The Carencro defense bent to the extreme in its 35-21 win against visiting Barbe, but it never broke.
The Buccaneers (2-2, 0-1) marched up and down the field against the Bears (3-1, 1-0), but two goal line stands and three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, proved to be the difference in the game.
Though the Carencro defense wasn’t in much of a giving mood as far as points were concerned, it looked like Barbe had its foot on the Bears’ throat in the third quarter and was on the verge of taking control of the game.
The Buccaneers looked like they pulled within a score of the Bears on a short touchdown run by sophomore running back Kirkland Banks. But a holding penalty wiped the touchdown away, and on the next play Carencro senior defensive back Gabe Duffy stepped in front of a pass in the flat and took it 94 yards for a score.
It was a play Barbe had burned Carencro on numerous times in the game. This time, Duffy and the Bears had the upper hand.
“I saw the screen, they ran it multiple times, I saw it and I just broke and caught the pick,” Duffy said.
Duffy would pick off another of Barbe quarterback Gavin Nettles’ passes late in the fourth quarter to seal the win. The two picks gave Duffy five interceptions through four games.
“He’s a great athlete,” said Carencro coach Rip Eveland. “He was our backup quarterback, and we knew we had to get him on the field. It just so happened we had a hole on the defense, we asked him to play and he stepped up and did the job.”
The Bears’ opportunistic defense helped on a night when the Carencro offense wasn’t its usual explosive self. Sophomore running back Tyriek Campbell has been outstanding all season, but the Bucs limited him to 78 yards on 20 attempts, with just one run of more than 10 yards.
But the Bears’ big play weapons wouldn’t stay quiet all game. On a third and long play in the first quarter, quarterback Tyler Gaspard saw receiver Donald Stokes come open on a crossing route. He drilled him in stride and Stokes outran the defense for a 44-yard score.
The play before, Stokes dropped what would’ve been a sure touchdown pass on a bomb from quarterback Tyler Gaspard, but Gaspard has plenty of confidence in his senior receiver.
“You’ve got to keep everybody up as a quarterback,” Gaspard said. “It’s my position to keep everybody going, don’t let anybody get down.”
A seven-yard run from Campbell and a 29-yard interception return by D’Ronne Littelton gave the Bears a 21-0 lead just minutes into the second quarter. The Buccaneers looked dead in the water, but they roared to life when they turned to Nettles and told him to let it rip.
Nettles continually found gaping holes in the Bears pass coverage, burning them with short tosses to the flats to his running backs and deep throws downfield to his receivers.
He sandwiched a pair of 40-plus yard touchdown passes to fellow sophomore Nate Briscoe around a 22-yard scoring strike to running back Darrian Gumbs to pull the Buccaneers, once left for dead, back into the game. Nettles finished with 285 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Barbe senior wide receiver Zhavien Rice was carted off the field after making a 36-yard catch deep in Carencro territory late in the fourth quarter.
The game was paused for several mintues before Rice was carted off the field, after which he gave a thumbs-up.