Rayne cruises past Church Point
RAYNE – It seemed like déjà vu when the Rayne Wolves squared off against the Church Point Bears in the first round of the LHSAA Class 3A playoffs Friday evening.
It was just a year ago that the two teams were in the same position, district rivals facing elimination in the first round of postseason play.
The best part of the rematch for Rayne fans was that it ended just like their 2011 matchup - with the Wolves winning, this time coming out on top, 42-8.
“We played well tonight,” said Rayne High head coach Curt Ware. “We had one of those games where we played hard and things fell in place for us.”
Rayne now moves on to the regional round on Friday when they will travel to Jackson to take on No. 22 seed East Feliciana. The Eagles knocked off No. 11 seed Caldwell, 22-6, Friday evening.
Church Point, which lost its starting quarterback for the year in the season opener, finished 6-5.
”We got beat tonight,” said Church Point coach John Craig Arceneaux, whose team had beaten the Wolves, 26-14, just three weeks prior in a district contest in Rayne. “We weren’t here mentally and Rayne wanted it more tonight.”
The Rayne defense set the tone early by forcing the Bears backward on their first possession and getting off the field in three plays.
Church Point’s punt set the Rayne offense up at the Bear 46. The Wolves wasted little time getting down the field on the legs of Jalen Williams and Trent Duhon, until Williams danced his way into the end zone from three yards out. Ty Delahoussaye split the uprights on the PAT, giving Rayne an early 7-0 lead.
The Bears took the ensuing kickoff and got a spark from junior tailback James Bellard,who took the handoff on the first play for a big 28-yard gain.
However, Rayne’s defense recovered and on third and eight, Wolf defender Christian Hodges got by his blocker to record a sack on Church Point quarterback Brett Richard for a nine-yard loss, forcing a punt.
Solid defense on both sides of the ball carried both teams through the first quarter and most of the way through the second until the Wolves began a drive at their own 28.
They marched down the field, converting on numerous third downs before quarterback Clarence Leger capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. Delahoussaye’s PAT split the uprights once again to push Rayne’s lead to 14-0 heading into the intermission.
The second half didn’t get much better for the Bears.
Rayne came out on offense and completely dominated the final two quarters.
A good return set Rayne up at its own 42 to start the third quarter and they Wolves didn’t look back from there.
Williams and Duhon carried the load on the ground, converting on third and even fourth downs before Leger called his own number and found his way into the end zone from eight yards out for a 21-0 lead.
Rayne’s defense came up with the next big play seconds later.
Rayne’s Andrew Broussard put pressure on Richard two plays into the Bears’ ensuing drive; which in turn, got the ball in the air and into the hands of RHS defensive back Grant Menard.
Church Point’s defensive unit had an answer though.
Shaquille Landry striped the ball from Rayne’s Trent Duhon and got a big return, that was aided by a face mask penalty at the end of the run, that set the Bears up at the Rayne 31-yard line.
Unfortunately for the Bears, they were unable to capitalize and ended up turning the ball over on downs after not gaining a single yard.
On the next play from scrimmage, Williams provided one of the biggest plays of the night when he took the handoff 69 yards for his second touchdown of the night to extend the lead to 28-0.
Rayne’s defense wasn’t done yet, however.
The Wolves created another turnover when Tyler Lejeune intercepted Richard again at the Bears’ 30-yard line as the quarter ended.
Again, Raynes offense took advantage of the miscue.
Duhon took the handoff on the next play and made up for his past mistake by carrying defenders for a first down at the Bears 8-yard line. After losing a yard and facing a third- and- goal, Javon Cormier turned the corner for the Wolves and walked into the end zone for his first score of the night. Dehahoussaye’s PAT gave the Wovles a 35-0 lead.
Another three and out forced by the Rayne defense gave the Wolves’ second string a chance to get in on the action. They stepped up to the challenge by moving the ball and putting together a 35 yard drive with Donavon Cormier scoring from two yards out.
The Bears finally got on the scoreboard and avoided the shut-out when Tyler Wheeler made his way through the defense for a 70-yard score. Casey Benoit then hit Jacques Benoit in the end zone to complete the two-point conversion and cap the scoring for the night.
Offensively, Church Point was held to just 137 total yards and four first downs.
Wheeler picked up the bulk of the yardage on the ground for the Bears with two carries for 77 yards and one touchdown. Bellard had seven carries for 25 yards and Trevor Breaux added five carries for 21 yards. Devin Landry picked up 11 yards on four carries.
Richard added 11 yards on two completions. He hit Deonta Larazon once for seven yards and Landry once for four.
Defensively, the Bears were led by Tedrick Citizen with 13 tackles while Breaux had 10. Chance Roy and Jaylen Kelly eah had eight stops on the night.
Rayne’s offense tallied 347 yards on the night, all of which came on the ground.
Williams led the charge with 160 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. He was followed by Duon with 94 yards on 18 carries while Leger added 37 yards on six carries.
Also contributing to the ground attack was Cormier (6-30, 1 TD), Byron Mouton (1-9), R.J. Buchanan (3-8), Donavon Cormier (3-6) and Dylan Soileaux (1-3).
Billy Marcante highlighted a spectacular defensive night for the Wolves with a 10-tackle performance. He was followed by Christina Hodges (7), Desmond Cole (4) and Brice Meche (4).
Grant Menard and Tyler LeJeune each recorded an interception for the Wolves.