Notebook: The most exciting ending I never saw

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Maybe you were like me Friday night.

Maybe you were driving around Carlyss, killing time while waiting for the football game on the radio to come to an end.

A football game that wasn’t on TV, thus was only available on the radio or in person.

Yes, maybe you were like me and, with 11 minutes left in the game, walked out of Barbe’s historic 49-48 comeback win over

West Monroe that propelled them to the second state championship game in their history and their first in the Superdome.

This wasn’t entirely my fault. When West Monroe went ahead by 27 points and Barbe was completely unable to stop their running

game, the outcome seemed inevitable.

When West Monroe scored on a 75-yard run to go ahead by four touchdowns, my buddy Steve looked at me and said, “Let’s go.”

I didn’t argue. After all, it appeared a

foregone conclusion that West Monroe — the mighty Rebels and their

eight state championships

— were headed to another title game.

But Barbe found a way to do it without dealing with West Monroe’s running game. The Bucs got the ball back on a fumble and

kept it away from the Rebels on two recovered onside kicks.

While I cruised Carlyss, the announcer said over the radio something to the effect of, “four minutes until Barbe’s season

ends.”

A little over two minutes later his tune had changed, “a minute and 17 seconds until one of these teams’ season ends.”

I covered high school sports for 12 years, and that was the most exciting ending I’ve ever seen. Check that: It would have

been the most exciting ending I’d ever seen.

As I walked in to the game, I saw Lake Charles Deputy Police Chief Mark Kraus and told him, “This is the first high school

football game I’ve been to in two years.”

I was excited. I’ve been to plenty of

semifinal games (including a cold-weather game between these two teams

in West Monroe

in which us foreign sports writers were relegated to the far

corner of the end zone to freeze) and I knew this standing-room-only

crowd was going to be a great atmosphere.

It turned out to be. I just didn’t stick around to find that out, leaving me to search for a video of what I paid to see in

person.

I’ll tell you what, Bucs. I’m not particularly superstitions, but I’ll do you a favor Saturday night: Early in the fourth

quarter I’ll get up and walk out of the Superdome and leave you to win that state title you’ve waited so long for.