The first-round playoff losses in 1990 and 1991 were both highly frustrating and highly motivating for the Carencro Golden Bears.
The team had lost to Ouachita on the road in 1990 and then to Neville in double overtime in 1991.
For the coaches, the work for that 1992 season began the week after the 1991 season ended in mid-November.
“We did some exit interviews with the seniors that were leaving us and then we got right back to work,” assistant coach Tony Courville said. “We knew we were close.”
For the players, though, the offseason of conditioning culminated with August practice drills to remember.
It’s quite possible that harsher words were used by those enduring it, but it could have been called “Camp Barousse.”
Ask Barousse about it these days and he just laughs.
“We definitely ran them a lot,” he said.
In the mind of the coaching staff, though, it was part of the masterplan.
“There’s not a lot of things you can actually control in high school football,” Barousse said. “But we felt like conditioning was one of them. We felt like we could make sure that we had the best conditioned team by just working hard.”
And they did.
In August 1992, long before school started the second week in August and two decades before the NFL eliminated two-a-days, the Golden Bears were going through three-a-days.
It was an all-day affair. Practices, meals, conditioning and throwing up when necessary — all with the idea of chasing that dream.
“It’s probably a good thing that we didn’t know what was going on at other schools,” eventual NFL placekicker Wade Richey, who was a junior on that 1992 team, said. “If we knew, there probably would have been a lot more complaining going on. We just didn’t know any better. We just showed up to practice every day because that’s what we were supposed to do.
“I was a kicker, but I went through all of the conditioning just like the rest of the guys. There was nothing easy about it. We had some tough cats on that team, guys who are tough to this day. It was all day long in the heat and that was back when there was still little to no water.”
Nick Allemond, a junior defensive end on the team, later served in the military. He said he found the conditioning process there much easier than most because of what he had endure in Camp Barousse.
In fact, Allemond said a future Golden Bear who later served as a Delta Force Ranger told him that the Army Ranger boot camp was nothing compared to what the Carencro football coaches put them through.
“It was tough,” Allemond said. “Obviously it helped us.”
At the time, the Bears were just searching for the school’s first-ever playoff win.
During those brutal August three-a-days, they had no idea how big the pot of gold would be waiting for them at the end of that season’s rainbow.
As the years went on, the way that Barousse and Company were able to maintain it was that the program’s stars led the effort.
“When you have an All-State running back doing all of this and not complaining, it really helps push the rest of the guys on the team,” Barousse said.