Matherne paces shutout of St. Michael
LUTCHER — The road to a district football title is a long, hard grind Lutcher High is familiar with.
The third-ranked Bulldogs took that factor to heart by grinding out four drives of more than 80 yards en route to a 25-0 victory St. Michael the Archangel in a District 6-4A game Friday night at LHS.
Ruston Matherne passed for 149 yards, completing 21 of 24 passes with one touchdown. He also ran for 119 yards on 19 carries with two more TDs to power the Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0).
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like this,” Lutcher coach Tim Detillier said. “You want to get field position, and we never had it all night. But our guys didn’t let that bother them. We made mistakes, but they found ways to gain yards and score.”
C.J. Okpalobi ran for 71 yards on 16 carries, and Brandon Fields had 102 passing yards, completing 12 of 29, for St. Michael (5-2, 2-1). Punter Christopher Reid had a 49.6 average, pinning the Bulldogs inside their 20 three times.
The Warriors had chances, driving inside the Lutcher 30 twice in the second quarter and inside the LHS 20 twice in the second half. Ridge Melancon and Daishonne Harrison each had an interception near the goal line, thwarting scoring chances for SMHS. Joseph Roy added a late fumble recovery for the Bulldogs.
“Boy, did we have chances,” St. Michael coach Eric Held said. “Especially in the second half, we were able to move the ball. I told our guys at halftime it was 12-0 and we were right there.
“No. 16 (Matherne) is fantastic. It’s his team, and he finds ways to make plays. I didn’t think we were intimidated and handled their physicality well. We just couldn’t put it in the end zone.”
Lutcher orchestrated two 17-play drives while taking a 12-0 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs drove 85 yards in 17 plays on their first possession. Matherne was involved in two 18-yard plays that powered the drive. One was a pass to Sully Martin, and the other was a keeper up the middle. DiJohn Payne added a 12-yard run and caught a 7-yard TD pass from Matherne with 3:13 left in the first quarter.
The point-after kick was off the mark, leaving Lutcher with a 6-0 lead. Lutcher’s first drive took 6:32 off the clock. Its second scoring drive, which covered 87 yards, was just as efficient, consuming 6:26.
Matherne had a 19-yard keeper on the Bulldogs’ second drive and completed a 14-yard pass to Nick Bourgeois. Matherne scored on a 3-yard run with 7:51 left in the half, making it 12-0.
St. Michael didn’t pick up a first down until the 6:37 mark of the second quarter. The Warriors had two solid late first-half drives. First, SMHS drove to the Lutcher 23. On fourth-and-5, Fields’ pass to Greg Snee in the end zone fell incomplete.
After a Lutcher punt, Fields led the Warriors to the Lutcher 20 with runs of 16 and 15 yards. But Melancon intercepted Fields’ pass near the goal line with 3.2 seconds to go in the half.
The Bulldogs didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half. Lutcher drove 81 yards in 12 plays after the opening kickoff. Matherne’s 22-yard pass to DeAmphrany Davis was the biggest play. This time, Matherne scored on a 1-yard run to make it 18-0 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
A 43-yard punt by St. Michael’s Reid pinned Lutcher at the Bulldog 8 a short time later. Once again, Lutcher didn’t blink and put together its shortest drive that took 1:47 off the clock.
A 60-yard run by Torian Shorty set up Lutcher’s final TD — a 4-yard run by Destin Porter. Spencer Roussel’s PAT kick made it 25-0 with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.
St. Michael drove to the Lutcher 13 on its next possession, but on fourth-and-6, a Fields pass fell incomplete.
Next, the Warriors drove from their 20 to the LHS 14. A 25-yard pass from Fields to Okpalobi was the biggest play. But Harrison intercepted a pass in the end zone to end the threat.