Tough schedule helps Lutcher to No. 3 in Class 3A poll _lowres

Advocate photo by BRIAN ROBERTS -- Lutcher QB Jontre Kirklin

Class 3A: (1) Lutcher vs. (15) St. James

WHEN: Noon Saturday

RECORDS: Lutcher 13-1, St. James 11-3

How they got here

LUTCHER: Beat Avoyelles 34-8; beat Wossman 44-6; beat Kaplan 13-8; beat West Feliciana 46-38 in overtime

ST. JAMES: Beat Green Oaks 34-21; beat Eunice 30-18; beat Northwest 28-14; advanced past Amite via forfeit

Last time in the state final

Lutcher has six titles, most recently prevailing in 2008. St. James’ most recent of four crowns came back in 1979.

Top storyline: All St. James Parish, all the time

Fans waited 10 years for these parish rivals to match up earlier this year. Lutcher beat St. James 32-0 in a District 9-3A game before the return of star QB Lowell Narcisse from an ACL injury. Since Narcisse’s return, the Wildcats have been on a roll.

Gameplan

LUTCHER: Can Lutcher stop Narcisse, an Auburn commitment considered to be the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat QB for 2017?

ST. JAMES: Likewise, how will St. James slow the Bulldogs offense, led by QB Jontre Kirklin? Defensive stops and turnovers could be huge.

Key players

LUTCHER: Kirklin (2,257 passing yards, 35 TDs; 1,081 rushing yards, 17 TDs), WR Al’Dontre Davis (60 catches, 880 yards, 14 TDs), DL/OL Sully Laiche (108 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 11 sacks), LB Ben St. Pierre (122 tackles, 10 tackles for loss)

ST. JAMES: Narcisse (305 rushing yards, 296 passing yards in three games with 10 total TDs), WR Arron McKenney (43 catches, 691 yards, 11 TDs), LB Aquindas Steib (74 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 5 sacks), DB Jai Lewis (51 tackles 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks)

Predictions

Robin Fambrough: Lutcher 35, St. James 34

Rod Walker: Lutcher 27, St. James 20