LUTCHER, LA (WAFB) - The Lutcher football program hired the head coach from St. James Wildcats, who the Bulldogs beat for the 3A title in 2015.
"Here's your first chance to make a first impression of what the 2016 Bulldogs are gonna look like," said new Lutcher head coach Dwain Jenkins.
On offense in the spring game against Loranger, they looked like they did in 2015, with senior Jontre' Kirklin trying to become the first Lutcher quarterback to win back-to-back state titles, after seven others before him came up short.
Al'Dontre Davis is one of several targets Kirklin can gun for when he's not tucking it the distance.
Jenkins said his quarterback, who's being recruited as an athlete, can be everything the Dogs need to get back to the Dome and make another run.
"He's being recruited as an athlete, but I'll be the first person to stand on a table with anybody and tell them he can play Division I quarterback," Jenkins said. "I've coached quite a few guys that have had that opportunity, and at the end of this season, barring any injuries or anything, Jontre is going to be the leading passer in the history of Lutcher High School.
"[Kirklin's] going to score more touchdowns than anybody in the history of Lutcher High School. He's going to be second-leading rusher in the history of Lutcher High School. So I don't know what more you have to do as a quarterback or as a playmaker to say that you can play quarterback at the Division I level than that."
"If we need a play to happen, he's gonna step up to the challenge and he's going to do it for us," Recotta said.
"We have a bullseye on our back. Everybody's trying to beat us," Kirklin said.
Jenkins is pushing the Dogs to get back to the Dome after taking over for his mentor Tim Detillier, 25 years after Detillier came back from St. Charles Catholic.
"You never escape Lutcher Football. It doesn't matter where you are," Jenkins said. "You can be at the park, at a little league baseball game and somebody is coming to ask you if you're going to repeat. You can be in the grocery store, pumping gas It's what our community is known for."
"He was my coach in the 8th grade. I was actually playing quarterback. So he was my coach," said senior safety Dylan Recotta. "So whenever he came back, he was definitely the right man for the job."
Kirklin said that he is loving the transition, which he described as "going super smooth."
"On a state championship team, you might be able to find an uncle or a brother or a cousin who's done it before," Jenkins said. "It kind of comes and you understand what those expectations are and there's no shortage of people out there reminding you that you're expected to win a state championship."
"We're not the biggest people on the field ever. We just play hungry," said senior safety Ethan Bland.
"There's no shortcuts to get into another state championship and that's the number one thing," Jenkins said. "If there was any easier way to do it, we'd do it. But there's not an easier way, there's no easy way to get back to New Orleans in December besides hard work."
The offense that handed out the big licks against Loranger in the spring game has virtually everybody back from the 3A champs. While the defense must replace seven starters including Warrick Dunn finalist and five-year starter Sully Laiche.
"It's rare that we have anybody new," Jenkins said. "Most of the guys that play on our football teams, their brothers played, their uncles played, their dads played, everybody's part of the community. It's just something special and when you get the opportunity to come back, you have to go."
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