Barbe breezed to a win during its season opener against city rival LaGrange, but the Bucs will face a whole different beast this week in St. Thomas More and one of the best quarterbacks in the state.
St. Thomas More (1-0), ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, has played in four consecutive Division II state championship games. The Cougars won it all in 2016 and lost to University Lab 55-46 in the final last year.
Barbe was ranked as high as No. 6 last season but is not receiving votes in this year's Louisiana Sports Writers poll. A win over the Cougars could change that, but only if the Bucs can stop Cougars senior quarterback Caleb Holstein, who is committed to Harvard. Holstein threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns last week in a 28-7 win over Holy Cross and had more than 3,800 yards and 47 touchdowns in 13 games last season.
STM also has a wide receiver committed to Louisiana-Lafayette in Jack Bech (8 receptions, 89 yards, TD) and a tight end headed to McNeese State in Luke Howard.
"Everybody stands out," Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera said. "They have the whole package offensively and defensively. We are going to have to get a pass rush and not give him all day to throw. Hopefully we can cover their receivers. We are going to have our hands full, but we are looking forward to it and it is going to be a good test for us."
Cutrera said the Bucs' (1-0) best defense against Holstein and crew may be its offense. Quarterback Davis Meche (14-18-0, 273 yards, 2 TDs) was impressive in his first start last week and running back Tylan Cesar accounted for four touchdowns.
"Hopefully we can keep the ball and move it," Cutrera said. "It all starts up front offensively and defensively.
"We have to make sure we are getting better each week. We need to protect the football and score when we get a chance."
Sam Houston at LaGrange
Sam Houston (1-0) had trouble containing Washington-Marion quarterback Devin Williams and will face another mobile quarterback in LaGrange's (0-1) Quintorus Jones tonight at John J. Mims Stadium. Jones had two rushing touchdowns last week and threw for 111 yards.
"I think that it is a lot of the same thing," Sam Houston head coach Chad Paulk said. "They have a quarterback that can scramble in the backfield and ran for a lot of yards against Barbe.
"(Jones) can throw the ball a long way. He is an athlete back there that can really hurt you if you can't contain him. Fortunately we saw it last week and we able to fix some issues. We are hoping our kids will be more prepared for that moment."
Sam Houston senior quarterback Kyle Bartley threw for 244 yards and a touchdown last week, and Paulk said he's looking to exploit the Gators' secondary.
"They are going to keep some guys in the box and do their best they can to hold upfront," Paulk said. "They were able to do that against Barbe for the most part. Their secondary is something that we would definitely like to attack."
For the second consecutive week, Sulphur (0-1) will face a top-10 team. This time it is Notre Dame, No. 1 in Class 2A, which has not lost a regular-season game since 2014. The game will be played at Rayne High School.
At Wampus Cat Stadium, Leesville (1-0), No. 1 in Class 4A, will host Lake Charles College Prep (1-0), which is No. 7 in Class 3A. LCCP knocked off Class 5A Sulphur 21-18 last week, while the Wampus Cats got in an overtime shootout with Jennings and won 48-41.
In Class 3A, Jennings (0-1) will travel to play defending state champion Eunice (1-0).