Last Modified: Saturday, November 03, 2012 11:07 PM
Playoff football pairings will be announced later today, with Barbe in the best position to end the area’s five-year drought in championship game appearances.
The Bucs (9-1) should be among the top four seeds in Class 5A and are hitting on all cylinders offensively. Barbe scored 106 points over the final two regular-season games, capping things off with 56 points in three quarters in a win over Lafayette to close out the season. Quarterback Kennon Fontenot threw for 449 yards and seven touchdowns and running back/receiver Courtney Galentine had 253 yards receiving.
The Bucs’ arsenal of skill players includes the state’s leading receiver, Trey Quinn, and a matchup nightmares in tight end Desean Smith and Galentine, both of whom are effective when split out as receivers. It is a given that the Bucs are going to score points.
The defense sometimes gives them up as well, but the Bucs have shown they can win the shootout-type games. What the Bucs will be hoping for today is to end up on the opposite side of the bracket from longtime nemesis West Monroe, and that the results fall their way so they can be at home for the semifinal round. The Bucs have the talent to finally reach the Superdome, but getting a few breaks along the way won’t hurt, either.
Elsewhere, it appears that LaGrange and Washington-Marion have a chance to host first-round games in Class 4A. The Gators have won five of their last six games, dominating Washington-Marion in a showdown game Friday night, and have a solid defense.
Like Barbe, the Gators have a plethora of offensive weapons, led by running backs Tyler Guillory and Robert Leday and athletes such as Freddie Williams and Nick Pitre who play a variety of positions. The Gators are strong along the defensive line and feature a game-changing defensive player in safety/linebacker Tirell Wellmaker, who intercepted two passes and scored two touchdowns against the Charging Indians.
The Gators are often their own worst enemy, with a habit of committing double-digit penalties. That is going to be tough to get away with from here on out, with the level of competition rising each week. If the Gators limit the mistakes, they can be a tough out.
Washington-Marion has played the last two games without linebacker/quarterback Melvin Jones, whose return for the first week of the playoffs is questionable. The Charging Indians could not match the intensity of physical play of LaGrange, and will need to regain some confidence this week, when they will be playing a closely matched opponent in the first round.
Projections from kenramsey.com have the Charging Indians as the No. 15 seed, which would have them playing at home in the bi-district round. Last year’s playoff game against Lutcher produced an overflow crowd and good atmosphere. Coming off the LaGrange loss and with Jones’ status still in doubt, W-M could use a boost from a week of home-field advantage. The top 16 seeds in each class play at home in the bi-district round of the playoffs.
DeRidder will be returning to the playoffs after closing with three consecutive wins to earn a share of the District 4-4A championship. The Dragons will be hitting the road in the first round, but picked up a pair of crucial district wins on the road against LaGrange and St. Louis.
The Saints appear to have earned the final playoff spot with its win at Beau Chene on Friday night. A playoff berth would extend the school’s record streak to nine years.
In Class 3A, Jennings and Westlake are projected to earn home games. Each team has enough explosiveness on offense and playoff experience to be dangerous opponents in the first few rounds. Iowa will be on the road, but with a tough defense and a game-breaker in running back Chaz Key, will be a good bet to spring a first-round upset.
The long grind of District 4-2A play produced co-champions in Welsh and Rosepine and a tie for third with another pair of solid teams in Kinder and Lake Arthur.
Should the Ramsey projections hold up, that quartet would be playing each other in the first round, with Kinder visiting Rosepine and Lake Arthur visiting Welsh in another installment of the fierce rivalry. Rosepine and Welsh won the regular-season matchups, by four and seven points, respectively.
In Class 1A, Basile and Oberlin are forecast to receive two of the final three home games, with Elton slated to go on the road. Basile and Oberlin have been winning with defense and strong running games. The Indians have enough skill position talent to come back with a win.
Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org