Pios battle for state title
By Chris Quebedeaux
Friday’s Class AAA championship contest between the Notre Dame and the Lutcher Bulldogs (7 p.m. at the SuperDome) will be a renewal of a classic rivalry as well as a reunion of two old friends.
Notre Dame and Lutcher have met four times since 1997 with each team winning twice.
However, Notre Dame coach Lewis Cook and Lutcher coach Tim Detillier have a friendship that goes beyond the four games.
“We both serve on the Louisiana Football Coaches Association Executive Committee so we attend a lot of meetings and planning functions together,” said Cook of he and Detillier. “By having those extra duties on the committee, we’ve spent a lot of time together and just developed a friendship through that.”
That friendship will be put on hold for at least for 48 minutes Friday, when Cooks Pios and Detillier’s Bulldogs square off for the AAA title.
“You know, it’s tough anytime when you’re going against a good friend of yours,” said Cook. “It puts a little strain on things. I don’t like losing to him and he doesn’t like losing to me. When it’s all said and done, it has to be somebody that’s going to get it.
“You don’t mind seeing one of your friends accomplish something that special if you are not going to get it. I mean, I’d rather it be us than him but...”
Lutcher has the upper-hand in title games, defeating Notre Dame, 15-7, in 2003. The Bulldogs also picked up a 20-14 victory over the Pios in the 2006 semifinals in Crowley before topping Independence 27-7 the following week to claim their second state title.
Notre Dame won the first meeting between the two teams back in 1997. The Pios, playing in their first-ever playoff game as a AAA team, defeated the Bulldogs, 27-14, at Gardiner Memorial Stadium. They also picked up a 23-13 semifinal victory over Lutcher in 2003 before losing to Amite in the finals, 21-14.
“This one will be the rubber match, for the time being anyhow,” said Cook. “Hopefully this won’t be our last (finals appearance) and I know it won’t be their last.”
Bragging rights will be in order for the winning coach in more ways than one. Each coach is attempting to win their third state championship.
Cook guided the 1989 Crowley Gents to the Class AAA title with a 17-15 victory over Wossman before leading Notre Dame to the AAA title in 2000 with a 14-6 victory over Wossman.
Detillier is perfect in state title game appearances, winning both times his Bulldogs have reached the finals- first defeating Notre Dame, 15-7, in 2003 and Independence, 27-7, in 2006.
This year marks the eighth time a Cook-led team has advanced to the state title game. He made three appearances as head coach at Crowley High and this is his fifth trip at the helm of Notre Dame.
In his 34 years of coaching, the Rayne native has made the playoffs 22 times and has compiled an overall record of 239-68. In his 11 years at Notre Dame, he is 139-23.