LUTCHER — After his team scored the go-ahead touchdown in overtime Friday night, Lutcher High School coach Tim Detillier decided to gamble for two and use a little trickery.
Detillier’s strategy paid off as quarterback Jontre Kirklin took the snap and pitched to Al’Dontre Davis in the backfield. Davis then found receiver Gregory Clayton in the back of the end zone for two points.
The Bulldogs then relied on their defense to stop West Feliciana on four plays, including a fourth-and-1 to preserve a thrilling 46-38 overtime victory in a Class 3A semifinal playoff game.
The triumph advances top-seeded Lutcher to a showdown next Friday against rival St. James for the Class 3A championship in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It’s Lutcher’s first championship appearance since 2008.
“That play had worked for us earlier in the game and (Davis) had the option to run it or throw it, and he found the guy,” Detillier said. “That was a fantastic game and I can’t say enough about how our kids played. We talked about our investment and how much work we put in during the offseason, and it was all on the line.”
West Feliciana jumped out to a 16-0 advantage in the game’s opening minutes. Derrick Turner broke loose for a 75-yard TD run three minutes in and Ronald Sims’ conversion made it 8-0.
Defensive back Darius Davis intercepted a Kirklin pass on a fourth-down play and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown and Turner’s conversion bumped West Feliciana’s advantage to 16-0.
Lutcher answered with 17 points in the second quarter. The Bulldogs marched 68 yards on 12 plays with Kirklin diving in from the 1 for a TD and he hit Davis with a conversion pass to make it 16-8.
Kirklin later hit Davis with a 62-yard scoring play and the conversion attempt missed, closing the Bulldogs to within 16-14. The Bulldogs drove for a short field goal right before halftime for a 17-16 lead.
After West Feliciana went ahead on a 3-yard run by Sims at 22-17 early in the third quarter, Lutcher built its lead to 32-22 on 43-yard TD run by Kirklin and a 48-yard TD pass from Kirklin to Clayton.
The Saints answered with a 7-yard TD run by Sims and his conversion narrowed the score to 32-30. Sims added another short TD run to push West Feliciana ahead 38-32 before Lutcher tied it at 38-all with 3:07 to go on a Kirklin dive, although the PAT kick failed.
“Those kids played their hearts out,” said West Feliciana coach Robb Odom, whose team finished 9-5 and suffered a third semifinal loss since 2010. “And they all did. I hated that it ended that way. Both teams deserve a lot of credit for showing a lot of heart out there.”
As for the championship matchup with St. James, who his team defeated 32-0 earlier this season, Detillier said, “Our annual bonfire festival is next week, but us and St. James are going to bring the festival with us next week to New Orleans.”