When 10th-ranked St. Michael the Archangel made its pregame entrance, fireworks were set off. But the real fireworks came in the second half.
Fifth-ranked Lutcher High School scored 29 second-half points to break open a close game on the way to a 45-7 District 6-4A victory over St. Michael on Friday night at Louisiana Leadership Institute’s Doug Williams Stadium.
Daniel Taylor ran for 209 yards 19 carries, including scoring runs of 63 and 39 yards among his three touchdowns to pace the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-0). Ruston Matherne completed 10 of 17 passes for 183 yards and two TDs.
“You’ve got to give St. Michael credit,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “They came in with a good game plan and played as hard as they could. In the first half, I thought they handled the big-game atmosphere better than we did.
“At halftime there was no fire and brimstone. We made a couple of adjustments. We relaxed and started to play Lutcher football.”
The Warriors trailed 16-7 at halftime, but never crossed midfield in the final half. Dash Duncan completed 10 of 28 passes for 77 yards for the Warriors (6-1, 2-1). J.T. Mauldin had 77 rushing yards on 19 carries.
“We had a good game plan,” SMHS coach Eric Held said. “We weren’t intimidated. Tim (Detillier) told me the game was closer than the score indicated.
“We missed some chances in the first half and had some dropped passes. Then we left our defense out there too long.”
St. Michael turned the ball over on its first possession. Lutcher’s Blake Roussel recovered a SMHS fumble.
The Bulldogs were in business at the SMHS 42. But the Warriors defense dug in, forcing Lutcher to settle for a Nicholas Gatch 38-yard field goal with 7:22 left in the first quarter.
St. Michael used the running of Mauldin and C.J. Okpalobi to gain large chunks of yardage. The duo combined for 83 first-half yards. After holding the ball for nearly five minutes, the Warriors had to punt.
Lutcher countered quickly. Taylor, who ran for 114 first-half yards, raced 63 yards down the sideline for a TD. The two-point conversion pass failed, but the Bulldogs led 9-0 with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
Duncan started slow, completing 1 of 5 passes for minus-1 yards. But Duncan and the SMHS offense warmed up late in the first quarter, putting together a 10-play, 77-yard scoring drive.
Duncan connected with Okpalobi on a 27-yard pass play and completed three other key passes during the drive. Okpalobi scored on a 4-yard run and Ashton Fletcher added the point-after kick, making it 9-7 with 8:17 left in the half.
St. Michael had the next significant drive. The Warriors drove from their 36 to the LHS 13. Fletcher’s 30-yard field goal try was just off the mark with 3:10 to go.
Lutcher had a big play - a 39-yard scoring pass from Ruston Matherne to Taylor - negated by a hold penalty.
But the Bulldogs regrouped. A 21-yard run by Taylor helped set up Matherne’s 20-yard TD pass to Jared Poche with 34.1 seconds remaining. Gatch’s PAT made it 16-7.
“We just kept plugging away,” Taylor said. “The big plays came, but it took a little time.”
A 76-yard pass from Matherne to Dejohn Payne set up the LHS’ first second-half score. Poche ran 1-yard for the TD and ran for the two-point PAT, making it 24-7 at the 8:52 mark.
An interception by Troy Favorite set up Taylor’s 3-yard TD run with 3.0 seconds left in the third quarter.
Matherne’s 34-yard run set the stage for another TD - a 17-yard pass from Matherne to Dorian Semien with 9:13 to go in the game. Taylor scored the final TD on a 39-yard run with 2:38 left.