Lyons: Local talent helping Nicholls win games, fans

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A lot of folks in the River Parishes are Nicholls State Colonels fans.

Some are fans because they went to school there, or their children (and their money) did.

Some are fans just because the school is kind of close so it’s like rooting for one of the local teams.

Some became fans this month.

On Sept. 10 the Colonels nearly shocked the world and certainly earned a lot of respect when they went toe-to-toe against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Yes, those Georgia Bulldogs, the ones who went into the game ranked No. 9 in the country.

These were the same Nicholls State Colonels who went 3-8 last season, the same ones who, according to some mysterious ranking system that involves way too much math for me, are ranked 240th out of 253 Division I teams.

To no one’s surprise, Georgia was as much as a 55-point favorite to win.

But this is a Nicholls team on the rise.

The coach, a second-year guy, is Tim (I still call him Timmy) Rebowe, who local fans might remember from his days as the football coach at Destrehan High School. Or, you might remember him as the baseball coach at Destrehan High School like I do. He grew up right down the road in Norco, by the way, and still claims half the town as relatives.

He left Destrehan in 1998 to become an assistant coach at Nicholls under former Hahnville High School coach Darren Barbier. Rebowe spent the next 18 years as an assistant coach at Louisiana-Monroe then Louisiana-Lafayette before getting the job at Nicholls last year.

Rebowe knows there is talent to be found in the River Parishes and has made a point to get it.

He has mined this area for silver and gold, reeling in the guys bigger schools said couldn’t play.

He certainly didn’t have to ask directions.

Now that he is the head coach at Nicholls, he’s still reeling them in.

This year’s roster includes a slew of local players. Among them are senior DB Jeffrey Hall (SCC), freshman RB Tahj Smith (SCC), sophomore DB Ahmani Moore (ESJH), freshman LB Evan Veron (RA), redshirt freshman WR Morrell Bartholomew (WSJH), freshman WR Darrion Cook (RA). Hahnville, Destrehan and St. James are well-represented, as well.

If that doesn’t make you a Colonels fan, what some of these guys are doing should.

Hall had a 91-yard interception return against Georgia and grabbed another one in Saturday’s game against Incarnate Word.

Veron had one tackle and five assists against Georgia.

Then there’s Lutcher’s Sully Laiche, who had four tackles against Georgia and three sacks against Incarnate Word. That was enough for the true freshman to earn STATS FCS National Freshman of the Week honorable mention honors. It was the best single-game sack total for the Colonels since 2003.

A lot of fans woke up that Saturday during the Georgia game. The Colonels trailed 10-7 at the half, which had fans on social media saying, “Ok. Not bad.”

In the second half, when the Dawgs went up 26-14, those fans were saying, “Oh well. We held them for a while.”

Then the Colonels scored a field goal. They forced and recovered a fumble with about four minutes to play, then they scored to make it 26-24.

And the fans were saying, “Wait just a doggone minute.”

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Georgia recovered an onside kick and was able to run out the clock, but a lot of headlines the next day used the word “escape.”And a lot of postgame tweets were using the word “respect.”

Lori Lyons is Sports Editor at L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or