SLIDELL — Salmen rallied in dramatic fashion to beat Lutcher 34-30 in a Class 4A first-round playoff game Friday night.
Quarterback L.J. Leonard, who passed for four touchdowns, threw a cross-body pass to Anthony Mosley III with 13 seconds to complete the Spartans' thrilling second-half comeback.
Salmen’s Eddie Smith, a TCU commitment, caught three touchdowns totaling 137 yards. Two of Smith's TDs came in the fourth quarter as ninth-seeded Salmen rallied from a 17-point deficit.
Salmen (9-2) went up 27-24 with 3:50 to play in the game, but No. 24 Lutcher (4-7) didn't go away easily. The Bulldogs used three big plays during an 81-yard drive to score.
Quarterback Kolby Bourgeois' pass to Jacoby Williams gave Lutcher a 30-27 lead. The point-after was blocked by Salmen’s Jeremy Hudson with 57.5 seconds to go in the game.
Salmen then drove from the 50-yard line to score in six plays with the last offensive play ending on a 4-yard pass from Leonard to Mosley III to put the Spartans back up for good. The extra point provided the final 34-30 margin.
Leonard finished with 157 yards passing and one interception.
“We played with grit and heart all year long that I have not seen before," Salmen coach Jerry Leonard said. "I am amazed by some of these guys. They have realized that if you stay in the battle, then you don’t know what could happen."
The Spartans led 7-3 after one quarter after Salmen linebacker Antonio Marquez, who had 14 tackles, recovered a fumble on Salmen’s 29. From there, the Spartans drove 71 yards and scored on a pass from Leonard to Smith to give Salmen a 7-0 lead.
The Salmen defense stepped up again in Lutcher’s next drive, keeping them to a field goal after a 70-yard drive to make the score 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The second period belonged to the visiting Bulldogs as Lutcher scored two touchdowns to take a 17-7 lead at halftime. The first score came with 6:20 left in the second on an 18-yard pass from Bourgeois to Gregory Clayton, which capped a 65-yard drive. The big play of that possession was on a pass from Bourgeois to Rondell Mealey.
The second touchdown ended an 80-yard drive when Bourgeois hit Mealey for a 7-yard pass on a third-down play.
Lutcher scored in the third quarter to take a 24-7 lead. By the end of the third quarter, Lutcher had run 54 plays to Salmen's 25.
The fourth quarter was key for Salmen as its defense recovered a fumble, which led to a score by Williams to take a 24-13 lead. After that, an onside kick by Salmen was recovered by the home team and Leonard hit Anthony Mosley III for a 25-yard pass to reach the red zone.
Two plays later, Leonard threw to Smith for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed for a 24-19 Lutcher lead.
Salmen will play No. 8 Northwood of Shreveport on the road on Friday in the regionals.