Griffins hoping to stay healthy and compete in district
Dutchtown fell victim to the injury bug last season. They're hoping that the talented group they return in 2019 can stay healthy and compete for a district title in their third year under head coach Guy Mistretta.
The biggest blow to the Griffins last season came during their week-six matchup against parish rival East Ascension. All-everything player Jordan Jackson sustained what turned out to be a season-ending injury.
To that point, Dutchtown was 3-2. After Jackson's injury, they finished the rest of the season at just 2-4.
Jackson, a Nicholls signee, was their best defensive player. He had six interceptions in just five games. He also scored touchdowns as both a wildcat quarterback and a return specialist.
This season, the Griffins are hoping they can keep their best players on the field. They'll return many of their starters from last season.
Most notably, they'll bring back two all-district offensive linemen in Riley Lawrence and Carter Landry. Running behind them will be a returning all-district running back in Blayden Louis. Dylan Sampson is another back Mistretta expects big things from in 2019.
Although the Griffins lost their top wideout in Terry Matthews, they'll still field an experience corps of pass-catchers that saw plenty of action last season. This includes all-district tight end Jadyn McKinney and receivers Dajan Watkins and Derrick Youngblood.
The one big question mark for the Griffin offense will be at quarterback. Not only do they lose starter Drelon Monroe, but they also lose their backup Grant Arnet.
Since the spring, they've had four players competing for that open spot. This group includes seniors Brayden Fritsche and Stephen Winfield, Jr., and sophomores Sean Winfield and Tanner Vadnais.
Although they lose Jackson and starting defensive end Hayden Willis, the Dutchtown defense should be strong once again as they return several starters from last season.
First-team all-district standout Johmel Jolla will lead the charge from his linebacker position, and behind him, the Griffins look to be strong in the secondary, despite losing Jackson and Brayden Caskey.
All-district cornerback Logan Scott returns. Coach Mistretta is also looking forward to the progression of cornerback Deldrick Jones and safety Jordan Spears.
Dutchtown should also be in good hands when it comes to the kicking game. They return two kickers that have starting experience in Cohen Parent and Hayden Sosa. Both players have made game-winning field goals for the Griffins.
The Griffins' biggest non-district test this season looks to be a week-three matchup at home against Covington. They've split games with the Lions the past two seasons.
They'll have a tough slate of games to end the year. They'll visit East Ascension on Oct. 18. Then, they end the schedule with a road game against St. Amant and a home matchup against reigning district champion Catholic.
“Due to an injury-marred 2018, we return many players who gained valuable game experience as youngsters and will look to build on that experience going into the 2019 season,” Mistretta said. “We’ll rely on our defense to carry the load early while the QB position is being established. The kicking game should be in good hands with proven starters.”
The Griffins will begin the 2019 regular season with a road game against Northshore. The next week, they’ll host their home opener against Eleanor McMain.