Barbe wide receiver Trey Quinn. (American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 6:30 PM
It will be hard to top last year’s fun at Barbe. Hard yes, impossible no.
There is one thing left for an encore: win the state championship.
The Bucs (13-2) came close last year, leading the Class 5A championship game heading into the fourth quarter.
But in the end they were out muscled by Archbishop Rummel in the state’s title game.
It is hard to call a trip to the Superdome a disappointment, but for Barbe’s players it was. They had dreams of winning the state title after a miraculous comeback victory over West Monroe in the semifinals a week earlier.
And moments after their defeat, in the bowls of the Dome, the Bucs proclaimed their resolve for this year.
“We will be back,” said quarterback Kennon Fontenot. “You can count on it.”
Bravado in the face of disappointment, perhaps. But the Bucs believe they will return to the championship game and this time win it.
“Nothing less than winning the state championship is good enough,” said Fontenot. “That is what our goal is. We want to finish our career with the state championship.”
For a group of seniors that have been winners since Little League, it has become the expected. High expectations don’t worry them.
“It is up to us,” said senior wide receiver Trey Quinn. “We have played in a lot of big games so we are used to it.”
One thing is for sure, there will be no Rummel standing in the way. Barbe will play in the 5A nonselect playoffs, meaning they won’t lose to a private school this December.
“I think I like it but you won’t really know until it plays out in the fall,” said head coach Mike Cutrera. “I like the fact that more teams and more kids will get to experience the Dome. That is the good thing.”
For Barbe, a win inside the Dome is the only final piece to their puzzle.
“This is the last time I get to put on the pads with these guys and I want to win it all with them,” said Fontenot.
The 5-foot, 8-inch senior holds the keys to a face machine that is the Barbe spread offense. During their 13-2 runner-up campaign, Fontenot finished 260 of 395 for 4,294 yards and 47 touchdowns, all school single season records. He had another 663 yards on and threw just 12 interceptions while being named the American Press Offensive Player of the Year.
His already owns Barbe career records for attempts (630), competitions (406), yards (6,869) and touchdowns(72) to name a few. But he still hasn’t won that ring.
“I’m ready for another good year,” said Fontenot. “We will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Fontenot is only half of the number of OPY players back from Barbe. As a sophomore Trey Quinn burst onto the scene and won the honor. Now he joins Fontenot for a final run at a state championship.
Last year Quinn, who has committed to play at LSU next fall, also set all sorts of school records. He had 115 catches for 2,141 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also ran for 223 yards and had another 348 in punt returns and 410 in kick returns. He finished with 3,1111 yards of total offense.
In doing so, he won All-American honors is still being chased by a number of elite colleges. His career numbers are just as impressive. Again, all are school records.
Quinn has 249 catches for 4,552 yards and 47 touchdowns.
That puts him just 1,895 yards behind the high school career receiving record set by Dorial Green-Beckham (6,447) of Springfield, Mo.
“I want to focus on this year and this team,” said Quinn. “This is a special group of guys. We want to finish with that championship.”
Hard to believe that a team which returns just three starters on offense has such big goals, but it does. Nick Fontenot returns to anchor the offensive line. At 605, 265, the senior center is getting his own share of the attention.
But there are some holes to fill. Senior Elijah Collins replaces All-American tight end DeSean Smith, the team’s No. 2 target last year. And the running back, R.J. Fowlkes (602, 200) is also a new starter.
“We have confidence in those guys,” said Cutrera. “They all played a lot last year. They know what is expected.However, if the Bucs are to win a state title they must improve on defense this year. Last year they allowed 400 points over 26.7 points a game and gave up over 6,000 yards of total offense. That puts a lot of pressure on an offense which did manage to sore almost 42 points a game.
Still, when it came crunch time, Rummel was able to run the football, control the clock and keep Barbe’s offense on the sidelines.
“We were young on defense last year and we have a bunch of guys who learned from that experience,” said Cutrera.
The defensive line is all back for the Bucs. Jake Lee (6-2, 240) Bren Conaday (5-8, 230) and Thomas Richard (6-1, 215) all have learned from last year’s struggles. Corey Manuel is also back for his senior year at linebacker.
The safeties also return, including senior All-District player Nick Abshire, who is joined in the defensive backfield by Keelyn Jackson, a junior.
“We have to make plays, no question,” said Cutrera. “This group understands that. They have learned from last season’s loss. We are not too emotional. We are ready to put on the pads and get to work.”
It is a long journey that lies ahead for the Bucs with only one final destination that matters.
“We have to get back to the Dome and win,” said Kenon Fontenot.
Anthing else they will consider a bust.