DUTCHTOWN — Dutchtown football coach Benny Saia almost pronounced his team ready for the start of next week’s regular season.
It was hard to find fault with the Griffins’ lights-out performance in the first half that produced 26 points en route to a dominating 32-0 victory Thursday over Walker at the LeBlanc Jamboree at Griffin Field.
“Our guys played extremely hard and extremely fast, and we got better from last week,” Saia said. “Those are all positives. We had some fumbles, some misalignment penalties, some things we’ve got to clean up. No. 1: Lutcher’s a quality ballclub. No. 2, it’s going to be for 48 minutes and not 24 minutes.”
Dutchtown, which hosts Lutcher in its season opener, scored on its three first-half possessions, and punt returner Eric Washington also got into the scoring act to complement the effort.
During a three-minute stretch of the opening half, Dutchtown built a 14-0 lead, taking its opening possession 70 yards in seven plays with Kajuan Coleman scoring the first of his two first-half touchdowns.
Thanks to a sack from linebacker Hunter Hill and tackle for loss from cornerback Coney Durr, Walker was forced to punt from its 13-yard line.
Washington initially dropped the punt, regained his balance and scooped it up just outside of midfield, made two nifty moves across the field and wound up with a 51-yard punt return at the 6:13 mark of the half.
“The first half we were a little star struck being down here in this environment,” said Walker coach Dwayne Severio, whose team opens with St. Michael the Archangel. “Dutchtown’s a very good 5A team ranked in top five in the state. I think we settled down a little bit, made a few adjustments at half and played a little better.”
Dutchtown struck for two more touchdowns in the final three minutes with Coleman scoring from a yard out and reserve quarterback Jared Sparks spotting wide out Cornelius Washington (three catches, 67 yards) for a 28-yard scoring strike with six seconds left.
Dutchtown rolled to 146 of its 208 total yards in the first half, while Walker was limited to minus-10 on nine plays.
Running back Jalen Hills (10-40) picked up Walker’s initial first down on a 19-yard gain to start the second half. Hill’s 22-yard run carried the Wildcats into Griffins’ territory for the first time, but the drive stalled on downs at the 14-yard line with 24 seconds remaining.
Mario Austin sparked Dutchtown’s fourth successive scoring drive, including a 46-yard gain up the middle, to set up Sparks’ 10-yard keeper around right end with 4:20 to play.
Austin wound up with a team-high 58 yards on five carries, while Coleman added 48 yards on six attempts. Starting quarterback Brandt Fritsche was 2-of-2 for 39 yards and added 37 yards rushing.
“We’ve got plenty of stuff to go back and fix and work out,” Saia said. “I think we got better last week in practice, and that’s what we’ve got to do this week.”