Cowboys' season finale against Cardinals hardly meaningless

By By Alex Hickey / American Press

McNeese State (6-4, 3-3 Southland) lost its shot at the postseason with last week’s 31-24 loss at Texas-San Antonio, but that

does not make tonight’s season finale against Lamar meaningless.

For seniors, it’s a chance to shine under the Cowboy Stadium lights one final time.

“It feels kind of awkward,” said senior

defensive tackle Pat Williams. “It’s just very different. It definitely

means a lot.

It’s the last home game with all our family and friends supporting

us. We definitely want to go out with a bang, especially

against Lamar.”

For underclassmen, it’s about winning for the guys who showed them the ropes.

“For the people that’s coming back, we know we have to finish on a strong note giving our seniors a win as they go out the

door and show how much they mean to us,” said junior wide receiver Diontae Spencer.

For everyone in blue-and-gold, it’s a chance to continue the subjugation of their upstart rivals from Beaumont. Lamar is 0-2

against the Cowboys since restarting its program in 2010, and has not won in Lake Charles since 1982.

“I got to participate in the

(UL-Lafayette) rivalry in 2007, and that was very big for us,” said

offensive lineman Miguel

Gauthreaux, who is playing his final game after six years in the

program. “That was always a big scrum (in the past) between

Lamar, McNeese and UL. To be able to experience both of those

rivalries, it’s been huge. You see the electric crowds that

come out to Cowboy Stadium.”

It is certainly a game of great

importance to Matt Viator, who looks to keep the upper hand in bringing

in recruits from Southeast

Texas.

“It’s important to me,” Viator said.

“It changes the living room conversation, I don’t think there’s any

question about that.

We still think this is a great program. I’m not going to say

anything bad about Lamar; I don’t negatively recruit. But like

any sport — men’s basketball, women’s basketball — we want to have

the upper hand over them when we go into Southeast Texas.

That’s fun to have. Not that I’d ever mention it.”

The Cardinals (4-7, 1-5) enter the game coming off their first Southland win this year, a 34-24 defeat of Nicholls State.

That win only further stokes Lamar’s competitive fire for a game it sees as the biggest on the schedule.

“We’re very close in proximity,” said Lamar coach Ray Woodard. “We both have a lot of players from the (Golden) Triangle.

A lot of them played high school ball with or against each other.

“Personally, that’s my old neighborhood (by Cowboy Stadium), so people are giving me a hard time. It just makes for a great

rivalry. It’s been (nearly) three years since we’ve played in Lake Charles and I’m excited about going back there.”