Arceneaux: Barbe area's best bet to end drought

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

Playoff football pairings will be announced later today, with Barbe in the best position to end the area’s five-year drought

in championship game appearances.

The Bucs (9-1) should be among the top

four seeds in Class 5A and are hitting on all cylinders offensively.

Barbe scored 106

points over the final two regular-season games, capping things off

with 56 points in three quarters in a win over Lafayette

to close out the season. Quarterback Kennon Fontenot threw for 449

yards and seven touchdowns and running back/receiver Courtney

Galentine had 253 yards receiving.

The Bucs’ arsenal of skill players includes the state’s leading receiver, Trey Quinn, and a matchup nightmares in tight end

Desean Smith and Galentine, both of whom are effective when split out as receivers. It is a given that the Bucs are going

to score points.

The defense sometimes gives them up as

well, but the Bucs have shown they can win the shootout-type games. What

the Bucs will

be hoping for today is to end up on the opposite side of the

bracket from longtime nemesis West Monroe, and that the results

fall their way so they can be at home for the semifinal round. The

Bucs have the talent to finally reach the Superdome, but

getting a few breaks along the way won’t hurt, either.

Elsewhere, it appears that LaGrange and

Washington-Marion have a chance to host first-round games in Class 4A.

The Gators

have won five of their last six games, dominating

Washington-Marion in a showdown game Friday night, and have a solid

defense.

Like Barbe, the Gators have a plethora

of offensive weapons, led by running backs Tyler Guillory and Robert

Leday and athletes

such as Freddie Williams and Nick Pitre who play a variety of

positions. The Gators are strong along the defensive line and

feature a game-changing defensive player in safety/linebacker

Tirell Wellmaker, who intercepted two passes and scored two

touchdowns against the Charging Indians.

The Gators are often their own worst enemy, with a habit of committing double-digit penalties. That is going to be tough to

get away with from here on out, with the level of competition rising each week. If the Gators limit the mistakes, they can

be a tough out.

Washington-Marion has played the last two games without linebacker/quarterback Melvin Jones, whose return for the first week

of the playoffs is questionable. The Charging Indians could not match the intensity of physical play of LaGrange, and will

need to regain some confidence this week, when they will be playing a closely matched opponent in the first round.

Projections from kenramsey.com have the Charging Indians as the No. 15 seed, which would have them playing at home in the

bi-district round. Last year’s playoff game against Lutcher produced an overflow crowd and good atmosphere. Coming off the

LaGrange loss and with Jones’ status still in doubt, W-M could use a boost from a week of home-field advantage. The top 16

seeds in each class play at home in the bi-district round of the playoffs.

DeRidder will be returning to the

playoffs after closing with three consecutive wins to earn a share of

the District 4-4A

championship. The Dragons will be hitting the road in the first

round, but picked up a pair of crucial district wins on the

road against LaGrange and St. Louis.

The Saints appear to have earned the final playoff spot with its win at Beau Chene on Friday night. A playoff berth would

extend the school’s record streak to nine years.

In Class 3A, Jennings and Westlake are

projected to earn home games. Each team has enough explosiveness on

offense and playoff

experience to be dangerous opponents in the first few rounds. Iowa

will be on the road, but with a tough defense and a game-breaker

in running back Chaz Key, will be a good bet to spring a

first-round upset.

The long grind of District 4-2A play produced co-champions in Welsh and Rosepine and a tie for third with another pair of

solid teams in Kinder and Lake Arthur.

Should the Ramsey projections hold up,

that quartet would be playing each other in the first round, with Kinder

visiting Rosepine

and Lake Arthur visiting Welsh in another installment of the

fierce rivalry. Rosepine and Welsh won the regular-season matchups,

by four and seven points, respectively.

In Class 1A, Basile and Oberlin are

forecast to receive two of the final three home games, with Elton slated

to go on the

road. Basile and Oberlin have been winning with defense and strong

running games. The Indians have enough skill position talent

to come back with a win.

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Warren Arceneaux covers high school athletics. Email him at warceneaux@americanpress.com