Sun Times Editor
The bi-district round of the 2008 La. High School Athletic Association Football Playoffs is now history with a couple of area teams experiencing far different fates this past Friday evening.
Last week this reporter was the “lone snow goose” that said the Gueydan High School Bears would beat the heavily-favored South Cameron Tarpons on the road in Creole. The Bears made their community proud and this reporter look good by upending the Tarpons by a 30-12 count Friday night.
As stated last week, I didn’t think the Tarpons were as good as advertised after seeing them up close and personal against Lake Arthur earlier in Tiger Town in a one-point win. South Cameron lacked speed on the edges, something you definitely must have to win playoff games. Their passing game was also suspect, as they struggled trying to throw the ball for most of this season. Nevertheless, the Tarpons were a hard-nosed, well-coached, football team.
In comparison, Gueydan has made a living running the football this year, with great speed in junior running back Darin Gums and Tory Derouen. That speed forces teams to stretch the football field laterally, opening holes in the middle of the line of scrimmage for backs to flourish as well. And although the Bears don’t throw the football with regularity, the passing game is always inviting since opposing teams have to stack the box in order to slow down the Bruin rushing attack.
This past Friday, after spotting the Tarpons an opening touchdown, Gueydan went to the air twice to loosen up the running game, and that resulted in two Bear touchdowns, as Devante Bourque caught a 31-yarder and a 46-yarder from quarterback Cade Gaspard to grab a six-point advantage.
The Tarpons managed to tie the game at half, but Gums ran wild in the second half, scoring twice on runs of 45 and 10 yards, to give the Bears breathing room. Gums also excelled on the defensive end, as he returned a South Cameron pass some 95 yards for another Gueydan score, as the Bears advanced to the Regionals with a convincing 30-12 win.
Gums rushed 19 times for 139 yards on the night, while Derouen added 37 on 11 carries, and Gaspard contributed 30 yards of his own on just three totes of the pigskin.
Coach Jay Landry’s troops had no fumbles, interceptions, or penalties against the Tarpons, an important ingredient in winning football games.
In stark contrast, South Cameron tossed four interceptions in falling out of the Class A Playoffs a bit earlier than they expected to this season.
The Bears will host their Regional Playoff Game at Ed Baker Field in Gueydan this Friday evening, something rare in the annals of Gueydan football history. They will face Mangham High School, which rolled over White Castle 31-6 in their first round game.
So if you haven’t had your fill of high school football this season, you might want to take a trip to the Duck Capital to watch the Bears. No matter the outcome, this should be one very entertaining football game to watch.
The Welsh High School Greyhounds, who knocked Lake Arthur out of the playoff hunt two weeks ago in Welsh, were summarily flattened by a good St. Thomas Aquinas squad by a 47-28 score on the road this past week in a lopsided Class 2A contest you won’t find many serious Lake Arthur Tiger fans crying over. Most Tiger fans, this one included, felt that the Greyhound coaching staff showed poor sportsmanship in running up the score over Lake Arthur two weeks ago in a 54-21 thrashing.
Basically, that game was over with less than five minutes remaining, as the Greyhounds had possession of the football leading by 19 points. But for whatever reasons, Welsh chose to leave their “studs” in the game against a beaten, tired Tiger defense, scoring three more times before the final horn sounded and “rubbing salt into their opponents’ wounds.”
It’s never pleasant to see seniors in any sport facing the solemn proposition that their last competitive high school game is ending in certain defeat, especially in blowout fashion. And while that often happens in sports, there’s never any reason to make things even tougher on devoted student-athletes.
I’ve watched a lot of prep games and played in a bunch more, so I know the disappointment in the bodies, hearts, minds, and souls of these kids at such times. Tear-stained, frustrated and innocent faces look for consolation, education, and reasoning as their playing days come to a close, so there are no legitimate reasons for making such moments any worse than they already are. After all, these are still children that are competing, not seasoned, grizzled, veteran professionals.
While Welsh High School is a top-notch school with outstanding teachers, administration, students, and fans, I still can’t figure out who or what made the decision to run that score up. It was simply uncalled for, and I won’t change my opinion one darn bit about that particular game and how it concluded.
No matter how big the rivalry is, these games are still for the youngsters who play them. Some coaches just don’t get this and never will. They fail to realize that coaching organized athletics is more than just teaching the basic skills through the finer points. There are still lessons in compassion, sportsmanship, and compunction that also need to be taught in order to build appropriate character. And running up the score, no matter how good it feels at the time for the winners, has no place in athletics.
Also, there’s the old saying that “what goes around comes around.” And sometimes, that time comes quicker than you think. For example, I can’t help but wonder how those young Welsh High School student-athletes felt this past Friday night after being drubbed by St. Thomas Aquinas on the gridiron only seven short days after experiencing that blowout win against Lake Arthur.
Well, let me take that back. I know how the kids felt. I just wonder what feelings the coach who chose to run up that score against the Tigers was experiencing.
For like another famous sports axiom goes, “payback can be a real b---- sometimes!”