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Barbe fans storm the field after the Bucs beat West Monroe in a semifinal game last season. (American Press Archives)

Barbe fans storm the field after the Bucs beat West Monroe in a semifinal game last season. (American Press Archives)

West Monroe, Barbe looking forward to Friday’s rematch

Last Modified: Monday, September 16, 2013 9:01 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

As Barbe players and fans celebrated wildly on the turf at Bucs Stadium, a group of Rebels walked slowly toward their bus, shocked into silence.

One man’s comeback is another man’s collapse.

So it was on that chilly but clear final night of November last fall, when the perfect storm struck Lake Charles and sent Barbe to New Orleans.

As for West Monroe, those Rebels were sent wobbling home. It would take more than the three-hour bus ride to wipe away the horror of the final two minutes and 11 seconds that saw their dream of a Class 5A championship go down in flames.

In fact, they still haven’t gotten over it.

Their players and coaches are pointing to this Friday’s rematch as a chance at some payback, though nothing will ever take away the joy Barbe faithful enjoyed that night.

The state semifinal game between the second-seeded Bucs and No. 3 Rebels had been a classic tale of power besting speed. Barbe’s defense, try as it might to stack the line, could not stop West Monroe’s power running attack.

The Bucs magical season had looked to run out of trips when West Monroe quarterback Michael Mims scored his fifth touchdown of the night, this time with a 75-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Barbe found itself down 48-21 after that and folks on the home side began to head for their cars.

A few moments later West Monroe coaches would take off their headsets, slap each other high fives and leave the press box to celebrate the final moments with their players.

But these Bucs still had a few tricks up their sleeves. Just don’t ask them how.

“I’m speechless,” said quarterback Kennon Fontenot at the time while he was being tackled by his own fans. “I can’t tell you how we did it, I just knew we could do it. I really don’t know what to say.”

Not many people did.

What did happen after the final Mims score was amazing.

First came a long scoring drive to make things interesting, if not set the tone for the rest of the night.

Then a fumble minutes later gave them another opening.

After that, all heck broke loose.

There was a quarterback, Kennon Fontenot, running for his life but still finding open receivers.

There was not one but two on-side kick recoveries by the Bucs.

There were several West Monroe defensive lineman gasping for air as they tried to stop what had become the unstoppable Barbe offense.

Finally, there was Trey Quinn in the end zone, clutching the football with just 13 seconds remaining, the proud holder of the game-winning touchdown.

Quinn’s two-yard grab capped a 28-point fourth quarter but more shockingly ended a run of 21 points in the final 2:11.

“It is just unbelievable the way the kids played,” said Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera. “The coaches kept them in the game and the kids kept battling. If there is time on the clock, our kids are going to play, it doesn’t matter what the score is. We are going to play to the end. We did and found a way to win. Our kids’ will was strong.

“I always believed, our kids don’t quit. We always think we have a chance.”

The Bucs know they got a little help along the way.

“The man upstairs came through for us tonight,” said tight end Desean Smith, who is now playing at LSU.

Making the win even sweeter was the fact that it came against West Monroe, which had seven times before knocked Barbe from the playoffs.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than knocking off West Monroe,” said Fontenot, who finished 24 of 35 for 423 yards and five touchdowns.

Mims led the Rebels with 24 carries for 295 yards.

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