Gators can’t overcome Lutcher’s big plays

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Colten Allen bats down a pass from Lutcher quarterback Gavin Webster in the first quarter of the Bulldogs’ 28-14 victory Wednesday night.

LUTCHER - St. Amant rallied late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t overcome Lutcher’s quick-strike ability falling 28-14 in a non-district contest that became the season opener for both teams Wednesday night at the Dog Yard.

“A football game comes down to five or six plays and if you make them, you come out on top and if you don’t make them, you come out on the bottom,” St. Amant first-year head coach David Oliver said in his debut. “That is what happened. They made those five or six plays and we didn’t.

We had some opportunities to make some plays and we didn’t.”

The game was originally scheduled for Friday night but impending Hurricane Ike prompted Lutcher head coach Tim Detillier to move the game up. Both teams original season openers were canceled in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. St. Amant was supposed to play Parkview Baptist while Lutcher was to play Higgins.

“I think we made the right decision,” Detillier said. “We got to play the game which is most important and we played it in pretty good conditions.  We had been off a long time. Both teams, I thought really gave a tremendous effort. They played hard and I guess that is the most you can expect because of the situation that we both were in.”

St. Amant (0-1) drove to the Lutcher 32 on the opening possession behind Jaylin LeBlanc’s 20-yard keeper but a fumbled pitch to Tre` Vaughn recovered by Rico Albert halted the drive and the Gators would net only 10 more rushing yards the rest of the half.

“Their defense is good,” Oliver said. “They are a quality defense. They have a lot of speed. Bottom line is we just didn’t go out and execute. It was more about us today then it was about them. I can’t take anything away from Their effort and the fact that they are a good football team but we don’t have anything to do with our execution except look in the mirror at ourselves. That is what we have to do. Correct our mistakes.”

Lutcher (1-0) struck two possessions later when quarterback Gavin Webster raced 76 yards untouched to pay dirt one play after Zach Whittington dropped Daniel Taylor for a 3-yard loss to open the series. Dustin St. Pierre’s kick was wide right leaving the score 6-0 with 6:24 left in the first quarter.

“They had two big plays where they had cutbacks that went for a good distance,” Oliver said. “The first touchdown they went a long ways. I don’t know if it was a missed assignment or a kid got blocked. We will have to evaluate the film.”

Will Downey recovered LeBlanc’s fumble for the Gators on the next possession and Shannon Lucas intercepted Webster on the ensuing series. St. Amant took advantage of a face mask penalty but was forced to punt.

Webster connected with Jarvis Landry from 18 yards to cap the ensuing 7-play, 46-yard drive. Taylor gained 26 yards to kick start the possession and Webster hit Brandon St. Pierre on the conversion to make it 14-0 with 10:59 left in the half.

Thomas Frederick dropped Vaughn for a loss to kill the Gators’ next possession and Landry cut an end-around inside into the end zone after racing down the left sideline from 47 yards three plays later. St. Pierre’s kick made it 21-0 with 7:49 left in the half.

“If you watch Lutcher football, that is the offense that we have,” Detillier said. “Of course, we would like to drive the football but we are very multiple and we are a big-play offense. We always have been and I guess we always will be. That is the type of players that we have.”

Marcus Millet and Frederick each sacked LeBlanc on the ensuing possession, the latter causing a fumble recovered by Marc Payne, but P.J. Brown hit Webster downfield a play later causing a fumble recovered by Jake Roberts.

Landry’s 42-yard punt return for a touchdown was negated, and Colten Allen blocked Austin Roussel’s punt that was recovered by Brown after Whittington sacked Webster for a 10-yard loss.

St. Amant and Lutcher traded punts in the third quarter edging field possession back and forth.

Adrian Bourgeois got the Gators into the end zone on an 18-yard run with 3:32 left to play to cap a 6-play, 77-yard drive. LeBlanc hit Chase Keller deep over the middle for a 29-yard gain to open the possession and Bourgeois carried four times. Colby Robert’s kick cut it to 21-7.

“St. Amant changed everything about their program from wide-open to the triple option,” Detiller said. “That is hard to simulate in practice and we only had two days. I thought that first series, once our defense saw it and we made a few adjustments, they did a tremendous job. We made some mistakes but I can’t say enough about my defense. They controlled the line of scrimmage and controlled the game. Of course at the end we were just tired.”

Jeffery Deslatte recovered the ensuing onsides kick and Taylor hit pay dirt up the gut a play later from 53 yards. St. Pierre’s kick made it 28-7 with 3:20 left to play.

Vaughn returned the kickoff 56 yards and hauled in a 10-yard pass from LeBlanc eight plays later to cap the next drive. Cory Brasseaux recovered LeBlanc’s downfield fumble on fourth down to keep the drive alive and Robert’s kick cut it to 28-14 with 42.9 seconds remaining.

Tony Raffray recovered the ensuing onside kick but an offsides  penalty gave Lutcher the ball and the Bulldogs ran the clock out.

Bourgeois led the Gators with 75 yards on eight carries. Webster toted 15 times for 116 yards to lead Lutcher, while Taylor had 10 carries for 83 yards.

“I was real proud of the effort of our kids,” Oliver said. “I thought they played hard and competed well. We have to start faster and be more competitive. We got behind early. I was proud of the way the kids fought back and dug out of that hole. We just got into too big of a hole. Next week, we are going to have to start a little faster and be more consistent for 48 minutes. We played hard. It is just a consistency issue.”

St. Amant hosts Central at The Pit next Friday night at 7 p.m.

St. Amant’s linebacker Zach Whittington pursues Lutcher quarterback Gavin Webster in the second quarter Wednesday evening.