Bucs, Gators itchin’ to get hittin’, back after hurricane hiatus

Published 10:07 am Friday, September 3, 2021

It has been a long two years since the Barbe Bucs and LaGrange Gators have played a varsity football game.

Both have battled back from the destruction of Hurricanes Laura and Delta last season, plus a major freeze and flood, and will open the season tonight at the Gators’ John J. Mims Stadium.

“It feels good to be back on the field, especially with my teammates,” LaGrange senior right tackle Za’vyreon Tezeno said. “It has been a little hectic, but it is starting to come together. We have to get our minds set for the game for it to click in our heads, the wheels to start turning and for us to get the win.”

Email newsletter signup

Barbe senior offensive lineman Drew Mitten said he’s ready to play in front of big crowds again.

“I think that it is a great opportunity to show scouts what we have this year,” Mitten said. “We have a pretty good team this year.”

Fellow Buc senior offensive lineman Kamden Broussard said the wait was tough, but his team is ready.

“I feel great,” Broussard said. “I am ready to get on the field and play Barbe football. We have been doing a lot of practicing.

“In September (2020) when we learned we wouldn’t have a season is when we started getting ready (for 2021). I was ready to get on the field.”

LaGrange has prepared for its season opener since January. Head coach Marrico Wilson said the excitement has been huge leading up to today’s game.

“We started back in January trying to prepare for the upcoming season,” Wilson said. “With it being game day, it is really starting to hit. Our kids are talking about it, teachers are talking about it and people calling and texting my phone asking how much are tickets.

“It is real now that we are actually about to play a game on Friday. It has been exciting the whole week trying to calm these kids down to get ready for this game. It is a big game with them being crosstown and Class 5A.”

Less than 5 miles separate the schools. It has been more than 650 days since either has played a regular-season game.

“We finally get to play a 48-minute game and under the lights,” Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera said. “Last week we got to play half a game.

“We realized the speed of the game was different on Friday nights. There are still a lot of questions to be answered, I am sure on both teams. But the key to every game is usually turnovers and how well you play up front.”

Wilson said he wants to win up front and hopes to use that strategy to stop Barbe running back Tylan Ceasar.

“In any game, you have to win the battle up front, and that is the offensive and defensive line,” Wilson said. “We have to win that battle.

“The (Ceasar) kid is good, and we have to tackle well. You have to win most of your games in trenches.”