Bucs, Tors — say no more, team struggles don’t diminish rivalry’s intensity

Published 10:00 am Friday, October 7, 2022

For 50 years, rivals Barbe and Sulphur have duked it out on the gridiron in many heated battles, especially in recent years.

The last three games have been decided by a combined eight points.

“It will probably be the same,” Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera said of tonight’s game. “It’s a big game for both schools.

“We are expecting their best. It is going to be a great high school football game.”

Sulphur (1-4, 0-4) won 35-31 last season thanks to an 80-yard touchdown reception by Kaden Blalock. Barbe (2-3, 0-3) stopped the Tors twice inside the 30-yard line in the fourth quarter in 2019 to win 24-21, and the Tors’ Trenton Lecoq blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt as time expired to preserve a 36-35 win in 2018.

“It’s Barbe, and our kids get up for that,” Sulphur head coach Chris Towery said. “It’s a big thing. We have that trophy over here, and they want to keep that trophy here.

“It is Barbe-Sulphur, and it means a lot to this community. We are telling our kids it’s Barbe-Sulphur, go play and get it done.”

The teams have played each other since 1972, including two games in 1984 and 1984. They didn’t play in 2005 or 2020 because of hurricanes. Barbe leads the series 31-19.

Barbe host Sulphur at 7 p.m. today.

Barbe starting quarterback Will McClain was injured three weeks ago, but Carson Stanford has stepped into the starting role to complete 39 of 62 passes for 370 yards and five TDs. Jamaal Levi has 26 catches for 355 yards and six TDs.

“We have seen improvements,” Cutrera said. “The kids have been working hard and we are expecting good things to happen.

“Hopefully it will turn out that way. Sulphur has weapons all over the field. They throw the ball around to every one of their receivers. It is going to be a challenge for our defense, which we are looking forward to. Hopefully we can move the ball on offense and keep their offense off the field.”

The Tors had a strong first half last week and owned a two-possession lead in the third quarter but ultimately lost 31-27 to Sam Houston.

Towery said he’s looking for a complete game from his team this week and more sustained drives.

“The will to prepare has to always be stronger than the will to win,” he said. “If you don’t have the will to prepare, the will to win doesn’t mean much of anything.

“We are trying to push the kids to finish better, be focused on execution, be focused on their jobs and to play hard. Last week, one of the things that was lost in the game, is our first drive on offense was 15 plays. That was a very impressive thing by our kids on offense. By driving the ball, keeping possession of the ball, and keeping care of the football, you keep Jamaal Levi off the field and a few of those other guys that can make plays. We need that again this week.”

Sulphur quarterback Gage Trahan has thrown for 741 yards and five TDs and has two receivers — Blalock (278 yards, TD) and Jonathan Hopkins Jr. (202 yards, 2 TD) — over 200 yards in receiving yards.

Elsewhere

Sam Houston (3-2, 3-1) puts its three-game win streak on the line when they host state power and sixth-ranked Acadiana (4-1, 4-0).

The Broncos have never beaten the Rams since moving up to Class 5A in 2011. A win would keep them in the race for a district title.

The Broncos’ passing game has been key during the streak with quarterback Gavin Stout throwing for 674 yards and 11 TDs. Drew Dronet, Ty Stout and Jaxon Landreneau have caught 10 of those 11 TDs.