Three River Parishes teams head to their BIG GAME

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

By GEORGE MAHL Sports Editor

It is a dream come true for prep football fans in the River Parishes. Three area teams will be vying for state championships this weekend. On Friday night, the West St. John Rams will go for their first 2A state championship since 1998 when they take on Sterlington. The Lutcher Bulldogs will be trying to win their first 3A state championship since 1983 when they battle Notre Dame. Finally, Hahnville Head Football Coach Lou Valdin will lead the Tigers into the Superdome for the first time as Hahnville coach as they will battle two-time state champion Evangel on Saturday night.

Lutcher versus Notre Dame

It was not supposed to happen. A team that gets off to an 0-3 start is not supposed to make it to the state championship game. Lutcher Head Football Coach Tim Detillier said people have labeled his team as the “cinderella team” of this year’s playoffs.

“That is just fine with me. I have been called worse,” said Detiller. “We will be OK as along as the game ends before midnight,” he said.

The Bulldog head coach can not say enough about the effort of his team. “I’m as proud and happy for these kids as I can be. We are still on a mission,” Detillier said.

That mission will be put to the test once again this week when they take on an undefeated Notre Dame (14-0) team. The Bulldogs have defeated teams in the playoffs with a combined record of 56-2. “That record was 56-7 after we defeated them,” he said. “I guess you could say we have been David going against Goliath lately. I hope David has more rocks to throw at Goliath,” said Detillier.

One of the things Detillier said he is impressed with is the team concept that has been a part of the Bulldogs successful run. He said he noticed it in the game against Assumption.

“Our extra-point team is on the field and I look up and I see our team kneeling and holding hands right before the kick. It was amazing,” Detillier said. Tickets are currently on sale at Lutcher, Superdome Box Office and Ticketmaster. Detillier said his team was given 1,000 general admission tickets and 500 reserved tickets.

“We already sold out both of those. I have called and requested more,” he said.

Detillier is excited about having two other River Parish teams play in the Superdome.

“I have a great relationship with coach Dupont (West St. John Head Football Coach). I told him after our scrimmage earlier this year that this was his best team ever,” Detillier said. “I also have to give credit to coach Valdin(Hahnville Head Football Coach) for the job he has done. They deserve to be there as well.”

George Mahl

Hahnville versus Evangel

The Hahnville Tigers rolled into the championship game with a convincing 42-21 victory over Carencro. The Tigers erased a 14-point deficit and scored 35 unanswered points to advance to the dome to play Evangel. Hahnville running back Darius Reynaurd ran the ball 25 times for 208 yards in the victory.

“It feels better than the alternative,” said Hahnville Head Football Coach Lou Valdin on Monday. “What can I say about our team. We fought back hard after the first quarter,” he said.

One of the games Valdin points to during the season that was perhaps a turning point was the memorable game against East St. John.

“That was one of the games in which we had to play through adversity,” he said.

This week the Tigers will take on Evangel, who be led by running back Jacob Hester.

“They are not a two-time state champion for nothing. We have talked to some people that have played them and feel we have got our work cut out for us,” he said.

With a young quarterback at the helm, Bryant Lee, Valdin thought his offense might struggle threw then early part of the season.

“I thought our defense would be ahead of our defense,” Valdin said. Tickets are on sale at the usual Hahnville ticket outlets, according to Valdin. Kickoff is set for 7pm Saturday night.

George Mahl

West St. John versus Sterlington

It’s going to be the top two 2A teams in Louisiana battling it out for the 2A state title Friday night at 5pm. To say the least, West St. John Head Football Coach Laury Dupont is ready to get it on.

“Just to get back to this level is very exciting,” Dupont said. “I am excited for the kids, their families and the community.”

However, Dupont said he is extremely proud of how his coaching staff handled things while he was out with the flu last week.

“I told the coaches before we took the field that this game was for them. They had a great game plan prepared for the kids,” he said.

The best way to prepare for a championship game is to prepare for it the way you have prepared for any game thus far, according to Dupont.

“We need to stay level headed this week and prepare as we have always done,” he said. To this point, the Rams have been doing well on both sides of the ball.

“I thought Quinn Johnson ran the ball very hard in the game against Vidalia while our defense held up,” said Dupont.

It will be five years since West St. John has played in the Superdome.

“While taking nothing away from the 1998 team, I think this team is more focused at working together. Some people did not give us a chance in 1998, while this year the expectations were very high,” Dupont said.

Like Detillier, Dupont says he is excited about having three River Parish teams in the finals.

“I think football in the River Parishes speaks for itself. Year in and year out this area has produced some dominating teams,” he said. WSJ quarterback Josh Lumar is thrilled about it. “River Parishes rule,” is what Lumar yelled out when they announced the Hahnville and Lutcher scores.

West St. John assistant coach Lennix Madere summed it up best.

“They might as well rename the Superdome the Tri-parish Dome.”

George Mahl