Rayne rallies late to force tie in annual spring game

RAYNE - The final score might not have been what either coach hoped for but the overall outcome pleased them both.

A late touchdown by Rayne allowed the Wolves to salvage a 21-21 tie against Iota in the two teams’ spring game Friday.

“A tie is not what you want but it’s a whole lot better than a loss,” said Rayne High coach Curt Ware following the contest. “I’m very pleased offensively. I’m pleased overall but right now, we’ve got to get better on defense.”

Iota coach Marcus LeJeune was also pleased with what he saw out of his Bulldogs.

“I thought we had a lot of bright spots tonight,” said LeJeune. “I thought we had a lot of encouraging things that we saw out there. This is the first time I’ve been into a game situation in the spring where there was no 15-play format. I thought we got a lot more out of this than we do in 15 plays.”

One of LeJeune’s bright spots was Brett Broussard. The sophomore running back carried the bulk of the load for the Bulldogs, carrying 22 times for 158 yards and one touchdown. His lone scoring scamper was from 36 yards out in the third quarter.

“The more Brett ran, it seemed the stronger he got,” said LeJeune. “I thought he ran well. He had a great game. He saw the holes real well and he cut up when he needed to.”

Rayne also showcased a talented running back in Antonio Wheeler. The shifty tailback also totaled 22 carries, picking up 152 yards while scoring once. His 31-yard touchdown run gave the Wolves a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

“Everybody is wondering how we are going to replace Broc Menard. I’m not saying he’s Broc Menard but I’ll tell you what, he’s not far behind him,” said Ware of Wheeler. “He’s not quite as fast as Broc is, but he runs real hard and he’s got some good quickness.”

Wheeler carried 10 times in the first half for 85 yards as the Wolves racked up six first downs.

With the score tied at 7-7 in the third, Rayne’s Zack Quebedeaux scored on a three-yard run. However, the PAT was wide right, leaving Rayne with a 13-7 advantage.

Broussard broke free on a 36-yard scoring scamper three minutes later before Trenton Pickett’s PAT gave Iota it’s first lead of the game at 14-13.

A big defensive stand by Iota followed. The Bulldogs forced the Wolves to punt after gaining just one yard on their next series.

“We had to adjust to game speed and that was a big part of our slow start,” said LeJeune of Iota’s defense from the first half to the second. “It’s hard to simulate that (game speed) in practice. Our guys got a little winded early on but once they settled in to that game speed, we were alright.”

Iota took advantage of the big defensive stand on its ensuing possession. The Bulldogs drove 68 yards in 11 plays before capping the drive with a fourth down, 11-yard touchdown pass from Chad Abshire to Pickett. Pickett’s PAT put the Bulldogs up 21-13 with 5:54 remaining in the game.

Iota had a chance to put the game away with a little over two minutes remaining but a fumble recovered by Rayne near midfield gave the Wolves one last opportunity.

Rayne’s seized the opportunity when Tyler Venable hit Andrew Wynn for a 26-yard gain before Wheeler broke loose for 14 yards to set up first and goal from the 10.

Quebedeaux took over from there, carrying nine yards down to the one before scoring on the next play. Wheeler completed the two-point conversion to tie the game at 21-21 with 49 seconds remaining.

“I think we’ve turned the tables over here as far as not laying down when something like that happens,” said Ware of his team battling back after falling behind in the fourth quarter. “When I first got here, something like that, we would have just layed down. I don’t think we’ll do that anymore so that’s a great sign.”

Rayne finished the game with 273 total yards of offense and 13 first downs while Iota totaled 251 yards and 12 first downs. Iota also threw two interceptions and gave up two fumbles while Rayne was intercepted once and lost one fumble.

Wynn followed Wheeler with 33 yards on seven carries and Venable picked up 29 yards on five carries.

Abhsire was the Bulldogs second leading rusher with 63 yards on seven carries. Justin Benoit also recovered a fumble and had 12 yards on three carries.

Blaise LeJeune had one interception which he returned 57 yards for a touchdown.

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