The last time Lutcher and St. James high schools played each other in a varsity football game, Facebook was a craze for college students and the Atkins Diet was popular.
Some things never go out of style. Fourth-ranked Lutcher (5-1, 3-0) and No. 6 St. James (5-1, 3-0) look to prove that point.
“We haven’t played St. James in over a decade,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “So here we go. Both of us are 5-1, we’re both in the top six teams in the state and we’re playing a game that will help decide the district title. Not much has changed, has it?”
St. James hosts Lutcher at 7 p.m. Friday in a District 9-3A showdown. It’s first time the two parish rivals have met since 2004 and storylines abound.
Lutcher dropped down to Class 3A this fall. The last time the Bulldogs played in 3A was 2008 and they won a state title that year. St. James, fresh off of two quarterfinal appearances in 2A, moved back up to 3A.
So it’s only natural for sparks to fly. The two schools have large and loyal fans.
“When Lutcher moved down to 3A, the expectation was that they would be a contender for the title,” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said. “That title (in 2008) was one they never got to defend. You can look at how they’ve played and see that they’ve embraced that role as one of the favorites.”
Jenkins knows the story all too well. He a was Lutcher quarterback from 1993-96 and served as an assistant coach from 2002-12. The St. James coach was the offensive coordinator when Lutcher won state titles in 2006 and 2008.
Over the past three seasons, Jenkins has rejuvenated the St. James program. The Wildcats were supposed to have one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects in Auburn commitment Lowell Narcisse. But a knee injury in the spring sidelined the junior.
“I think the expectation was that we would be the team led by an All-American quarterback,” Jenkins said. “What people didn’t see is that we have a group of players who make up this program.”
Two-way lineman Sully Laiche, best known as a standout on offense, is the biggest name for Lutcher. Quarterback Jontre Kirklin has passed for 1,008 yards and 15 touchdowns. Kirklin also has 462 rushing yards and eight TDs.
Demarcus. Williams has passed for 1,017 yards and 10 TDs for St. James. Aquindas Steib was an all-state player last season for SJHS.
“It’ll come down to the thing you expect … who makes the fewest makes and who makes the most plays,” Detillier said. “One thing you can count on, everybody will be on the west bank Friday night.”