Dutchtown hoping playing style leads to fortunes

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Ricky Lawrence returns for his senior season after scoring 11 goals last year to earn all-District 6-I first-team honors.

GEISMAR?– Dutchtown advanced further into the postseason than any other team in the school’s history last year, but with the departure of two MVPs, the Griffins have their work cut out for them to duplicate that success.

The Griffins advanced to the Division I quarterfinals, the first time the school has won two playoff games in one season, before being ousted by state champion Jesuit 5-1. Along the way Dutchtown captured the District 6-I crown with a 9-1 record and finished with an overall mark of 23-6-1 after defeating Bonnabel and Terrebonne in the first two rounds.

“We always have winning state in the back of our minds,” Dutchtown head coach Larry Chambless said. “That is the ultimate goal but you do that by winning one game at a time. Basically our goal every game is to finish with more goals than the other team. If you do that, you give yourself the opportunity to achieve longer term goals.”

Dutchtown loses the district’s overall MVP and an All-State goalkeeper in Ian Hanlon along with co-offensive MVP Drake Fruge` to graduation.

However, the Griffins do return defensive MVP Grant Auzene along with multiple all-district performer Ricky Lawrence who scored 11 goals last season. Dutchtown also welcomes back second-team picks Colin Poche, who scored five goals and had 17 assists and Caleb Alexander.

Ryan Reid is also back up top, while Conner Fryoux and Kyle Rumbaugh return defensively and Lloyd Johnson comes back in the midfield. Rounding out the lineup includes Cass Diez and Min Yoo, while Adam Pittman takes over in the goal.

“If we can get (Ricky and Ryan) playing on the same page, then they are deadly as any two forwards you have in the state,” Chambless said. “Our strength is speed up top. We haven’t learned to use it right but if we start putting the ball behind other defenses and running at goal, we are extremely fast.

“We have five seniors on the field and all the other guys have seen playing time so we are probably a little deeper than we have been. Our defense is still taking a little bit of time to gel. Organization in the back is something we have noticed in the first few games.”

Dutchtown opened the season at Denham Springs, Fontainebleau and University before hosting the Bayou Invitational at Burbank Soccer Complex where they played Captain Shreve, Menard, Acadiana and Jesuit.

After hosting Woodlawn, the Griffins traveled to Brother Martin before a home date with Baton Rouge. They host Grace King before district starts after traveling to Beau Chene while mixing in playing dates with Catholic, McKinley and the St. Paul’s Tournament.

“It is a balance,” Chambless said. “We are going to face a lot of opponents before district that are quality. I wouldn’t say district is ours to lose. We are definitely one of the top teams that can go out and grab it. We just have to see how things get pulled together when it comes around.

“We have to begin to trust each other and play balls quickly. You like for soccer players to be able to think but I think we are almost thinking too much at times. With the weapons we have up front, I think we need to play balls more quickly and put teams under pressure.”