Saturday’s Gulf States Football League Championship Game against the Mississippi Brawlers is the pinnacle of what has been a historic season for the Louisiana Bayou Hurricanes, and the manifestation of what started out as a dream many months ago.
“You always go into a season expecting to win a championship,” Hurricanes cornerback Deion Robinson recently told Developmental Football USA. “You never go in not thinking about a championship. That was always the goal. We started out slow, but once we started to gel and start clicking, we became a well-oiled machine.”
The No. 4 seed Hurricanes shocked the world by knocking off the previously unbeaten, No. 1 seed Gulf Coast Trojans 6-0 in the first round, then followed that with a 32-12 win over the No. 3 seed Louisiana Tigers in the Bayou Conference Championship Game.
“The Tigers defense only gave up 46 points on the season,” Hurricanes general manger Derek Leger told Developmental Football USA. “They are an outstanding defensive football team and we put up 32 points. There were still some mistakes with players trying to get this offense down. In the second half, we took our foot off the gas out of respect for the Tigers organization, they are second to none in the way they do things.”
Now, everything is on the line Saturday for what is the biggest game ever for both teams.
“The Brawlers are a very underrated football team,” Leger said. “I think their story is a bit like ours. They’re a little disrespected, they’re a lot like us.”
The Hurricanes came into the season with high hopes, but a 1-2 start sent them back to the drawing board. Multiple key players for the team suffered injuries and faced other off-the-field life issues early on, which led them to dig deep and dig their way out of that hole. Saturday is the GSFL Championship Game and they’re still digging.
“If we bring the championship home, it’ll be bittersweet,” Leger said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be around another group this dedicated, this united, this special. Being victorious is nice, but knowing you may never have a group like this again is bittersweet. I got out of football for awhile and didn’t know if I wanted to get back into it, but these guys pulled me back into it and lit a fire in me. I can live without football, but I don’t know if I could ever give up this group.”
This team, this season, this family, this story and this game only happens once and the Hurricanes want nothing more than to put an exclamation point at the end and bring some hardware home.
“I’m saying we’re going in to get the dub and coming out with the win,” Robinson said. “We’re expecting to compete and prove ourselves we that can win any given day.”
Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. in Biloxi, Mississippi. Louisiana Bayou will never forget the last trip they took to Biloxi, but they hope this one becomes even more memorable.
“We’re just ready to bring that trophy to Lafayette,” Hurricanes wide receiver Willis Curley told Developmental Football USA. “They have to be ready, because we’re ready. We’ve been going over stuff every day, getting ready and watching film.”
Neither team was expected by anyone outside their organization to make it this far, but both teams expect to finish the race.
“We have athletes all over the field,” Curley said. “It’s not just a run game, not just a pass game, you can’t plan for a run or pass offense against us, you have to consider both of them.
“We know they like to run short routes, hitches, stuff like that, so we’re planning to stop stuff like that. We’re underdogs that came to the top and they weren’t really looked at as a top team either.”
A team that once struggled to find confidence and play to their ability is now working to stay level-headed for just one more weekend.
“I’ve been working to balance that sense of pride and keep overconfidence from setting in,” Leger said. “With this group – a different cast of characters, different personalities, but they always have the same goal. Anytime I challenge or question one, they prove to me they are dedicated and that they are focused.
“Winning a championship would be a huge sense of pride for this group of guys. Slowly going from just a talented team to a united team, to see them overcome all that and to reach the pinnacle, beside the birth of my kids that would be one of the greatest days of my life.”