Griffins will lean on talented defense in 2022

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dutchtown will feature a talented linebacking corps, featuring Dickson Agu (No. 25) and Anson McCaffery (No. 40).

For the past three seasons, Dutchtown has had the luxury of featuring one of the best offensive weapons in the state.

That won’t be the case in 2022.

Heralded running back Dylan Sampson is gone. In fact, the Griffins will be without their leading receiver and top-two leading rushers from last season.

With Dutchtown being so young and inexperienced on offense, the Griffins will have to lean heavily on their defense. 

“We return plenty of experience and leadership on the defensive side of the ball,” Dutchtown head coach Guy Mistretta said.

Dutchtown’s defensive unit will be led by safety AK Burrell, who was a first-team all-district player last season and recently committed to Furman.

Also, the Griffins return first-team all-district linebacker Dickson Agu. Agu has received multiple scholarship offers during the offseason, including an offer from Missouri.

Other returning defensive starters for Dutchtown will include cornerback Kaden Mackey, linebackers Anson McCaffery and Carter Hanberry, safety Kade Kling and defensive end Zyan Tremont.

In all, the Griffin defense returns seven starters.

But huge question marks will hover over Dutchtown’s offense.

The Griffins will be without Sampson. The Tennessee signee ended his career as the school’s all-time leading rusher, surpassing former Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy.

Last season, Sampson rushed for 1,374 yards and 22 touchdowns, despite being hampered by injures during the latter portion of the season.

Dutchtown will also be without second-team all-district running back Baylor Langlois, who was the team’s second-leading rusher.

Through the air, the Griffins will be without starting tight end Caleb Ickes.

The only skill-position starter Dutchtown will return is quarterback Pierson Parent.

The speedy Parent could also see snaps at slot receiver this upcoming season. If he does, the quarterback who will be throwing him the ball will be Ethan Aucoin.

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

The Griffins also lost three starters on the offensive line. However, Dutchtown will return one of the best offensive linemen in the area.

Returning as starting right tackle will be Ethan Fields. Fields was first-team all-district last season, and he’s a Purdue commit.

The Griffins will also return starting left tackle Wayne McKinney.

Dutchtown’s new starters on the offensive line will be guards Jaden Green and Hunter Lowry and center Christian Gautreau.

This season, the Griffins’ schedule will look very different with the transformation of District 5-5A. Catholic, McKinley and Woodlawn have left the district, and Denham Springs, Live Oak and Walker have joined.

Dutchtown is seeking more success than what it saw late last season. 

The Griffins began the year with a 4-0 record, but they struggled during the second half of the year. They went 1-4 in their final five games.

Dutchtown reached the playoffs as the No. 26 seed. In the opening round, defending champion Acadiana eliminated them.

The Griffins will get their first taste of action on Aug. 26, when they host a jamboree against parish and district foe East Ascension.

In the season opener on Sept. 2, the Griffins will host Northshore. Last year’s matchup with Northshore was canceled due to Hurricane Ida.