Lutcher targets back-to-back titles for first time in school history

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bulldogs reloading after losing nine defensive starters


Sports Editor

If one measures one’s character by how one reacts to adversity, then one has to credit the Lutcher football team with being rich in such an attribute.

As it was for anyone else affected by Katrina in the area, bouncing back was to be difficult enough, before yet another disaster struck – a fire destroyed Lutcher’s field house, much of its equipment, and its spring practice.

The Bulldogs responded, simply, by winning the 2006 3A state championship.

&#8220Last season played out like a movie script,” said Lutcher Coach Tim Detillier.

But with great success comes great expectations, something Detillier is all too familiar with.

&#8220I know how it is. The first time you come up short going for a first down, they’ll be hollering at me,” Detillier said with a smile.

Repeating last year’s success won’t be easy for a group losing a number of key seniors, including nine defensive starters. Three-time All-State defensive tackle Rolando Melancon has graduated and moved on to the Tennessee Volunteers. His line running mate Jordan Gant and linebacker Ory Roussell have also departed.

Defensive end Aston Williams and defensive back Frederick Thomas are the two lone returning starters, and will be leaned upon to provide playmaking and leadership.

On offense, running backs Khymest Williams and Rashad Webster have moved on, but Detillier looks for big things from junior back Todd Muse.

&#8220He’s not a big guy, but he’s really quick,” said Detillier. &#8220He can run outside and inside, and he can catch.”

But the key to the offense will be returning All-State senior quarterback Blaine Gautier, who Detillier expects to be show even more than he already has in 2007.

&#8220People don’t always realize, but he can run. He’s never really needed to with the backs we’ve had, but this year he might get to show that ability a bit more,” Detillier said.

Detillier says an experienced receiving corps will aid Gautier, and that the passing game will be a strength as the Bulldogs attempt to repeat.

The emphasis for the Bulldogs this summer has been slanted toward conditioning, something that has been the case for the past four offseasons.

&#8220We changed our approach four years ago,” Detillier said. &#8220You always say you want the kids to be ‘bigger, stronger and faster’. Bigger’s not always better though. Stronger and faster is always better.

Detillier says his team, while still apt to hit the weight room hard, has shifted its focus away from that and toward more aerobic and floor exercises than before. That and heavy conditioning drills have been a fixture.

&#8220The conditioning we do is hard, but the kids know what they have reaped from that over the years,” Detillier said. &#8220It’s unconventional, but it’s been working for us.”

Lutcher has never won back to back titles, so this team does not lack the motivation to repeat. And despite the loss of key players, Detillier says he can remember at least one successful group with similarities to this year’s bunch.

&#8220In 2003, talent wise, we had no business being there,” Detillier said of that year’s championship team. &#8220This bunch reminds me of them, though. They have really high expectations of themselves. They know they have the bullseye on their backs, but they’re ready for it. After 2003, we know anything can happen.”