Lutcher-St. Charles to rekindle rivalry in LaPlace

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And now, for your main event of the evening…

No, Friday night isn’t fight night, and I won’t be handing over my keyboard over to Michael Buffer anytime soon.

But district play is upon us, whatmany of us have been waiting for. Some call this the second season. And the second season begins with some pretty attractive matchups.

Lets start right here in LaPlace, where Tim Detillier will bring his Lutcher Bulldogs to face off with Frank Monica’s St. Charles Comets.

This rivalry has a lot of history behind it – the most recent coming a year ago. Lutcher defeated SCC decisively in 2007’s district opener, and rode that momentum to the 9-3A crown. The teams would match up in the postseason, and the Bulldogs would end the Comets season in the second round.

The common denominator in each game was the amount of big plays generated by Lutcher – scoring plays of 40 yards or more were the norm, not the exception.

It’s something Monica is certainly aware of.

“The talent level is so great for them,” Monica said. “They possess so much speed. They’ve got five or six gamebreakers on offense and special teams. You can’t relax for even one second.”

Detillier, meanwhile, says he knows Monica will have the Comets ready to play – and that the crowd at St. Charles on Friday night will lend to an electric atmosphere.

“It’ll be like a playoff game,” said Detillier. “It always means just a little more when two River Parishes teams go at it. If you’re a high school football fan, these games are the ones you want to see.”

St. Charles has won convincingly over three straight opponents, winning games 21-6, 35-7, and 41-12 in succession. Lutcher’s three wins have been as dominant – 28-14, 41-6, and 48-0.

Each team has shown a fine defense and a balanced offense, each led by a first year quarterback.

“You can see each quarterback continue to improve,” said Detillier of his own quarterback, Gavin Webster, and SCC QB Marc Picciola. “Watching (Picciola) on film, he played really well, especially at St. Amant.”

St. Charles’ best defense might be to keep Lutcher’s playmakers on the sideline via the Comet offense. SCC must be able to run on Lutcher, as the Bulldogs secondary is the strength of its defense.

This should be much closer than a year ago, and the home crowd will give SCC a boost. But a Lutcher quick strike in the second half breaks this one open.

The Pick: Lutcher 31, St. Charles – 19.

St. James (2-2) at Riverside (3-1) – Riverside’s made me look silly so far in this picks column – I’m 0-2 picking against the Rebels. But this is a team that’s retooled quickly. Riverside’s defense has proven itself, only bending so far this season against 2A No. 4 St. Thomas Aquinas – in three other games, RA has allowed only six points combined. The offense is still developing, but its made game-winning and game-clinching plays in each of the last two weeks.

But another STA like test is coming to town in Class 2A No. 7 St. James. The Rebels will need to put it all together if they are to upset the high-powered Wildcats, who are just that right now — mighty upset after an 8-7 loss to Higgins. It might be the worst week on the schedule to draw this bunch for a district opener.

The Pick: St. James 38, Riverside 16.

White Castle (1-2) at West St. John (0-3) – A year ago, West St. John limped into its district opener against White Castle at 0-5. Coach Laury Dupont still was searching for his 200th career win, his team was searching for answers.

They found many after taking the win at White Castle, and eight more would follow, all the way to a state runner up finish. Now, Robert Valdez is still looking for his first West St. John coaching win, the Rams are 0-3, and open up District 9-1A play against White Castle.

WSJ must bottle up star running back Jyruss Edwards who rushed for over 2,000 yards in 2007. But the Rams’ defense is one of the best he’ll face. Expect West St. John to notch their first win here, in what could eventually determine the 9-1A championship.

The Pick: West St. John 24, White Castle 18.

St. Amant (0-4) @ East St. John (1-2) – After weeks of struggle, the St. Amant offense finally broke out against Woodlawn, scoring 45 points last week.

That won’t continue against East St. John. Both teams will run first. The Wildcats just do it better – better than most, actually. And the St. Amant defense has allowed 28 points or more each week.

The Pick: East St. John 48, St. Amant 6.

Destrehan (4-0) at Hahnville (3-1) – This game is always close, and anything and everything seems to happen in games between these two bitter rivals. Hahnville’s scored big wins over Helen Cox and O. Perry Walker, but Destrehan just seems to get better and better. Running, passing, defensively, the kicking game – Hahnville Coach Lou Valdin calls the Wildcats a team without a real weakness, and the results so far back his viewpoint up.

The Hahnville defense will be ready. But Destrehan’s offensive edge – especially in the passing game — will be the deciding factor.

The Pick: Destrehan 23, Hahnville 16.