Rummel looks to defense vs. Barbe

Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZARummel's Terrance Jones, (3), forces Mandeville quarterback Glen Cuiellette to fumble during a 5A semifinal game last week at Joe Yenni Stadium.
Advocate staff photo by RUSTY COSTANZARummel's Terrance Jones, (3), forces Mandeville quarterback Glen Cuiellette to fumble during a 5A semifinal game last week at Joe Yenni Stadium.

METAIRIE — If the Rummel defense has its way, quarterback Kennon Fontenot will not reach the 5,000-yard plateau for total offense this season.

Seems simple enough, right?

Not really, given Fontenot’s past heroics.

He enters Saturday’s Class 5A state championship 315 yards shy of the mark, an example of his all-state productivity and determination to earn Barbe (13-1) its first state championship. Just last week, Fontenot helped Barbe score 21 points in the final three minutes of its 49-48 state semifinal victory over seven-time state champion West Monroe.

No wonder Rummel (13-0) is less focused on stopping Fontenot as it is slowing him down.

“We want to eliminate their big plays,” said Terrance Jones, a senior linebacker at Rummel.

This season, the Raiders defense has allowed 137.6 passing yards a game.

“Like coach (Jay Roth) said, ‘Every team is going to move the ball, but if they keep moving it, they might make a mistake.’ ”

Both schools are trying to make their own championship history Saturday. This week at Rummel, Roth said his players have set a tone which lets their community know second place is not good enough.

“Three years ago was this school’s first time in the Superdome (for the state finals),” Roth said. “A lot of people were happy, kind of like, ‘Hey, good job of getting there.’ Well, I don’t wanna hear good job of getting there. I want to hear, ‘Go get em, go win one.’ ”

Against West Monroe, Fontenot, a 5-foot-10 junior, made few mental errors. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 423 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. With 13 seconds left, he completed a game-winning pass, a 2-yard completion to Trey Quinn.

Second-seeded Barbe is averaging 39 points in its second trip to the state final. This season, Fontenot has thrown for 4,119 yards and 45 TDs and run for 566 yards and eight scores.

“He is just a special athlete,” Barbe coach Mike Cutrera told the Lake Charles American Press. “He gets you out of a bad play, he can throw and run and is making good decisions right now.”

Rummel, the top-seeded 5A team, advanced to its second state finals trip in school history — the first berth occurred in 2009 — with a 17-14 win against Mandeville.

The Raiders have allowed an average of 12.5 points during their playoff run. The defense has also allowed 18 passing touchdowns.

Games like this is why Roth moved Jones, an all-metro player last season, from running back to linebacker. He was a physical runner, not afraid of getting hit or giving one.

“I felt like he needed to be on the field every play,” Roth said. “Around here, we alternate tailbacks. They may play a quarter of a game. Well, on defense, at least he’s playing half a game.”

Since the position switch, Jones has improved his instincts at the position, allowing him to feel what’s going on around him and anticipate things.

On Saturday, Jones hopes is time on the field is enough to stop Fontenot, which could be the key to the Raiders’ attempt at a state title.