Terrebonne High School football

Terrebonne got their biggest regular season win in a long, long time on Friday night.

Now, they move into a rivalry game with a team that’d love nothing more than to stop that momentum in its tracks and generate some of their own.

Emotions will be riding high on Friday when Terrebonne takes on H.L. Bourgeois — an annual rivalry tilt among teams that share Tom B. Smith Stadium.

So far this season, it looks like Terrebonne would be favored to win the game. But in rivalry games, sometimes, all bets are off, and both teams have weapons that could make this an exciting, competitive affair for four quarters.

“They have some talented kids and we know they’d love to beat us,” Terrebonne coach Gary Hill said. “Every week in this district, you have to play well or you will be in a battle. This game will be no different.”

The game will be a “home” game for H.L. Bourgeois, so they will be positioned on the home sideline and will wear their home uniforms.

They hope that the comforts of Tom B. Smith Stadium treat them well, because they’ve been struggling.

The Braves are 1-5 on the season and have had a hard time putting it together in all phases for a complete game.

Since scoring 46 points in a win against Ellender, the Braves have scored just 34 points in the next 3 games combined — all defeats.

Coach Ryan Fournier said the Braves are still learning their Wing-T-based offense and the growing pains are evident.

Making matters worse is that the team lost virtually all of its defense this past offseason, so the team is struggling to keep opponents off the scoreboard.

“We’re fighting and working to get better,” Fournier said earlier this season. “We’re young and inexperienced in a lot of areas, but the kids have continued to fight and stay together. They’ve done what we’ve asked of them so far, and we just want to keep getting better.”

The challenge for the Braves on Friday night will be corralling Terrebonne’s playmakers in space — a problem for anyone the Tigers have faced.

Of course, there’s Ja’khi Douglas — the senior receiver/quarterback who makes plays all over the field to help Terrebonne on every Friday night.

But quarterback Ryan WIlliams is also settling into his role and the Tigers are developing other receivers and halfbacks to become a more complete offense.

Terrebonne started the season 2-3 with close losses against Hahnville and Thibodaux — games that both could have gone either way.

But since the slow start, Hill said he’s challenged his team to come together — something that he thinks was a little bit of a problem for them in the early reaches of the season.

“I thought we’re gotten back to playing team ball and playing together and for one another,” Hill said. “Early in the year, I think we were too individualistic. I think the kids understand that our biggest strength is when we’re all pulling in the same direction and lately, we’ve been doing that.”

Friday night’s game will be big for playoff implications.

After Friday night’s results, Terrebonne sits around No. 21 in Class 5A — give or take a spot or two in either direction, given unofficial ratings.

A loss against H.L. Bourgeois would set the team back quite a bit in its quest to host an opening-round playoff game. It could also affect the team’s ability to make the playoffs altogether.

For H.L. Bourgeois, the path to the Top 32 in Class 5A is murky. The Braves need to win out and even that might not be enough.

But it all starts with Friday night and a chance for an underdog to stun its biggest rival.

Stranger things have happened.

“We’re approaching it the same as we would any game,” Hill said. “We will run out the same locker room, take the same field. The only thing different is we will be on the opposite sideline than we normally are. Our approach and focus will be the same.”

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Casey Gisclair is the Sports Editor at Rushing Media. A native of Cut Off and graduate of Louisiana State University, Casey is a lifelong sports fan who joined the Houma Times team in Dec. 2009 upon college graduation.

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