Laiche, Bartholomew among those that shine
Published 10:16 am Saturday, August 23, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LUTCHER — It’s not every day one sees 150 yards from scrimmage on consecutive plays, but such a sequence was among the highlights during host Lutcher’s annual preseason scrimmage against West St. John Thursday.
LHS defensive tackle Sully Laiche and running back/wide receiver Destin Porter were among the brightest stars of the night for the host Bulldogs, while wide receiver Morell Bartholomew and defensive back Trey Nathan were among the top Rams.
It was your typical Lutcher and West St. John scrimmage,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “We got after each other. You saw some big plays and big hits, and it presented us some valuable situational experience.”
The scrimmage saw the first teams of each school trade possessions in a real game-like situation, the only difference being there was no rush against the kicking game and no kickoffs or punt returns. Each team began possessions on the 30, or where the opposition’s punt was fielded.
The second teams faced off during an unofficial “halftime” for the first teams, the second teamers squaring off for a set number of plays.
Lutcher’s first team outscored West St. John’s first team 27-13, while each second team scored one touchdown.
“You can always go out and maybe give yourself some false expectations,” West St. John coach Robert Valdez said. “Go and play someone who you can roll over. Lutcher’s a top-notch 4A program. The bottom line is we get better from this. This helps build us into what we want to be.”
The early part of the scrimmage was dominated by Laiche, who time and time again got into the West St. John backfield to create havoc. On one Rams possession, he stopped a run for a loss, then on the next play got immediate pressure and sacked Rams quarterback Jemoine Green, forcing a fumble and a 20-yard loss.
“Everyone feeds off Sully,” Detillier said. “We’re built around him. He had a heck of a year last year … He’s a Division I player, for sure. We’re not shocked at all by his performance tonight.”
“He’s an MVP level player in 4A,” Valdez said of Laiche. “We kept fighting and competing against him, but, you know, that’s what those players can do.”
Valdez called upon freshman center Brett Bailey to come in off the bench after the first few possessions, and Bailey helped stabilize the Rams’ protection.
The Bulldogs scored first when quarterback Jontre Kirklin faked a handoff and took off on a sweep, finding more than enough daylight to score from 48 yards out and make it 7-0. Lutcher converted a fourth-and-one from midfield via a two-yard Porter run to extend the drive.
“That was even more about our defense and No. 55 (Laiche) than our offense,” said Detillier. “I had confidence we could hold, even if they stopped us there.”
LHS linebacker Ricky Ross blew up a screen play in the backfield to help force a Rams punt, then Kirklin went to work through the air, finding sophomore receiver Al’Dontre Davis for a 41-yard gain. That set up an apparent 4-yard Destin Porter score, but holding negated the play; on a subsequent fourth-and-goal from the 8, Nathan covered Davis well on an incompletion.
“There were some mistakes tonight,” Nathan said. “It happens, everyone’s human. Coach always tells us, if you make a mistake, just go back to what your coaches taught you … I thought we got in some good work (defensively) tonight. We’re solid, together and playing as a unit.”
Lutcher later got on the board again — and Porter got his touchdown. The junior got loose on a carry up the middle and jaunted for a 43-yard touchdown.
The Rams answered with their best drive of the night, this one led by Juwan Boudoin, who first-team split reps with Green. Boudoin hit Jabari Walters for a tough 17-yard grab, Walters holding onto the ball despite a big hit in the secondary. Boudoin also hit Dontrell Louper for an 18-yard gain, and converted a fourth down with his legs via a 6-yard run. The Rams’ capped the drive with a Boudoin screen to Lamore Boudoin, who broke a pair of tackles en route to a 15-yard score.
On West St. John’s first possession of the second half, Green play-faked and found a wide open Bartholomew down the sideline for an 80-yard score after a LHS blown coverage.
But on the very next play, Lutcher returned the favor, Kirklin hooking up with Davis for a 70-yard scoring play. That made it 27-13, and that score held the rest of the way.