Gazzolo: One more stop on Barbe's wild ride

By By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Finally, it is time.

After years of teasing and coming close, Barbe is finally playing again for the championship. Finally playing on center stage.

It seems only fitting that Barbe’s season should finish one way or another in a city like New Orleans, where the party never

ends.

For only a wild town could be the final resting place for this wild season.

And this group of Bucs will have absolutely no problem fitting into the circus-like atmosphere that is the Big Easy. In fact

they will in all likelihood soak it all up.

That’s because this is a team that lives on the edge and loves the spotlight. Has for the past two years, but is also one

that knows when it’s time for business.

They are not your usual high school powerhouse, one that plays close to the vest. Those guys love to run it up the middle

and play killer defense.

Maybe that’s old school, or winning by the book. These Bucs, they have torn up that book and are rewriting their own.

Barbe enters the Class 5A championship tonight more like a high-wire act. One false step in either direction would lead to

a mighty fall. Yet here they are, still standing.

This season has been one thrilling roller-coaster ride, with enough twists, turns and flips to churn even the least sensitive

of stomachs.

They have survived 2-point conversions, monster comebacks, won by a last-second field goal and most recently an unthinkably

huge deficit. And, still here they are, standing center stage with just one more time around the track to take it all.

“We would not like it any other way,” proclaimed senior tight end Desean Smith.

He shouted those words just moments after the Bucs had stunningly found a way to knock off West Monroe in the semifinals on

Nov. 30.

The 49-48 win was a perfect illustration of the Bucs’ season, a genuine thrill ride in itself.

Scoring three touchdowns in the final 2:11 to defeat the defending champs may have seemed impossible to most who had watched

the Bucs get dominated for the first 45 minutes and 47 seconds of the game, but to those in Barbe’s huddle — and on their

sideline — it was just another way of pulling off a victory.

“We believed all along and we never gave up,” said Smith. “That’s what we do.”

It will leave more than a few of their fans gasping for air, or clutching their chests, but it seems to be the way this team

likes it.

For them, living on the edge means they got their opponent right where they want them.

“We just want a chance,” said quarterback Kennon Fontenot. “Just give us a chance.”

Doesn’t seem to matter just how dismal and slim that chance is, the Bucs are ready.

The other night, as West Monroe led

48-28 and had the ball with the clock ticking under five minutes, these

guys claim they

still believed. Many who have not watched this show the last two

years didn’t, electing to leave the stadium early. The true

believers stayed and witnessed a comeback for the ages.

“We knew we could do it,” Fontenot said.

He and his mates made true believers out of just about everybody on hand, even the West Monroe coaching staff. The defending

state champs had become just the latest to get sick watching this ride. They actually got a little sicker than most.

They became downright ill when Fontenot hit Trey Quinn with the winning score with just 13 seconds remaining, proving these

guys knew what they were talking about.

So, if you are going to watch this team try to pull off one more upset, this time against top-seeded Archbishop Rummel, then

you had better not give up on them early. Not after what we have witnessed this season. You never know what these Bucs are

capable of accomplishing.

And one more thing, if you are going to complete this ride make sure you buckle your seat belts, for you know it will be wild.

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Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com