(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, December 01, 2012 12:21 AM
The Barbe Bucs are headed to the state championship game for the first time in 32 years after beating longtime nemesis West Monroe 49-48 Friday night in a Class 5A semifinals.
The Bucs won in the most unimaginable fashion, scoring 21 points in the final 2:11 to cap a 27-point fourth-quarter comeback. Trey Quinn recovered an onside kick — the second successful one in a row for the Bucs — with 1:21 left and scored the winning touchdown on a 2-yard pass from Kennon Fontenot with 13 seconds left.
Barbe will face undefeated Archbishop Rummel (13-0), a 17-14 winner over Mandeville, in the championship game. West Monroe had eliminated Barbe in each of the past two seasons and seven times since 1997.
Barbe (13-1) trailed 48-21 after West Monroe quarterback Michael Mims scored his fifth touchdown on a 75-yard on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Bucs responded quickly, covering 80 yards in 46 seconds and scoring on a 25-yard pass from Fontenot to Courtney Galentine to pull within 48-28. After both teams had empty possessions, West Monroe (11-3) fumbled at the Barbe 40. Bucs defensive back Nick Abshire scooped up the fumble and returned it 36 yards to the Rebels 29. On the next play, Fontenot threw a 29-yard strike to Desean Smith to make the score 48-35 with 2:11 left.
The Bucs tried an onside kick and safety Khoury Kraus recovered at the Rebels 41. Five plays later, Fontenot connected with Smith again for a 10-yard touchdown with 1:23 remaining, narrowing the deficit to 48-42.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bucs again kicked the ball toward the right sideline and Quinn recovered. The Bucs used six plays to drive to the Rebels 2, where Fontenot found Quinn near the front pylon on the right sideline for a touchdown. Bucs kicker Jamie McGee drilled the extra point to give the Bucs their lone lead of the game — the only one that mattered. Mason Claudel recovered an attempted West Monroe lateral on the ensuing kickoff.
“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. West Monroe was not rolling over. They are the defending state champion and their program sets the standard in Class 5A. I always believed, our kids don’t quit. We always think we have a chance.”
Fontenot went 24 of 35 for 423 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. In last year’s quarterfinal-round loss to the Rebels, Fontenot threw four interceptions.
“On the onside kicks, we executed it well,” Cutrera said. “It never works like that in practice. We do work on it; it never works that good to get two like that. It was unreal. We did not turn the ball over, which was great, and finally got them to turn it over, then converted.”
The Bucs recovered two fumbles and scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive both times. West Monroe ran for 546 yards in the game and punted once. Mims ran for 295 yards and scored four first-half touchdowns to stake the Rebels to the big lead.
“Our defense, it does not look good at times, but they make stops and found a way to get some turnovers,” Cutrera said.
Quinn caught eight passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were going to try to find (Quinn),” Cutrera said of the winning touchdown.
“Kennon made a great throw and the offensive line did a great job to give him time,” Quinn said. “I have an easy job when everyone else does their job.”
Cutrera was a junior safety on the other Barbe team to reach the championship game. The 1980 team lost to East St. John in Cowboy Stadium in the title game.
“It is an unbelievable feeling (to be back in the championship game),” Cutrera said. “We told the kids, it is a feeling that is hard to explain, but one you will never forget.”
• Ticket prices for general admission is $13 in advance or $16 the week of the game. General admission includes all sections of the plaza level including the bunker section.
• Fans can purchase reserved seats in the second level. The tickets are $16 in advance and $19 the week of the game. The entire level is reserved.
• The final ticket option is suite level tickets, which are $25 per ticket.
• Tickets are on sale to the public and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s Box Office. Participating teams will have advance tickets for sale at their schools the week of the game.
Archbishop Rummel 17, Mandeville 14
Barbe 49, West Monroe 48
No. 1 Rummel vs. No. 2 Barbe, 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
Karr 28, Holy Cross 16
Neville 28, McDonogh #35 8
Karr vs. Neville, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7
Notre Dame 16, East Feliciana 14
Parkview Baptist 49, Livonia 6
Notre Dame vs. Parkview Baptist, 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8
Evangel Christian 52, University 45
John Curtis 55, Springfield 0
Evangel Christian vs. John Curtis, Noon Saturday, Dec. 8
Haynesville 36, West St. John 35
Ouachita Christian 35, Kentwood 0
Haynesville vs. Ouachita Christian, 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7