Gents look to spoil Rayne Homecoming
By Chris Quebodeaux
CROWLEY – It may not be a district contest like in past seasons, but tonight’s matchup between Crowley High and Rayne is a huge game for both teams nonetheless.
For Crowley High, it’s a chance to improve to 4-1 on the season before jumping into league play next week. For Rayne, it’s an opportunity to do the same and end a frustrating 0-4 start.
“This is our last non-district game so I guess it’s kind of our last tuneup before we get into district play,” said CHS coach Tommy Tate. “When you get into district play, things happen a lot faster, there’s a lot more at stake and it’s a lot more intense. Add to that, it is Rayne, it is their Homecoming and it is a rivalry between Rayne and Crowley.”
The Gents have had a long-standing rivalry with the Wolves even before the two teams were matched up together in District 5-AAA nearly 10 years ago. It is a rivalry Tate is more than happy to continue.
“This is a rivalry that I really think is healthy for both communities,” said Tate. “It’s great that we continue to play them. It’s a game that needs to be played. The players know each other, the coaches know each other, we are very familiar with each other and it makes for a great night of football.”
Rivalry and Homecoming aside, the game is much bigger from Rayne’s standpoint.
The Wolves are still in search of their first victory of the 2009 campaign and that has Tate a bit leery.
“The film doesn’t lie. You can see these guys are playing good football,” said Tate of Rayne, which lost 9-6 to Church Point last Friday and 7-0 to Beau Chene two weeks ago. “They are a very dangerous team and they are hungry for that first win.”
Rayne’s offense has averaged just over 181 yards and 10 first downs a game during its four-game skid with most of that yardage coming on the ground.
Brody Bourque leads the Wolves’ ground attack with 232 yards and one touchdown on 50 carries while Dylan Ware has 39 totes for 172 yards. Quarterback Tyler Venable follows with 23 carries for 73 yards. Venable has also completed 12 passes for 111 yards.
“They (Rayne) are really doing a good job of controlling the football and moving the chains,” said Tate. “They’ve predominately gone to the wing-T offense, which is hard to prepare for because of the simple fact that you don’t really get the speed of it or the execution of it with your scout team as you do when you show up on Friday nights.
“They are a ball control offense and they probably have one of the best punters in the area. The Venable kid is an excellent punter so they can play the field position game with you and win most of those.”
Defensively, the Wolves have given up just over 200 total yards per outing. They limited Church Point’s potent ground attack to just 191 yards and eight first downs a week ago and they held both Beau Chene and Welsh to under 200 yards in the previous two weeks.
“Defensively, they really haven’t given up a whole lot except for the opener against Rosepine,” said Tate. “They have really played three solid football games and could have won any of the four games that they played.”
Crowley High has also been solid after dropping its first game of the season to Eunice. The Gents have steadily improved on both sides of the football and that has Tate feeling pretty good about his squad.
“We really have made some strides,” said Tate. “The biggest challenge is to continue to improve before we get into district play. We’ve talked to our players about remaining focused regardless of what just happened on the field and try to give as much effort and intensity as we can, play by play. Good teams develop an attitude of playing one play at a time and giving maximum effort with a lot of intensity.”
Last week, the Gents had their most productive game offensively, racking up 305 total yards in a 28-26 victory over Peabody. The majority of those yards were through the air with quarterback D’Myrus Daniels connecting on 12 of his 20 pass attempts for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
“That’s something we need to build on,” said Tate of his team’s pass attack. “We had some success throwing the ball in the first half. We didn’t throw as much in the second half because we didn’t really feel like we needed to. But if teams are going to stack up the box and try to shut us down running the ball, we are going to have to be efficient throwing the football.”
Although the Gents dominated the first half of play against Peabody, Tate will be looking for a complete game performance this week.
“Rayne is going to win some football games,” said Tate. “They are just too talented and too big and strong. They have some big boys and it will be hard for us to get some movement with our offensive front against them. It’s going to be a big challenge for our football team.”