Last Modified: Thursday, November 29, 2012 8:53 PM
The foe, stakes and setting will be familiar when Barbe hosts West Monroe in a Class 5A semifinal game tonight. The Bucs will be hoping for a different ending.
Seven times since 1997, the No. 2 Bucs (12-1) and No. 3 Rebels (11-2) have met in the playoffs. West Monroe has won each time, including a 21-12 win in the quarterfinal round last season. The Rebels have ended the last two Barbe seasons and also beat Barbe the last time the Bucs were in the semifinals in 2008.
Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera said he is not concerned with the past.
“This is a chance to play for a state championship, which is what we all play for,” he said. “This is why we always play a tough schedule, to prepare for games like this. This is a new year, a new set of kids. Our kids feel good and they are ready. I like the way our team plays. There is no quit, no panic. They just keep playing hard for 48 minutes.”
With a win, the Bucs will reach the state championship game for the second time and make its first appearance in the Superdome Classic. The Bucs lone championship game appearance came in 1980, when the championship games were played at home sites. Barbe lost 15-8 to East St. John at Cowboy Stadium.
The Bucs did play in the Superdome that year, beating John Ehret 15-14 in the semifinal round.
To get back to New Orleans, Barbe will need to rewrite what has become an all too common script when the Rebels show up.
Last year, the Bucs contributed to their demise with five turnovers and special teams miscues that allowed the Rebels to score on three short touchdown drives.
The Bucs overcame five turnovers in last week’s 45-35 win over Parkway. Cutrera said winning in spite of the miscues shows his team’s mental toughness.
“They are just competitive, they just worry about next play and do not dwell on the previous one,” he said.
Bucs quarterback Kennon Fontenot threw for 281 yards and ran for 78 yards in the win over Parkway. Receiver Trey Quinn caught 13 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns. Quinn needs 29 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for the season. Fontenot needs 299 passing yards to reach 4,000 for the season.
West Monroe advanced with a 34-14 win over Airline. The Rebels ran for 279 yards and threw for 235 in the game. The Rebels average 35.5 points per game and allow 14.5 per game. Barbe scores 41.2 per game and allows 24.4 per game.
Rebels head coach Don Shows was hospitalized after hitting his head on the turf after being run over by a player during the game. He was hospitalized for a concussion and bleeding on the brain and spent time in the intensive care unit before being released from the hospital Monday and returning to practice Tuesday, according to a Monroe newspaper.
Cutrera said the Rebels have a familiar look.
“What makes them so successful is the system they have, the kids they have,” he said. “They set the standard in Class 5A. This year’s team has the same blue print as every year. They are very fundamentally sound offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, Shows does a great job implementing the system and the kids do a great job executing it.”
Top seed Rummel (12-0) will play No. 13 Mandeville (10-2) in the other 5A semifinal.