Last Modified: Friday, December 07, 2012 10:37 PM
The Barbe Bucs will finally take the field tonight in search of their first state championship.
A week of hoopla and fanfare behind them, the Bucs (13-1) will get down to the business at hand at 8 p.m., when the Class 5A championship game against undefeated Archbishop Rummel (13-0) kicks off in the Superdome.
The Bucs will be in the championship game for the first time since 1980, when they lost to East St. John. Rummel is also making its second title game appearance, with the other coming in a 2009 loss to West Monroe.
Barbe had a day at the Superdome on Friday, taking a team picture and having a short practice in the afternoon before watching the Class 4A championship game from the stands.
Bucs head coach Mike Cutrera said the team is ready to play despite a busy week of pep rallies, send-offs and interviews.
“For the players, it has been a normal week,” Cutrera said. “We tried to keep everything as possible. We did practice at McNeese to get used to the turf. Getting everything ready and preparing to stay overnight got hectic at times, but we had a good support group that was able to help and we are ready to go.”
Cutrera said the Bucs will have a worthy foe in the Raiders, who allow 10.7 points per game while scoring 39.2 per game.
“They are very well-coached,” Cutrera said. “Coach (Jay) Roth does a very good job, he and his staff. Their players are always in the right place at the right time and they play hard.”
The Raiders defense is led by a pair of star linebackers, Terrance Jones and Michael Kennedy.
Cutrera said this year’s Rummel team is similar to the squads that split a pair of regular-season games with Barbe in 2009-10.
“Both of those were tough ballgames,” he said. “They came down here and beat us on a last-second field goal, then we went up there and held on for a win. Both games were close and they are impressive. They are physical, sound in what they do and play the game right.”
Quarterback Damian Williams leads the offense. Williams has completed 85 of 134 passes for 1,708 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions. Williams has also run 144 times for 820 yards and 10 touchdowns despite being limited by an early season hamstring injury.
In Rummel’s semifinal win over Mandeville, Williams threw for 98 yards and a touchdown and ran for 81 and a touchdown.
“He is a very good athlete that can run and throw the football,” Cutrera said. “He does an excellent job of running the offense and it is going to be a challenge for our defense, but I like the way our defense has been playing.”
Barbe’s offense 41.2 points per game and is led by quarterback Kennon Fontenot (4,119 passing yards, 45 TDs), receiver Trey Quinn (2,094 receiving yards, 26 TDs) and running back Courtney Galentine (1,058 rushing yards, 719 receiving yards, 20 TDs).
• LAST WEEK: Barbe (13-1) beat West Monroe 49-48; Archbishop Rummel (13-0) beat Mandeville 17-14.
• RADIO: KLCL (1470-AM), KJEF (1290-AM), KZWA (104.9FM), www.cajunradio.com
• OUR TAKE: Barbe’s high-flying offense has not been held to fewer than 24 points and has scored 94 points over the last two weeks.Rummel has given more than 14 points three times and allows fewer than 11 points per game. In their win over West Monroe, the Bucs had no turnovers on offense and the defense produced two, including one to spark the 27-point fourth quarter comeback. The special teams also produced a pair of extra possessions by recovering onside kicks. The Barbe defense gives up points and yards, but has shown a knack for making big plays. Against a Rummel defense that is likely to produce at least a few stops, the Bucs may need a few more possessions to produce its usual point total. A positive turnover ratio and using special teams to win the field position battle will help Barbe accentuate its strength, its explosive offense. In its lone loss this season, Barbe scored 35 points, but gave up three turnovers while only forcing one. WORTH NOTING: Each school is 0-1 in state championship games, Barbe losing in the 1980 Class 4A title game, Rummel in the 2009 5A title game.