Last Modified: Thursday, September 06, 2012 5:49 PM
Reading too much into the opening game can be foolish, but an eventful first week produced a number of eye-opening performances that provided hope for a number of area teams as the season moves forward.
At the Barbe-LaGrange game, the Gators showed enough in a 29-14 loss to prove that their strong finish to last season was no fluke. Last year, the Gators overcame a slow start to win their first four district games and sneak into the Class 4A playoffs.
Against Class 5A Barbe, LaGrange played the Bucs even through the first half, and could have had a chance to win if it had been able to finish drives. Three times the Gators drove inside the Bucs 30-yard line but did not produce any points.
On a positive note, the Gators held one of the state’s best offenses to eight points in the first half, and new quarterback Quinton Barry made an impressive debut. The Gators have a few more chances to get a statement win, with games against Class 5A Sulphur this week, and Class 4A powers O.P. Walker and Northside in Weeks 4 and 5.
As for the Bucs, the new-look defense answered some questions. The line produced a couple of sacks on key third- and fourth-down plays, and the Bucs produced key stops in the red zone during the first half when the offense had yet to find their rhythm. The game swung on a Barbe fumble recovery early in the second half, which set up a short scoring drive to give the Bucs the lead for good.
The Bucs will face diverse challenges the next two weeks as Washington-Marion and Evangel visit. The Charging Indians feature Melvin Jones, a powerful runner at quarterback, while the Eagles annually feature one of the state’s best passing games. Good showings will help the new starters gain confidence before the district season starts.
In Sulphur, the Tors’ quarterback search appears to be settled after Kale Breaux made a smashing debut with 293 yards and three touchdown passes in a win over St. Thomas More. With a veteran receiving corps that will also feature the other candidate for the quarterback job, Seth Bohannon, and a multidimensional big-play threat in Brian Walker, the Tors have the makings of an explosive offensive if Breaux can maintain a high level of play.
After an impressive season on the mound last year as a pitcher on the baseball team, Breaux has shown he can handle the spotlight. In a district that features outstanding offenses at Barbe, Acadiana and Comeaux, the Tors will need to continue putting big point totals on the board if they are to challenge for the district crown.
At Washington-Marion, head coach Freddie Harrison is trying to replace tailbacks Osha Jackson and Julius Fontenot, who combined to run for more than 1,700 yards last season. Sophomore Rawling Guillory gained 94 yards and scored a touchdown in an opening-week win over Peabody. Consistent performances like that will help take some of the pressure off Jones, who picked up where he left off last season with 253 yards and three touchdowns rushing.
Iowa, Jennings and St. Louis also must replace their top two backs, and all three teams saw some good things in Week 1. The Yellow Jackets ran for 218 yards, with 115 coming from quarterback Austin Theriot, and running back Chaz Key scored on a kickoff return in addition to rushing for 58 yards. Jennings got a pair of touchdowns from running back Jarquis Brown in a road win at Cecilia and St. Louis used the committee approach to good success in its win over Sam Houston.
The players mentioned showed what they can do. The question is, How often they can do it over the course of a season?
Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org