Reflections on Lutcher, Destrehan

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 22, 2008

Some reflections from the Prep Football Classic this past week at the Superdome:

It’s funny how coaches sometimes just seem to ‘know’ how certain situations are going to play out. I remember gathering information for our Prep Preview issue, and talking to Tim Detillier about the upcoming Lutcher season — specifically, how he’d expect Gavin Webster to replace Blaine Gauthier at quarterback, after the tremendous run Gauthier had at the school.

Detillier was steadfast in his belief in Webster. He said that he’d be just fine, but that we would all have to be patient. Gavin played safety the season before — this was all new to him.

And Webster — and Lutcher — did struggle at times offensively, bottoming out in a 3-0 loss to Thibodaux in September.

But the Bulldogs offense came alive in the season’s second half. It averaged over 39 points per game in the playoffs up until the championship, when they scored 17 — and that was more than enough to win behind a record-setting defensive performance.

Webster accounted for 45 touchdowns this season — 23 through the air, 22 on the ground. The bruising rusher runs more like a fullback than anything, and he gashed opposing defenses for over 1000 yards this season, and passed for almost 2000. I know Coach Tim is an LSU man through and through, but that’s production akin to a certain Florida Gator quarterback.

He was named the MVP of 3A championship. And the junior’s got another year left.

I doubt Coach will have to talk too much about patience when we speak before next season.

• I’m not sure what else I can say about Destrehan that hasn’t already been said. 29 straight wins —and two titles — in the jungle of Class 5A is such an incredible accomplishment in itself, but the schedule Destrehan plays makes it almost unfathomable.

Just looking at District 5-5A (6-5A a season ago), here’s what we know: aside from the Wildcats, East St. John, Hahnville, and Dutchtown all have spent time in the LSWA Top 10 polls at some point. All were playoff teams in 2008. All were playoff teams in 2007.

Then look at the non-district games. St. James was a class 2A semifinalist this season and the state runner-up a season ago. Higgins’ big, physical bunch has presented problems for everyone in the past two seasons, and those guys lost THREE TIMES to DHS. John Ehret, another talent-laden group — lost twice.

10 of Destrehan’s 14 wins this season were over teams with winning records. Another came against East St. John, which almost assuredly played the state’s toughest schedule. 10 of 15 boasted that a season ago.

The craziest thing is Destrehan’s basically done this with two completely different teams. 2007’s bunch was driven by a star-studded offense, laced with Division I players at every position. Those guys were all gone this year, and the team rallied around one of the nastiest defensive units you’ll ever come across. Nobody broke 20 points on them. They held West Monroe — WEST MONROE, mind you, a team that hadn’t been held under 31 points since September — to a mere field goal.

Two different teams. One perfect record. How long will this go on?

I, for one, can’t wait to find out.