Lutcher, St. Charles highlight Friday slate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Sports Editor

When St. Charles (8-3) and Lutcher (9-1) squared off earlier this season, the Comets hung tough into the second half against the Bulldogs’ high-powered offense. But once Lutcher quarterback Blaine Gauthier got on a roll, Lutcher never looked back, securing a 30-9 home win that ended up being the difference in a District 9-3A championship.

So with the teams set to rematch on Friday, what should we look for?

For St. Charles to pull off the upset here, running back Jonathan Cancienne needs to have a big game. After resting an injury during the Comets 37-12 win over West Feliciana in the bi-district round, Cancienne should be closer to 100-percent. The Comet defense also has to find a way to limit Gauthier. Lutcher can win in a shootout over nearly anyone with a plethora of weapons, but St. Charles advantage comes in with Cancienne, the ground game, and a short passing attack.

Can the Comets control the clock this Friday night? They did a solid job of it for a while in the first game, but will need to do an even better job to score the win. Lutcher has been on fire this season as it attempts to win back-to-back titles for the first time in school history. But Frank Monica and St. Charles have made a living off winning games like these in the past two seasons, as they’ve advanced to the 2A state title game in each. It should be a great chess match between two coaches and teams who have been there before.

West St. John (6-5) @ Hamilton Christian (10-1) – Last season, West St. John defeated Hamilton Christian 40-24 to advance to the regional round of the 1A playoffs. The Rams fell there by two to eventual state runner-up St. John,

Both teams have improved from a year ago. Hamilton Christian only had two seniors a year ago, meaning the majority of its players are experienced and remember the loss in 2006. Rams Coach Laury Dupont says a major key will be how the Rams handle Warriors quarterback Jace Peterson, who led the team to its first playoff win in school history on Friday night over Gueydan. Peterson is a dual threat who can hurt a team with the run or pass, and Dupont deems him the “real deal”.

Carencro (7-3) @ Destrehan (11-0) Carencro is on a roll, having won five straight games by 19 points or more. This includes a 56-20 pasting of Brother Martin in the bi-district round. Destrehan is also, of course, on a roll as it won its 11th straight on Friday night, defeating West Jefferson.

Destrehan should be able to outman Carencro, but a number of quality teams have been able to take the Wildcats to the wire. This game is no gimmie. Carencro did lose 29-8 to East St. John this season, which Destrehan defeated by three.

Homer (7-4) @ St. James (9-2) – Speed kills, and this matchup has plenty of it. After Homer defeated Menard in its bi-district playoff game, Menard Coach Roger Herrington called the Pelicans “the fastest team I’ve ever coached against.”

St. James Coach Rick Gaille sees a lot of the same things from a team that hails from one of the toughest districts in Louisiana, boasting Evangel, Springhill, and Calvary Baptist. Like St. James, Homer has put big scores up all season long and has topped 50 points in three of its last six games. SEC-recruit Richie Casey quarterbacks the offense and will present a challenge for St. James.

The Wildcats will look to the return of its three-headed running back monster to carry them, as Luther Ambrose and Gary Davis should return to the lineup. St. James has won eight straight games and only John Curtis has challenged them over that stretch.

Hahnville (9-2) @ Rummel (9-2) – Hahnville has been stellar on both sides of the ball all season long, but will be tested as they travel to Rummel on Friday night. The Raiders advanced deep into the postseason last year and look to repeat the feat after splitting the Catholic League title this year with Brother Martin and Jesuit.

If B.J. Young and the Hahnville offense can get on the board early, the Tigers are deadly in any contest as its defense is suffocating. That could be the key Friday night.