Lutcher enters 2023 after capturing last year’s state title

Published 2:20 pm Wednesday, August 23, 2023

LUTCHER — Lutcher comes into the 2023 campaign as the defending Division II non-select state championship. Lutcher went 9-1 in the regular season and defeated North DeSoto, 28-25, in the title game.

The defense returns nine players who played in the state title game. The unit has flexibility with players who can play multiple positions.

“There’s some experience there, probably not a lot of depth in some areas,” Lutcher coach Dwain Jenkins said. “Of our top 13 guys, 11 of them have started.”

Jenkins is in his eighth year as the head coach and 19th with the school.

Two players return at linebacker in Colin Roques and Kai Brown. Brown started a bunch of games at outside linebacker on varsity. He started in every game as a sophomore

“He’s probably one of our best-looking athletes,” Jenkins said. “He’s been itching to play running back for us. With the little experience we have on offense and the amount on defense, we feel like we can use him at linebacker and still be OK.”

Brown will play running back and inside linebacker. If he’s playing more at running back, then Coy Ruiz will see more time. Ruiz is new to the group.

“Coy had a great J.V. (junior varsity) season as a freshman,” Jenkins said. “He was our middle linebacker. He took that opportunity, changed his body, worked hard in the weight room and will be a guy who will play a whole lot if he doesn’t start.”

Roques has started every game on the defensive line since he was a freshman, but now moves to outside linebacker.

“As his body has changed, he probably went from being the biggest kid on the field,” Jenkins said. “His body lost that baby fat and he got slimmer as he worked in the weight room.”

Darien Snoquen moves from inside linebacker to outside linebacker.

“Darian started for us as an inside linebacker, but now he’s going to bounce outside with the emergence of Coy,” Jenkins said. “He’s one of our vocal leaders. He gives us the ability that if we need to, we can bounce him back inside.”

At defensive back, Brock Louque, Chaduthaddeus Carter and Jamari Taylor return. Louque is a three-year starter at safety.  He was all-state and district MVP last year.  Jenkins said that Louque is aggressive in the run game and makes a ton of tackles.

Taylor started almost every game last year and led the team with five interceptions.

“He can play man. Because of that, we’ll probably lock him up in a boundary and just hourly take one side of the field away,” Jenkins said.

Carter and Williams were battling for a cornerback spot last year. Jenkins said that Carter was a little better at safety.

“If he’s not the fastest guy on the team, there’s not two other guys faster,” Jenkins said. “We think, because of that, we can transition him back to cornerback.”

D.Q. Alexander started at cornerback his sophomore year and got hurt. He started at safety last year and got hurt. He can play at both positions.

“We hope he can stay healthy and he’ll be in the mix for both positions,” Jenkins said.

Derek Jackson is a safety.

“(Jackson) had a great sub-varsity season,” Jenkins said. “He played outside linebacker for us. With his body maturing, we’re moving him to safety. He may take some lumps, but we think he may be one of the best players in our program before he’s done. He plays super aggressive and sometimes that’s where the mistakes come.”

Three players return on the defensive line, including ends Dale Smith and Reshad Sterling and tackle Brody Louque.

“The defensive line is our most experienced group,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said that Smith and Sterling started every game for them.

They’re both dynamic, physical ends,” Jenkins said. “They can both rush the passer and they’re both physical against the run. Both can play in a three-man front and a four-man front. ”

Jenkins said both are getting recruited. Brody Louque can also stand up and play inside or outside linebacker. Louque played first 12 games, got hurt and was limited. Jenkins said he is an undersized defensive lineman, but is one of the strongest kids in the program.

Jenkins said that Caden Parquette stepped in and was a force the last three games of the playoffs, adding that he “plays real quick.”

“We’ve got four guys who have played defensive line in big games,” Jenkins said. “All of them are capable of being dominant at any point in time.”

The offense returns four starters in wide receivers Dameium Marcell and Luke Babin, running back Trenton Chaney and tackle Terryne Harris. Jenkins said Marcell is the top returning receiver. He caught 11 touchdown passes last year. Along with the touchdowns, he caught 28 passes for 420 yards (15 yards per reception).

“We’re hoping he can build on that and become a true No. 1 that people have to game plan for each week,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said Marcell isn’t elite at anything, but very good at everything. Jenkins added that Marcell improved his speed during the offseason.

Jenkins said that Babin started last year and is a slot guy. Jenkins said that Babin made big catches for them last year. He recorded nine receptions for 177 yards (19.6) and a touchdown.

Babin is also an all-state baseball player. He’s a centerfielder.

“He brings some experience and athletism,” Jenkins said. “He’s a super competitor and that was obvious during the baseball season.”

Dwayne Winfield and Ashton Stark are new to the group. Winfield caught four passes for 32 yards (8) and a touchdown last year.

“Dwayne has kind of paid his dues. He was a backup at every receiver position last year and made some touchdown catches,” Jenkins said. “He knows the offense. He can play at every receiver position, which is why he got so much playing time last year. Now it’s his time and he’s got his own spot.”

Jenkins said that Stark is a legacy kid. His father played receiver and went on to Louisiana Tech.

Jenkins said that Stark is a polished receiver as a 13, 14-year-old and said he has a chance to be a receiver everybody knows about.

“We’re not sure what his numbers will look like at the end of his freshman season, but he’ll play a lot and he’ll be one of those names everyone will know,” Jenkins said.

Chaney filled up the stat sheet last year.

He was the team’s second leading rusher last year with 764 yards on 98 carries (7.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. Chaney caught 27 passes for 305 yards (11.2 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. He returned five kickoffs for 166 yards (33.2) and a touchdown. Chaney also had eight punt returns for 70 yards (8.7).

“He’s a threat to score every time he touches it,” Jenkins said. “He can carry it inside or outside and he can line up at any receiver position. He also returns kicks for us. We need to figure out how to get the ball in his hands as much as possible. He had his breakout moment in the second round against St. Martinville. Now we need to be that guy week in and week out. He might be the guy with the most carries and the most catches for us.”

Harris started every game on the line and is back this year.

“Super young,” Jenkins said. “We’re extremely young at offensive line. We’ll have a combination of one senior get in the mix. We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores in the rotation. If there are struggles, we’ve got two guys we can pull from the defensive line to the offensive line. But we think that the freshmen and sophomore group is very talented. We think by the time they’re juniors and seniors, they’ll be the strength of the team.”

Under center, the team is running a two-quarterback system unless something changes.

The quarterbacks are Quinn Smith and Zach Jenkins.

Coach Jenkins said that Smith missed last year with an injury. Coach Jenkins said that Smith is a prototype quarterback.

Coach Jenkins said that quarterback Jenkins played every snap in junior varsity and every backup snap last season. Coach Jenkins said that Zach Jenkins is best in the run game and read option stuff.

Zach Jenkins was 9-of-10 passing for 34 yards and a touchdown. Jenkins ran for 149 yards on 17 carries (8.7 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns.

“The biggest thing is we need them to be themselves,” coach Jenkins said. “We don’t need them to replace ‘Lunch’ (D’Wanye Winfield). We need them to be a facilitator and get the ball into everybody’s hands. Get the ball to everybody else’s hands and then make plays when it’s time to.”

Trace Minuet is handling all of the kicking duties.

Last year, he set the school record with 93 extra points.

Lutcher’s first regular season game is on Sept. 1 against Thibodaux at home.