LUTCHER — The Lutcher Bulldogs had no trouble moving the football Thursday night. Holding on to the ball was another story.
But despite fumbling the ball away on their first two possessions, three of their first five and a total of six times on the night, Lutcher was able to take a 43-16 victory over Belaire in a District 6-4A game at the Dog Yard.
Sophomore quarterback Jontre Kirklin completed 16 of 24 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns. Aldontre Davis was on the receiving end of three of those touchdowns — one for 41 yards, another for 39 and the third for 15. Gregory Clayton caught the fourth for 9 yards.
The Bulldogs running game was not nearly as effective, amassing 107 yards among five rushers. Destin Porter scored the lone rushing touchdown on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. He also ran for a two-point conversion.
Lutcher’s defense also got into the scoring when Tyler Williams scooped a Belaire fumble and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown.
But Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said his team’s handling of the football is a concern.
“We came into the game with 17 or 18 turnovers, which is way too many,” Detillier said. “Now we’re in the 20s. It is a concern. We have to be able to get that under control or we’re in trouble.”
It was evident Thursday as the Bulldogs turned the ball over on their first two possessions. After Kirklin connected with Davis for 62 yards on the second play of the game to get the Bulldogs to the Belaire 7-yard line, Porter was tackled for a loss and stripped of the ball. Belaire recovered, but did not capitalize.
On the Bulldogs’ second possession, Kirkland ran for a 16-yard gain to the Belaire 36 but lost the ball with 8:22 remaining in the first quarter. This time, the Bengals converted the turnover into a 17-play drive. Less than a minute into the second quarter, Daquan Hicks scored from the 2. Tyler Woods then threw to Timothy Johnson for the two-point conversion, giving Belaire an 8-0 lead with 11:10 remaining in the first half.
At that point, Lutcher had run only five plays. But the Bulldogs came back to score the next 43 points. Lutcher tied the game with 8:57 remaining in the half when Kirklin found Davis over the middle. Davis then curled and ran for a 41-yard touchdown. Porter ran for the 2-point conversion to tie the game at 8.
Lutcher would fumble again on its next possession, but the Bengals had their own troubles, finishing with a total of 104 yards of offense. Hicks was the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards on 17 carries. Johnson passed for 100 yards on seven completions.
The Bulldogs then came out and scored 21 points in the third quarter and another 14 in the fourth. Belaire got a late score when Johnson threw to Tyler Woods for a 21-yard touchdown. Anthony Nelson caught the 2-point conversion.
“It was a tale of two halves, said Belaire coach Keith Woods. “We hung in there for a good while. At one point on our defense we had three sophomores and a freshman in there. And it showed. But I still think the guys fought hard. But that third quarter barrage with big plays by them, we didn’t do nothing.”