Barbe head coach Jimmy Shaver has had quite a career at the helm of the Bucs' program, winning more than 200 games and leading them now to three semifinal appearances. But this was the first time he posted an undefeated, 10-0 record during the regular season and the Bucs enter its showdown with West Monroe at 12-0.
"I don't think there will ever be a time when I don't like football, I love football," Shaver said.
Fact is he has good reason and the group of young men playing as seniors is special. The majority of the senior starters were JV starters a year ago when the JV went undefeated. And when they were sophomores this group lost just two games.
The offensive line is a cohesive group. Seniors Tyler Kelly and Tanner Smith have a good supporting group of juniors on the o-line with them and they all handle their assignments very well.
The Bucs are talented at the skill positions. Eric Cutrera leads the offense at quarterback and has Texas Tech commit E.J. Celestie as one of the running backs behind him. The other back is junior Mike Guillory and he has made his share of noise this year also.
Cutrera's 2,465 yards passing (167 of 270) this season is a school record he has set career passing records with 55 touchdown passes and 352 completions. He has 26 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
Guillory is averaging 13 yards every time he touches the ball while Celestie is averaging 9.8 yards per touch. Celestie has caught a school record 72 passes this season and a record 125 for his career. For the year he has 855 yards receiving and 880 yards rushing and 24 total touchdowns.
In the Thibodaux game, Celestie had one of his longest punt returns to date only to have it called back because of a penalty. Looking forward he is easily capable of running any punt or kickoff back all the way and gives special teams something to worry about. Senior Josh Edwards has been having an impact at wide receiver and while I don't have statistics available I can tell you he has been very good.
The defense has been real solid this year for the Bucs and they too have some players. Janzen Jackson was recently injured and will be out for the rest of this season, and losing him is definitely a tough break for the Bucs. The LSU commit had a team-high five interceptions and returned two punts for touchdowns.
The rest of the defense is intact and I will tell you that as a group they will manage the loss. Senior Eric Papion is doing his job well in the secondary, and has two interceptions and has improved greatly on run support this season.
The other name you hear a lot during games is Cade Daughenbaugh. Daughenbaugh leads the team with 134 tackles, including five sacks. He has an endless motor and reminds you of the Eveready Bunny, he just keeps going and going. He plays with a lot of emotion and just doesn't stop. He is all over the field and pound for pound one of Shavers top players.
It is really hard to describe this group in detail and if you try things keep popping up reminding you of something one of them did that was exceptional. When you get down to it Barbe has chemistry the likes of which I do not think they have had before, or at the very least it has been a long time. This team has a few standouts and its share of prospects, but overall the entire team plays as a team with no one player above the other. I guess that is what makes this team and season so special.
The Bucs travel to West Monroe, a formidable opponent and a perennial powerhouse in Class 5A. While West Monroe is the favorite as the top seed, Barbe possesses an intangible, great team chemistry, that makes it a contender.
This year they have won the close ones, which a year ago the team lost. The one thing that really stands out to me this season is they do not quit. This team plays with a high level of intensity and emotion and they let you know they are on the field.