1996 Facts

By Jack Killian

8-30-96  WM  7  W. Ouachita 21 (H) Jamboree
9-06-96  WM 36  Southwood   00 (H)
9/13-96  WM 45  Lafayette   21 (Away)
9-20-96  WM 07  Barbe       10 (H)
9-27-96  WM 18  Wossman     00 (H)
10-04-96 WM 40 Shreve, BTW  20 (Away)
10-11-96 WM 57 Ruston       00 (Away)
10-18-96 WM 28 Natch. Cent. 39 (Away)
10-24-96 WM 28 Ouachita     26 (Away)
11-01-96 WM 26 Neville      20 (H)  OT
11-08-96 WM 34 Bastrop      24 (H)

WM captures its first outright district 2-5A championship in a thrilling 26-20 OT win versus Neville.
Neville would jump out to an early first quarter lead 12-0. West Monroe came right back on an eight play 74 yard drive as Tommy Banks drove in for 12 yards and the TD, closing the gap 13-6 for the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Rebel defense would strip Neville of the ball, setting up another Banks TD run. This score put West Monroe up 13-12.
WM would put together another long drive with QB Steven Dollar running for the TD, putting WM up 20-12 at halftime.
The third quarter would be full of miscues by both teams. About midway through the fourth quarter, Neville converted a West Monroe turnover into a TD, with a two point conversion tying the score 20-20, This tie sent the game into OT.
Neville got the ball first but failed to convert on a field goal attempt, as the ball hit the left upright.
West Monroe opened it's drive with a 9 yard run to the 1 yardline. Two plays later, Tommy Banks would crash into the endzone behind right guard Brad Smalling, giving the Rebels a 26-20 OT win over Neville and giving West Monroe it's first ever outright district championship.


11-15-96  WM 42 Capt. Shreve 10 (H) Bi-dist.
11-22-96  WM 13 Natch. Cent  06 (A) Regional
11-29-96  WM 14 LaGrange     10 (A) Quarter
12-06-96  WM 21 Catholic BR  14 (H) Semi
12-14-96  WM 24 Carencro     21   5A Champ

Playoff highlights:

Captain Shreve vs. WM (Bi-district)

West Monroe would take Captain Shreve by surprise, utilizing a no-huddle offense in the first quarter, and scoring on its first six possessions. This gave the Rebels a 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and they would go into the locker room with a 42-0 lead at halftime. FB Tommy Banks would sit out the game early in the second quarter with 14 rushes for 146 yards and 4 TDs. The game ended with WM 42 and Captain Shreve 10.

Natchitoches Central vs. WM (Regionals)

WM would avenge an earlier regular season loss to Natchitoches Central. The Rebs would use vintage ball-control offense and a stifling defense to win. They took a 13-0 half-time lead behind the running of FB Tommy Banks, who scored the Rebels only two TDs. Natchitoches Central scored it's only points of the game on the first drive of the third quarter. However, the game would end on a last minute, exciting goal line stand by the Rebel defense. The Chiefs had the ball within the five-yard line and were down to the 1 yard line on second down, but the Rebel defense would hold for three plays and took over on downs with 20 seconds left in the game. WM 13 Natch. Central 6 Note: This was the game that Coach Shows was believed to have had a heart attack at half-time.

WM vs. La Grange (Quarter Finals)

The game would be a defensive struggle from start to finish. After a scoreless first quarter, West Monroe scored as a result of a botched punt by LaGrange. Tommy Banks plowed it in for the TD from 12 yards. LaGrange then came back with a 65 yard pass that tied the score 7-7. Going into the fourth quarter, West Monroe trailed, 10-7. With the Rebel offense struggling, the defense intercepted a LaGrange pass, setting up another Tommy Banks TD run. LaGrange would have one more shot. With 2:38 remaining, LaGrange drove the field, but with only 15 seconds left in the game, Rebel defensive back Michael John Lenard picked off a LaGrange pass at the 6 yard line, putting the game on ice. Since Coach Don Shows had suffered a heart attack earlier and was facing heart by-pass surgery, Coach Jerry Arledge filled in as head coach for the game. WM 14 LaGrange 10

Catholic, BR vs. WM (Semi-finals)

Before an overflow crowd of over 10,000 at Rebel Stadium, the undefeated Catholic Bears of Baton Rouge, ranked No. 1 in Louisiana and No.10 in the nation, would play one of the all time classics in West Monroe history. Catholic's RB Travis Minor (a stellar RB at Florida State University and currently a RB with the Miami Dolphins) would stun the overflow crowd at West Monroe with a 92-yard kickoff return on the first play of the game. The Catholic offense was directed by QB Major Applewhite, who went on the be the starting QB at the University of Texas. However, the WM defense would take over and hold the vaunted Catholic offensive machine to just 17 yards in the first half, including minus 3 yards rushing. FB Tommy Banks would score WM's lone score of the first half, with the game tied 7-7 at half time. WM came back in the second half and took a 21-7 lead behind a ball-control offense led by Tommy Banks and a stifling defense. The Rebels ran the ball 53 times for 333 yards, with Banks getting 36 carries. With about 7 minutes left in the game, the speedy Travis Minor would ramble for a 67 yard TD, bringing the game closer with a West Monroe holding a 21-14 lead. WM took over using the power running of Tommy Banks eating up 6 minutes, utilizing a risky 4th and 2 on their own 39 with about 4 minutes left. On the play, West Monroe sent out it's punting unit with Catholic setting up for the return. However, the offense dashed onto the field, forcing Catholic to burn a time-out. Tommy Banks made the 1st down and kept the drive alive. WM had punt later pinning Catholic deep in it's own territory with less than a minute left in the game. The Rebel defense held, sending the West Monroe Rebels to its second ever state football championship game.

1996 LHSAA 5A State Championship game

Carencro vs. West Monroe

West Monroe would enter it's second ever state football championship game with a 13-2 record against the 11-3 Carencro Bears, who got into the playoffs on a wildcard berth. Carencro had a duo of talented rushers in QB Damian James (over 1700 rushing yards and 23 TDs) and running back John Bernard (over 1700 yards rushing and 24 TDs). The first half was a defensive struggle, with West Monroe taking a 3-0 lead at half-time. Both teams would come out in the second half slugging it out like two heavy weight boxers. Carencro drove 52 yards in the middle of the third quarter to take a 7-3 lead off a Damian James 12 yard TD run. WM answered with the power running of Tommy Banks, including a 46-yard TD run to put the Rebs back up 10-7. Carencro responded in kind with a 78-yard drive, capped off by a TD pass to put the Bears back ahead 14-10. West Monroe got a great kickoff return by Credell Williams to the Carencro 38. Tommy Banks used tough "smash mouth" running to score on a 14 yard TD rush that put WM back up 17-14. The Bears then scored on a 45 yard scamper with 6 minutes left in the game to give Carencro a 21-17 lead. What would follow will go down in West Monroe history, both offensively and defensively. WM started on its own 35 yard line with about six minutes remaining in the game. They used a grinding ball control offense to eat the clock. With three minutes remaining, the crucial play of the drive would come on a third and one play action pass from QB Steven Dollar to TB Kenny King This play resultd in a 31 yard gain putting the ball on the Bear 2 yard line. "Touchdown" Tommy Banks took it in for the final TD giving West Monroe a 24-21 lead. Carencro had one last chance to win the game but DB Michael John Lenard intercepted the Bears at the West Monroe 6 yard line with a little more than a minute left in the game. It would be West Monroe's second ever state football championship. Some outstanding players from the 1996 season: RB Tommy Banks, TB Kenny King, LB Adam McConathy, LB Mike Tubb, DE Terrence Bell, DT Brian West, OG Brad Smalling, QB Steven Dollar. And of course, all the other WM players who made what was supposed to be a 'rebuilding' year one of the most special teams in West Monroe history.


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