It was a slow start for Lutcher, but the Bulldogs came away with big plays on both sides of the football to clinch the LHSAA Non-Select Division II State Championship in a 28-25 win over North DeSoto.
Lutcher senior quarterback D’Wanye’ Winfield carried the offense in the second half with an MVP performance scoring three touchdowns in the last 24 minutes of play. The Bulldogs’ prolific dual-threat quarterback completed 20 of 32 passes for 299 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the football 43 times for 130 yards and another touchdown. Nicknamed “Lunch”, Winfield was certainly hungry for a state championship to end his prep career before playing at the next level and did capping off a season in which he accounted for 4,656 total yards of offense and 70 total touchdowns.
Winfield was not the only player that helped the Bulldogs will their way to victory. When the offense was trailing and struggling to get in rhythm, senior cornerback Craydon Long kept the Bulldogs within striking distance as he was a ball magnet with three interceptions in the football game including two in the first half and one in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs defense was opportunistic the entire game as there were not only three interceptions by Long, but there was also a fumble recovery and another interception by junior linebacker Kai Brown with 2:08 left in the game that prevented North DeSoto from perhaps even winning the game as three of those turnovers came inside Bulldogs territory.
North DeSoto did start the game swinging as freshman quarterback Luke Delafield, who is one of the youngest quarterbacks ever to start in the LHSAA Prep Classic, was not afraid of the big spotlight early on throwing a 78-yard touchdown dime to Landon Falls to open the scoring at 7-0.
Lutcher tied the game at seven late in the first quarter when Damieum Marcell had a 25-yard touchdown catch from Winfield.
North DeSoto answered again by converting on two fourth down conversions with Delafield twice finding Samuel Odom to move the chains. The two fourth down conversions would pay off as the Griffins go into their bag of tricks with a 22-yard touchdown double pass from Delafield to Odom to a wide-open Brian Banks to give the Griffins the advantage back at 13-7 with the ensuing extra point failing.
Both defenses made plays in the second quarter with North DeSoto forcing two stops on fourth down on long drives and Lutcher’s defense forcing a Delafield interception. The first half ended with North DeSoto holding the 13-7 lead.
In the second half, North DeSoto started the third quarter with a touchdown drive as Delafield marched the Griffins down the field 81 yards to give them a 19-7 lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Marques Hampton on fourth and goal. The Griffins would go into their bag of tricks once again trying to fake the extra point attempt, but Lutcher was able to stop the two-point conversion attempt.
Winfield led a 63-yard drive to respond to the Griffins’ scoring drive to pull within five points at 19-14.
Down 19-14 and with every Griffin focusing on Winfield running the ball, the Bulldogs’ senior quarterback used his big arm and found his favorite target Tylin Johnson for big plays in the passing game.
Entering the fourth quarter, Winfield throws a 50-yard touchdown dime to Johnson and then later another one from 25 yards to give the Bulldogs a 28-19 lead in the fourth quarter.
While the Bulldogs made plays in the fourth quarter, the Griffins made mistakes turning the football over three times in four possessions helping the Bulldogs grow their lead.
North DeSoto scored in the end to pull within three at 28-25 with a touchdown pass from Delafield to Falls, but time ran out in the fourth quarter.
The Lutcher Bulldogs celebrated rushing onto the field and claimed the LHSAA Division II (Non-Select) State Championship.
For North DeSoto, this is one of the most memorable seasons in school history making the Superdome for the first time ever. Head Coach Dennis Dunn has won wherever he has been whether it has been winning nine state championships at Evangel, winning district championships at Woodlawn, or even leading Louisiana College to seven consecutive winning seasons. Now, he has added turning North DeSoto to a championship contender on his Hall of Fame resume.
The game is a sign of positive things to come for the Griffins led by freshman quarterback Luke Delafield, who guided the team to the state championship game, but four crucial interceptions ended up hurting the Griffins’ chances in the end. However, Delafield did make some impressive plays in the passing game throwing for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Landon Falls had two touchdown catches in the game for the Griffins while Cole Cory and Sam Odom combined for 19 catches for 210 of those yards through the air. Linebacker Hunter Addison came away with MVP honors for the Griffins with 16 tackles, a sack, a TFL, and a forced fumble.
For Lutcher, Winfield and Long took the headlines, but it would be remiss not to mention the receiving performance of Tylin Johnson, who ended the game with nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
This is the accomplished program’s ninth state championship victory and first since 2016, which was the first year that head coach Dwain Jenkins took the job at Lutcher.
After winning a state championship in his first year and waiting six more years for the next opportunity, this state championship victory was just as satisfying for Jenkins.
I’m so blessed to be the head football coach at Lutcher. We got the ninth one. You gotta have a special team that’s willing to embrace that and understand what that history, what that tradition and what those expectations can do to a team. There’s a lot of teams that can fold under that pressure, but I’ll say this. That attitude never changed. They never backed away.”
“In Week 2, we lost to St. Charles. Tylin (Jackson) came up a little bit short on that last play. We were balling crying because we were acting like it was the end of the world. On September 9th, I talked to our football team about winning a state championship on the field at St. Charles. I said we’ve been here before. I was the offensive coordinator in 2008 with Gavin Webster and Jarvis Landry.”
That was the last time we played at St. Charles Catholic, and we lost in a one score game on that field. I told them if they believe in it, we wouldn’t lose again, because that’s what that team did in 2008. We had been down that road before and these guys believed and showed up every day. I told them either yesterday or today, I wish I had 15 more weeks to coach these guys.”Lutcher Head Coach Dwain Jenkins
Check out some of the photos taken by Billy Metcalf! We will release the magazine with all the game photos throughout the weekend for the Prep Classic. If you wish the receive the magazine for free through email, fill out the contact sheet form at the bottom of the article.
Road To The Dome Preview:
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Stay tuned on Monday. We will release the magazine with all the game photos throughout the weekend for the Prep Classic. If you wish the receive the magazine for free through email, fill out the contact sheet form below!