Thib high

Throw out the record books.

Forget what you’ve seen or what you think you know.

When South Lafourche takes on Thibodaux, all bets are off.

The old cross-parish rivals will lock horns again for their annual date this coming Friday in Galliano. The teams had opposite week 1 experiences. The Tigers walloped Riverside to get to 1-0, while the Tarpons fell flat in a lopsided lass against St. Charles Catholic.

But coaches on both sides know that when rivals collide, anything can happen. Both sides are expecting the unexpected on Friday night.

“It’s always a fun game to face an old rival,” Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. “South Lafourche is always a physical team, so they challenge your toughness. But they’re also well-coached. It’s good to make that trip. It’s a great test for the kids.”

“Thibodaux has athletes all over the field,” South Lafourche coach Blake Forsythe added. “It’s a challenge because on any given play, if you make a mistake, they can take it to the house and put up six points. … We know it’s going to be a tough game. And we’re looking forward to another week of practice.” 

Thibodaux enters the game riding high, scoring a 43-31 victory over Riverside Academy on Friday.

It was a win, but it was also a bit of a mess.

Thibodaux trailed that game 25-14 at halftime. They allowed touchdowns in all three phases. And the kicker? They turned over the football seven times.

Those aren’t type-o’s. The Tigers overcame all of those things and won — a second-half onslaught that featured big plays and a reversal of fortunes. 

“I’ve never been part of a football game where there were that many mistakes and we still found a way to win,” Dugas said. “It was just crazy.”

Dugas said he was proud of his defense, adding that the 31 points Thibodaux allowed were mostly on returns, turnovers and other flukey plays.

“All things considered, I thought those guys played well,” Dugas said. 

Against South Lafourche, the challenge will be corralling a triple option offense that’s sort of a knuckleball — an offense that not many teams run anymore.

Dugas said it’s hard to prepare for “assignment football” in just one week, adding that the defense will have to stay disciplined. 

“Everyone has a job and a responsibility, and we have to stick to those assignments and make tackles,” Dugas said.

From the Tarpons’ perspective, they’re looking to get things going.

South Lafourche got muscled by St. Charles Catholic on Friday night, struggling to sustain any offense against a mean Comets front.

Forsythe said he was disappointed in the mindset of his team on Friday night, adding that he thought the Tarpons were a little timid under the Friday Night Lights.

But he also was quick to add that the opponent was fierce, as well.

“That’s the best front seven I’ve maybe ever seen in my time in coaching,” Forsythe said. “They do a lot to make things difficult on you.”

Against Thibodaux, South Lafourche will want to sustain drives to slow the game down. 

Forsythe said the longer the Tarpons’ offense is on the field, the better. He added that the South Lafourche defense will be working this week on its secondary, knowing that Thibodaux has a prolific passing game — a group led by quarterback Luke Alleman, but which also features Kyren Lacy, Darwin Davis and other receivers.

“We have to control time of possession better and when we’re on defense, we have to limit their big plays,” Forsythe said. 

And on Dugas’ side of the coin, he knows that seven turnovers won’t cut it — maybe not ever again.

Against the Tarpons, he said there will not be enough possessions in the game to get carless with the ball.

He said the Tigers will work tirelessly on ball security in practice.

“We know we have to clean that up. We won, and it’s always better to have teachable moments and lessons after a win. But you can’t turn over the ball like that and hope to have much success. We have to fix it and be better.” 

A MIXED BAG

South Lafourche and Thibodaux always produce a thrilling game — one of the more anticipated games of the season. 

Here’s a look back at the past 10 dates between the rivals. Lately, Thibodaux has dominated the rivalry. But historically, dating back to the ‘60s when the Tarpons started football, they’ve had far more success, winning a lion’s share of the games.

2018 - Thibodaux, 35-10

2017 - SLHS, 38-28

2016 - Thibodaux, 26-17

2015 - Thibodaux, 35-9

2014 - Thibodaux, 35-0 

2013 - Thibodaux, 52-28

2012 - SLHS, 41-14

2011 - SLHS, 49-20

2010 - SLHS, 21-12

2009 - SLHS,  24-6 •

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