Sampson and Griffins looking to take next step

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dutchtown running back Dylan Sampson returns after rushing for over 3,100 yards and more than 40 touchdowns the past two season.

In 2020, the Dutchtown Griffins won a playoff game for the first time in three years. This season, they’re looking to take the next step.

It surely won’t be easy after losing much of their roster from last year, but Dutchtown brings back one of the most explosive athletes in the state in running back Dylan Sampson. And with Sampson, they’ll always have a puncher’s chance.

But Sampson won’t be the only weapon the Griffins bring back in 2021. In fact, head coach Guy Mistretta is excited about what his offense could look like this upcoming season.

“We return plenty of experience and leadership on the offensive side of the ball,” Mistretta said. “Of course, Dylan Sampson is our top returner, but Baylor Langlois also returns in the backfield, as well as both quarterbacks, Pierson Parent and Sean Winfield.”

Last season, Dutchtown was a run-dominant team.

Sampson rushed for 1,327 yards and 15 touchdowns despite only playing eight games. Langlois was the team’s second-leading rusher as he paired with Sampson in the backfield to give Dutchtown a very productive one-two punch.

Sampson has been the Ascension Parish Offensive MVP for the past two seasons. He’s a Tennessee commit.

Both Parent and Winfield saw action at quarterback. Though, Parent saw the most snaps. He proved to also be a big threat on the ground throughout the season.

Dutchtown will lose two first-team all-district offensive linemen in Reed Davis and Matt Gallman, but the Griffins return their other three starters in Hayden Harms, Will Delaune and Ty Quibodeaux.

Also, tight end Caleb Ickes will be back.

The offense will be under new leadership in 2021. During the offseason, Dutchtown hired Mike Janis as its new offensive coordinator. Janis was recently the head coach at Albany.

The Griffins also hired Josef Venus as their new offensive-line coach and run-game coordinator. Venus was previously the offensive-line coach at Lutcher.

Dutchtown will be trying to top what it did last season, when it finished 5-1 during the regular season and hosted a first-round playoff game. That’s a game the Griffins won—blanking Terrebonne, 29-0.

In the second round, the Griffins lost a hard-fought 20-10 contest to fifth-seeded Destrehan.

If Dutchtown wants to see the same kind of success this season, its defense will have to grow up and grow up quickly. The Griffins have parted ways with many of their best defensive players from last year.

The departures include defensive lineman Joseph Johnson, linebacker Chris Washington and defensive backs Justin Agu and Jordan Jackson.

“We must develop new starters on each level of the defense, but we are confident that we have players ready to fill those holes. It will be important for leaders to step up on the defensive side of the ball as well,” Mistretta said.

Dutchtown will return just two starters on the defensive line in Gabe Marable and Brody Anderson.

The secondary will also feature plenty of new faces in AK Burrell, Kade King and Evan Reddix. But fortunately for Dutchtown, it will return Tanner Vadnais and Alvin Lewis. Vadnais was a first-team all-district selection in 2020.

Dutchtown will also have to make big changes in special teams. The Griffins are losing a first-team all-district kicker in Christian Donnelly.