

“Our offensive line did a good job of protecting against their defenders,” Saia said. “West Jefferson did some things we haven’t seen before, but we did a good job of adjusting throughout the game.

“Defensively, we played pretty well, minus their two touchdown drives. But that’s going to happen. You can’t shut out everyone you play. It was a good win, but there’s always room for improvement.”

Dutchtown defenders Justin Rivere (24) and Christopher Pacheco (45) converge on West Jefferson quarterback Terrell Marco during the third quarter Friday night.