VACHERIE —It took 10 years for Lutcher and St. James to reunite on the football field after a policy by Lutcher not to play down in classification kept the rivals apart.
It took the Bulldogs 24 seconds to put the Wildcats in a hole they would never climb out of on their way to a 32-0 district win Friday night.
On the first play from scrimmage, Lutcher quarterback Jontre Kirklin broke off a 50-yard touchdown run down the left side to put the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-0) up 7-0 only 8 seconds into the game.
Sixteen seconds and two plays from scrimmage later, a high snap sailed over the head of St. James quarterback Demarcus Williams before bouncing out the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Bulldogs all the momentum they needed.
“It hadn’t happened in so long, there was just a lot of emotion,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “I guess we just handled it a little better. I also think we made some of that happen. ... In the second half, there was so much emotion, I really think both teams were tired.”
Lutcher punched in another score a few minutes later as running back Destin Porter ran the ball up the middle from 5 yards to push the score to 16-0 with a little under nine minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Wildcats (5-2, 3-1) settled down a bit after that, largely containing Kirklin and the Bulldogs for the next three quarters.
“In the middle of my play sheet, I wrote, ‘Defense is good enough to win a championship,’ ” St. James coach Dwain Jenkins said. “If our offense can just balance off and have some threat of running ball ... we will have a chance.”
It stayed 16-0 until the fourth quarter when Lutcher running back Daevon Adams finally broke the scoring drought on a 27-yard run for a touchdown.
Kirklin, who was battling cramps and was sidelined for a few series late in the game, struggled early in the second half, throwing a pair of interceptions in his first four attempts after halftime.
Fortunately for Lutcher, “The Dingos” — the name Detillier gives his defensive unit — held strong with their own trio of interceptions while holding St. James to 10 yards of total offense all night.
Kirklin said his game was “kind of up, kind of down,” but that he also “bounced back” to finish the night with 113 yards on 9-of-17 passing and another 123 yards on the ground.
Kirklin — along with the defense recording its second safety — put the finishing touches on the night when he found receiver Al’Dontre Davis on a 38-yard touchdown pass with 6 minutes left.
“People don’t understand that this is a two-week process,” Detillier said of the emotion surrounding the game. “It’s hell the week of, but the week after — if you lost, you have to pick them back up, and if you won, you have to bring them back down.”