Church Point upends Rayne
CHURCH POINT – Heading into Thursday’s clash with intra-parish and district rival Rayne, Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux was worried about his team’s intensity level.
Despite coming off back-to-back District 5-3A victories over Port Barre and Northwest, he felt his squad was being just a little too timid.
That wasn’t the case Thursday.
Church Point’s defense swarmed the ball and the Bears’ offense used a ground-and-pound mentality to cruise to a 27-12 victory over the visiting Wolves.
“What we haven’t done the past couple of weeks is come out and play with a bunch of intensity,” said Arceneaux, whose squad improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in league play with the victory. “That was the focus of practice last week and it was re-emphasized this week,
“I think we came out and played with plenty of intensity tonight. I think we were kind of priming ourselves for a little bit for a letdown and I think we haven’t allowed that the last two weeks.”
The Wolves also played better than they did a week ago in the defeat.
“We played harder and had a much better effort than last week,” said RHS coach Curt Ware, whose team fell to 5-3 overall and 0-3 in district. “But we just couldn’t get it done tonight.”
The Wolves looked to have the early momentum, taking their opening possession at their own 21 before quickly marching past midfield on first-down runs by Jalen Williams, Brody Bourque and Clerance Leger.
But Church Point forced the first big play of the game two plays later, causing a fumble at the Bears’ 36-yard line.
Church Point took over and moved the ball down the field on a big misdirection play that got the Bears inside the RHS 10. From there, tailback Jacob Boone took the handoff and scored on a one-yard run.
“Rayne had a chance where they could have stole all the early momentum in the game,” said Arceneaux of Rayne’s opening drive. “But they turned it over and we were able to capitalize off of it so we kind of captured that momentum.”
Church Point added to it’s lead late in the second quarter after taking over at the RHS 40.
On their first play, the Bears fumbled the ball back 10 yards. But a facemask was called on the play against the Wolves, setting Church Point with a second and short. The Bears converted the first down and then some as the drive ended in a 5-yard touchdown run by Gallen Williams. The two-point conversion run fell short of the end zone, leaving the Bears with a 12-0 lead with 3:50 remaining in the half.
The Bears had another shot to extend the lead right before the half, but two dropped passes and a short run resulted in a punting situation.
Both teams traded timeouts before the punt attempt, which Church Point faked and it proved costly as Rayne’s Trent Duhon came up with an interception at the RHS 43 with 1:10 remaining.
This time, it was the Wolves turn to capitalize.
On the first play, Leger connected with R.J. Buchannan for a 33-yard reception to the 10. Two plays later, Leger crossed the goalline to cut the lead to 12-6.
“We had the momentum for the whole first half up until that final minute and a half,” said Arceneaux. “We had a chance to go up 18-0 and we missed an opportunity. They made a nice play on the fake punt and even though we were still up, they kind of stole all the momentum going into the second half.”
The tide quickly changed, however.
After both teams traded possessions to open the third quarter, the Bears took over from their own 36 and mounted a 64-yard drive that was capped by Boone’s 2-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Jake Morvant hit Boone on a pass for the two-point conversion to put the Bears up 20-6.
The scoring drive ate up nearly eight minutes and saw the Bears convert on three third down plays and one fourth .
“Being a wing-t team, ball control is huge,” said Arceneaux. “We want to control the football and control the clock. If we can do that, we feel we will have control of the game and we can control the tempo.”
Rayne answered with a solid drive of its own. Starting at their own 37, the Wolves marched down the field, converting on third and fourth downs before Jalen Williams broke loose on a 19-yard scoring scamper to cut the lead to 20-12 with 9:20 remaining.
Church Point was able to put the nail in the coffin on its ensuing series. The Bears mounted another time-consuming drive that amassed 80 yards and was capped by Boone’s third touchdown of the night, this time from 10 yards out.
On the night, Church Point racked up 317 total yards of offense, 300 of which came on the ground.
Boone did most of the damage for the Bears, rushing for 170 yards and three scores on 20 carries. He also had two receptions for 17 yards.
“Jacob had kind of been our go-to guy all year,” said Arceneaux. “He’s not the fastest guy, but he understands the offense and he understands when to try and put his foot in the ground and when to try and run to the corner. He breaks tackles, he’s hard to bring down and he’s able to get the few extra yards when we need it.
“We didn’t do anything different than we have done in the previous five weeks. He was just able to break off some long runs and kind of help us control the football game.”
Gallen Williams and Devein Landry each rushed for 51 yards on 14 and 12 carries, respectively.
Defensviely, the Bears limited Rayne to just 104 yards on the ground and 70 through the air.
Jalen Williams paced Rayne with 12 carries for 62 yards while Leger had 29 yards on nine carries. Leger also completed three passes for 70 yards.
“Going into last night, we knew it was going to be strength on strength - their running game against our run defense,” said Arceneaux. “We felt like we’ve played really good run defense all year. It was what they do best against what we do best and that was what was going to dictate who won the game.
“Defensively, our kids stepped up to the challenge. They took it personally and they wanted to shut them down and we did that. Without a doubt, that was the key to the game.”
The victory sets up a crucial two-game stretch to end the regular season for Church Point. The Bears travel to Livonia (7-1, 2-1) next week before theyclose out the season at home against Eunice.
“Of course we want to go to Livonia and we want to win, but tonight’s victory guarantees our kids, no matter what happens next week, we’re going to play for at least a share of the district championship in Week 10,” said Arceneaux.