(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, December 01, 2012 9:36 PM
Right after he threw the last of his 35 passes Friday night, Kennon Fontenot threw up his arms in celebration.
His 2-yard winning toss had yet to have been caught by trusty receiver Trey Quinn, but Fontenot already knew the outcome.
Barbe’s junior quarterback had led his team too far back to be stopped 2 yards shy of his destiny. At that moment he knew what the crowd had yet to learn, that this game was over.
“I know Trey is going to make that catch,” Fontenot said.
The crowd wasn’t so sure. There was a split second of stilled silence as the play took place. Then, as Quinn gobbled in the toss the stadium erupted in crazy euphoria.
Barbe had finally beaten West Monroe, rallying from 27 points down in the fourth quarter and 20 back in the final 2:11. The Bucs were going to the Superdome after a wild and thrilling 49-48 comeback victory that was still the talk of the town Saturday.
Barbe never led until it mattered most, finally taking the lead on the Fontenot-to-Quinn pass with 13 seconds remaining.
“It’s just crazy,” said senior tight end Desean Smith.
A good portion of the overflow crowd had left early, feeling Barbe’s Class 5A state playoff run was once again over before the championship game. They didn’t know what the Bucs believed all along, that with this team nothing is never over.
For this team, as long as there is time on the clock there is opportunity in hand.
“This is the way we play, the way we practice,” Smith said. “We practice hard. We never quit in practice and we will never quit in a game. Not this team.”
Maybe not, but things sure looked bad.
“It was bleak,” said Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera.
Bleak is an understatement.
With 5 minutes left Barbe was down 48-28 and West Monroe had the ball. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Rebels averaged just over 12 yards every time they ran the ball.
Not only did the game seem over, but it didn’t even look like the Bucs would get the ball back.
“You win some and you lose some, and sometimes you give one away,” Rebels head coach Don Shows told the Monroe Star-News.
One man’s giveaway is another man’s takeaway.
“Good things happen when you believe,” Smith said.
Well, all the Bucs must have believed because a lot of good things happened to them in the final minutes.
Fontenot, who finished with six touchdown passes, was the biggest good thing to happen. He found a way to make the plays that lifted Barbe, but he got a lot of help.
First the Bucs stripped West Monroe tailback Segrick Williams of the ball and jumped on the fumble to start the rally. Then the Bucs recovered not one but two onside kicks just to have a chance pulling off the shocker.
That after Rebels kicker Zach Alexander opened the door slightly when he missed the last of his seven extra-point kicks early in the fourth quarter.
“I love our kicker,” Fontenot said. “He works on those kicks every day.”
Jamie McGee is that kicker, and his two perfectly placed boots were a thing of beauty to Bucs followers.
“We work really hard on special teams,” Cutrera said. “That is a big part of our team.”
As Barbe continued to attack, suddenly West Monroe looked lost. The Rebels defense allowed Bucs receivers to run open in the secondary when one play would have ended the game.
Instead, it was Barbe that made all the plays and lives for one more game.