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(Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)<br>

(Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Gators host third-ranked Bucs today in season opener

Last Modified: Thursday, August 30, 2012 9:36 PM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

Drama has been missing from the Barbe-LaGrange rivalry as of late, with the Bucs winning 11 consecutive games in the series, including a 61-31 victory last year.

The game will be televised live by CST, replacing the originally scheduled Plaquemine-Brusly game, which was postponed due to Hurricane Isaac.

Barbe enters the game ranked third in Class 5A by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. LaGrange hopes to make the broadcast an exciting one.

“Each year we go in with the approach that this is our year,” said head coach Jules Sullen. “We have a lot of kids back that understand how long it has been since we have beaten Barbe. The biggest thing is that Barbe is one of the premier teams in the state; they do a great job. No matter the outcome, this game gives us a chance to learn where we are at, see what we need to work on.”

Sullen said missing practice time this week due to the storm will not make things any easier.

“I kind of feel like we are behind the 8-ball,” he said. “We have not had a lot of practice since the jamboree, so we will have to go with what we know and hope we put the guys in the right position, then hope they are able to make plays.”

The Gators will be led by running back Robert Leday, who averaged 102 yards per game last season, and receivers Nick Pitre and Freddie Williams.

Barbe returns a host of offensive starts, led by quarterback Kennon Fontenot, tight end Desean Smith and receiver Trey Quinn.

Bucs second-year head coach Mike Cutrera said his team is not backing down from high expectations.

“We enjoy those expectations, that is what the kids play for; they love competing,” he said. “ We would have liked to have gotten more practice in, but we feel as we prepared as we can be for our first game.”

Cutrera said the Bucs will have to play well to keep their streak in the series going.

“The rivalry isn’t as big because we are not in the same district and do not share a stadium anymore, but it is still a tough game,” he said. “We still prepare for it the same way. We have to play our best. If we don’t, bad things can happen.”

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