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Thibodaux, Terrebonne set to tangle Friday

There is always something at stake when longtime rivals Thibodaux High and Terrebonne High meet up in their annual showdown.

This year's contest between District 7-5A rivals will be no different.

With four games left to play this season, both Thibodaux and Terrebonne are looking to stay alive in the district race and put themselves in prime position to make the playoffs.

Thibodaux (2-3 overall, 1-1 in district) is ranked No. 34 in this week's Class 5A power ratings polls on, while Terrebonne (3-3, 2-1) is at No. 43.

With only the Top 32 teams from each class making it to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association playoffs, both teams are extra ready for Friday's showdown at Tom B. Smith Stadium in Houma. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

"It's a very important game for both teams," Thibodaux coach Chris Dugas said. "I'm not ready to say it's a must win, but it's very important for both teams as far as playoff position and power points. Both of us are in the hunt right now, and if you look at the power ratings, we both have a shot. It's not a must win, but it will still be nice to have. That's the way we are approaching it. We really need this one."

Terrebonne coach Gary Hill said his team knows the importance of Friday's game.

"It's definitely crunch time," Hill said. "You know it's that time of year. I feel like this game is really important to both teams. I think both teams control their own destiny now, and the team that wants to win more on Friday night could set themselves in a good position to make a run in the final four weeks."

Thibodaux enters Friday's game coming off a 56-0 loss to Archbishop Rummel, one of the best teams in Class 5A, last week. While the loss was tough to swallow, Dugas said it served as a learning tool for his players.

"Our kids have had a good mindset this week at practice," Dugas said. "They learned that it is a very physical game when you play at Top 10 team like that. They were just more physical than us. We made some mistakes in the special teams and turning the ball over. It taught us about holding on to the football and ball security. You just can't make mistakes against good teams like that. They make you pay for it."

Terrebonne is coming off a 19-14 comeback win over District 7-5A rival Central Lafourche last week.

Terrebonne, which got a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Colby Stewart late in the fourth quarter against the Trojans, is looking to win its third game over a district opponent.

"It seems like every week in this district is a rivalry," Hill said. "We're going to have to play another good game. We're going to have to reduce the amount of penalties. We're going to have to hold on to the football and tackle well. If we can play a full game like we did last week, hopefully we can be successful."

Stewart has made key plays throwing and running the football. He has passed for 162 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. On the ground, he has rushed for 398 yards and six touchdowns.

Terrebonne senior running back DeShaun Diggs is second in the area in rushing with 639 yards on 94 carries and six touchdowns. Defensively, Terrebonne has used big plays from senior defensive linemen Will Moses and Jeremiah Thomas.

Dugas, a former Terrebonne High offensive coordinator and assistant coach under Hill, said he is very familiar with the playmakers on Terrebonne's roster.

"A lot of the players (Diggs, Moses, Thomas) were sophomores when I coached there," Dugas said. "(Stewart and Diggs) are two of the best players in the area. Will Moses and Jeremiah Thomas are two great players up front that really dominate the line of scrimmage. It's always tough when you have to compete against guys like that. I know they are great kids. They work really hard, and they make plays on the field. They've been having a really good season."

Thibodaux is led in rushing by junior running back Donta Johnson (491 yards, four touchdowns, 76 rushes) and in passing by quarterbacks Wesley Lassaire and Blade Martinez.

Hill said he expects a tough challenge from Thibodaux. Terrebonne won last year's meeting, 20-14.

"I'm looking for them to be fired up and to be happy to be back in district play just because they lost last week," Hill said. "We look for them to be ready to play, so we'll have to be ready. Last year, it was a good game, and we were able to come out on top. Coach Dugas and I know each other really well. I know he wants to win just as bad as we do, so it's just one of those games you hope both teams play well, but you hope you can come out on top."

Friday's game can be heard on the radio at 106.3-FM.