Bulldogs rally for district title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / October 28, 2000

ST. JAMES – Lutcher High School successfully defended its name of District9-3A champions on St. James High School soil, as the Bulldogs beat theWildcats, 32-26, and left the field the only undefeated team in the district.

This is only the second championship won against St. James since 1993.The Bulldogs stopped the Wildcats first drive and with five first downs, drove themselves down the field for a 27-yard field goal by T. J. Bourgeois. The drive was hindered by a chop block penalty and a dropped pass inside the end zone. With 4:40 left in the first quarter, Lutcher began the scoring, 3-0.Before the Wildcats could really get into their second drive, quarterback Chris Hymel threw an interception to Bulldog James Williams. Lutcher againwas called on a chop block and with a third-and-35 pass knocked down by Jontrell Phillip, the drive ended with a punt.

St. James got back into the game, pulling a double reverse off beautifully,but ended the drive with two incomplete passes on the 16-yard line with three yards to go.

With 7:55 on the clock, quarterback Risley St. Germain threw a 26-yard passinto the end zone, but it was caught just out of bounds. An encroachmentcall on the Wildcats brought Lutcher a first-and-five to go on the 17 yard- line and two plays later they were poised on the nine-yard line ready to score.

A handoff to Tyrone Martin sent the full back off and running. Martin grazedby two defenders and high stepped over the line. The kick by Bourgeois wasgood and the score climbed to 10-0, Lutcher.

St. James running back Michael Harry shifted into high gear for the kick-offreturn. Harry sprinted downfield after dropping the catch for a 35-yardreturn. The team stalled out on the 44-yard line as an incomplete pass leftthem with a fourth-and-five decision.

A fake punt brought Seth Folse throwing to Travell Steib for a first down.

The play revitalized the team as they headed farther into enemy territory.

Down to the 4-yard line, Steib made the final lunge, bursting through the center. The kick by Quentin Batiste was too far to the right and St. Jamesadded six to the scoreboard.

Wildcat Jontrell Phillip intercepted St. Germain’s first pass of the next driveon the St. James 46 yard-line. Germain dodged a sack and underthrew theball right into Phillip’s hands.

Phillip dashed down the left side, breaking right on the 10-yard line to avoid the last defender, for a 54-yard touchdown run. The two point conversionwas out of bounds on the two yard line, but St. James moved ahead for thefirst time, 12-10, with 1:46 left in the half.

On the kickoff return, Williams, not to be out-down with fantastic plays, took the catch on the 13-yard line and dashed 72 yards, being pulled down on the 15-yard line.

Three plays later, St. Germain laid it in the hands of Chris Johnson for a 9-yard pass and a touchdown. An illegal motion set the two-point conversionattempt back, but Bourgeois made the extra point to return the lead to Lutcher, 17-12.

In the second half, both teams started off fresh and ready to attack.

St. James held off Lutcher’s advance and scored on its next drive. A 37-yardpass to Justin Aubert brought the Wildcats down to the 13-yard line.

Harry took the ball through the middle for a five-yard touchdown run. Aubertfinished it off with a two-point conversion catch in the left corner of the end-zone. St. James retook the lead 20-17 with 6:27 left in the thirdquarter.

Lutcher returned the favor on its next drive, Martin making a 23-yard run on the first play. Toby Vicknair bobbled but pulled in a pass from the 31-yardline and a roughing the passer call on St. James put the Bulldogs on the 8-yard line. Martin brought in the ball from the 3-yard line and the kick is good,24-20 Lutcher.

The next score came in the fourth quarter as Steib got hit hard but made it across the line to add six points to the board for St. James. The two-pointconversion was intercepted by Bulldog Brett Becnel and the score stayed at 26-24, St. James again leading with 6:27 left in the game.Lutcher, eager to stay ahead, found itself on the 48-yard line with something special in mind. A lateral found Johnson on the far left side of the field. Asdefenders closef in on him, Johnson calmly put the ball into the air.

Williams, all alone on the 10-yard line, pulled in the pass for an easy touchdown. Johnson rolled out right for the two-point conversion and Lutcherjumped ahead 32-26.

St. James began in on their final drive, but with 1:22 left in the game, Hymelthrew his second interception to Johnson on the Bulldog 31-yard line. Lutcherran the clock down and a game both exciting and well worth the anticipation came to an end.

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