It has all the ingredients to become what some sports media call “an instant classic.”
Dutchtown High is ranked third in Class 5A and has the state’s top senior recruit in linebacker-safety Landon Collins.
Lutcher High, rated fourth in Class 4A, is led by another notable senior recruit, running back Daniel Taylor, and is powered by one of south Louisiana’s proudest high school football traditions.
Ask Dutchtown coach Benny Saia and Lutcher coach Tim Detillier about their season opener at 7 p.m. Friday at DHS and you get less hype and a lot more substance.
“The thing about Lutcher is this - you could put in a film of them from 10 years ago and one from today and they look the same,” Saia said. “That’s how consistent their program has been.
“Physically they’re not as big as some teams we’ll face, but they have speed and they run to the ball so well on defense. They flat out get after you.
“We can’t make mistakes like we did in the jamboree, because if we do, they’ll capitalize on them.”
The Lutcher at Dutchtown game helps highlight a busy schedule of season openers for Baton Rouge teams in Classes 5A and 4A.
Other games include: Zachary vs. Catholic High at Olympia Stadium, Broadmoor at Denham Springs, St. Michael at Walker, Scotlandville at Redemptorist, Istrouma vs. Central at Central Middle School, Tara at East Ascension, Live Oak at Livonia, Woodlawn at Lafayette and Brusly at Plaquemine.
“We always play a tough schedule that includes 5A teams,” Detillier said.
“Those guys are big and talented, and when you have a player like Landon Collins ? well let’s just say he takes things to a whole new level. He’s a man among boys. You want games like this to give you a test and we’ll definitely get one.”
The game features some intriguing matchups. One facet is the Dutchtown defense led by Collins vs. the Lutcher offense.
Taylor, Lutcher’s all-time leading rusher, ran for more than 1,400 yards a year ago and is a passing-catching target for quarterbacks Ruston Matherne and Jared Poche.
Another matchup to watch is the Dutchtown offense against and a Lutcher defense led by linebacker Blake Roussel and lineman Darez Joseph.
With quarterback Leon Blouin (Tulane) and running back Effrem Reed (University of Louisiana at Lafayette) a year ago, the Griffins were Benny (Saia) and the guys with the jets.
An all new backfield includes quarterback Mason Nickens and a stable of unproven running backs.
Collins also is expected to play running back.
“More than anything else, these guys need to have some success and get a little confidence,” Saia said.
“We believe they can all be pretty good at what they’re doing; it’s just this is their first year starting.”
Detillier said he expects a “playoff atmosphere” for the nondistrict game that will be televised statewide.
“You’re a week away from jamborees and it’s so early,” Detillier said. “With the rankings and the expectations there are for both of us, this isn’t like your usual regular-season Game 1.
“I expect it to look and feel like a playoff game. What a way to start the season.”
The Zachary-Catholic game is dubbed the Weiner Bowl because it matches Catholic coach Dale Weiner against his son, Zachary coach Neil Weiner. It also gives both teams a chance to establish themselves.
Catholic is a traditional power, but has a ton of first-year starters.
Zachary returns more experience and made a name for itself with a playoff victory.
Though running back Kaleb Blanchard is expected to be sidelined at least another week with a separated shoulder, 5A Denham Springs also looks to build on last week’s 31-7 jamboree win over West Feliciana. Broadmoor also has playoff aspirations in 4A.
Dwayne Severio (Walker), Paul Bourgeois (East Ascension) and Johnny Felders (Istrouma) all make their regular-season coaching debuts.