Gents rally late to shock rival Rayne
CROWLEY – With just over two minutes to go and trailing by two (48-46), the Crowley Gents needed a break in a big way in their showdown with the Rayne Wolves Thursday.
Luckily, the Gents caught that break in just the nick of time.
On third-and-1 from the RHS 42-yard line, Rayne quarterback Tyler LeJeune mishandled the snap from center and the ball hit the ground. An alert Jerry Dregin quickly recovered the loose pigskin and the Gents had their break and a fighting chance.
And they didn’t let it slip away.
Following a pair of runs by Chris Lewis and a pass to Jacq’Co Price, quarterback Pate Broussard connected with Terrell Thomas in the end zone on a 14-yard strike to give the Gents a thrilling 52-48 come-from-behind victory that boosted the Gents to 5-3 overall and, more importantly, 2-2 in District 4-4A.
“We finally caught a break; this year, we finally caught a break,” said CHS coach Josh Fontenot of the fumble recovery that set up the game-winning drive. “We get the ball back and you kind of think you have to go into the two-minute drill, but we had been throwing the ball well all night. With the way our quarterback and receivers had been playing, it was an easy call. We saw something there that we liked, we took a shot and it worked.”
For Rayne, which fell to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in district play, the loss was even more heartbreaking considering the fact that they stopped themselves with the fumbled snap.
“I really feel like if we don’t fumble the snap right there, we have a chance to run the clock out,” said RHS coach Curt Ware, whose team racked up 391 yards on the ground and 21 first downs. “If it’s a forced fumble, it’s one thing. But a fumbled snap, that’s bad.
“You can’t make mistakes like that against a good football team.”
The ending of the game was just the icing on the cake in a contest that was thrilling for fans, but had each coach pulling their hair out at times.
From big plays on the ground and through the air, to penalties negating touchdowns, the contest had a little bit of everything.
“It was probably fun to watch, but it wasn’t much fun to coach,” said Ware. “It was two really good offenses, but it was also two bad defenses to go with it.”
The two teams combined for 122 plays, 100 points, 44 first downs and 967 total yards of offense on the night.
“That was the most fun football game I’ve ever been a part of, maybe ever in my career,” said Fontenot. “Just two very good football teams, who didn’t play any defense tonight, but played with heart... You can’t ask for a better high school football game.”
Fontenot was quick to praise Ware and his Wolves.
“That was an amazing game,” he said. “I would have been proud of my team if we would have lost because we played a great team. But I’m so proud of the win and the way we won.”
Offensively, the Gents got a phenomenal performance from Broussard, who had a career night throwing the ball. The sophomore quarterback completed 18 of 28 pass attempts for 345 yards and seven touchdowns.
“Our pass defense left a lot to be desired tonight,” said Ware. “We didn’t cover anybody. The screen killed us; we just didn’t do a good job.”
Broussard connected with Thomas eight times for 165 yards and two touchdowns and hit Price five times for 79 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also found Ty’Von Griffin for a 53-yard touchdown and Dregin on a 20-yard scoring strike. Lewis had two receptions for 17 yards and a touchdown.
“We had a feeling that we could throw it on them and we were able to complete some passes tonight,” said Fontenot. “Pate Broussard, I mean my God, you saw a kid grow up tonight. He threw three picks last week and then he comes and plays like this! I can’t say enough about him.
“And our receivers, man, those are some young kids and they were playing like grown men tonight.”
Rayne, on the other hand, did most of its damage on the ground.
And the Wolves did so behind senior running back Trent Duhon, who picked up 265 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. Byron Mouton added 78 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while Javon Cormier had seven carries for 46 yards. LeJeune added a touchdown on seven carries for one yard.
“Rayne has been rushing for 400 yards on everybody,” said Fontenot. “That fullback is as good as anyone we are going to play and Mouton ran wild.
“Realistically, we thought we needed three or four stops and we got them.”
The Gents were able to muster 146 yards on the ground. Lewis carried much of the load with 17 carries for 105 yards. Griffin, who spent much of his time at linebacker, had eight carries for 39 yards and Broussard picked up two yards on seven carries.
But it was the aerial assault that got things going for the Gents. It started when Broussard hit Thomas for a 16-yard touchdown strike early in the contest.
Rayne answered with a 3-yard touchdown run by Charles Jones before Broussard struck again, this time on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Price to give the Gents a 14-7 advantage.
Mouton broke free on a 53-yard touchdown run late in the half to tie the game at 14-14 and the fireworks weren’t over.
Bryston Domino returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown with 1:45 remaining in the half to give the Gents a 20-14 advantage after the extra point was blocked.
And Rayne had an answer again, taking a 21-20 lead on a 1-yard run by Duhon with 31 seconds left in the half.
Not to be outdone, the Gents went to the air again and hit pay dirt with four seconds left when Broussard hit Price on a 36-yard strike.
Rayne regained the lead in the second half on a 3-yard touchdown run by LeJeune and then following a muffed kickoff, LeJeune hit Travon Fontenot on a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the Wolves up 34-26 just three minutes into the third quarter.
Each team traded touchdowns to end the third quarter with Rayne scoring on a 34-yard by Duhon and Crowley on a 20-yard pass from Broussard to Dregin.
Chris Lewis added an 11-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter before Duhon tacked on an 8-yard touchdown run to give the Wolves a 48-39 advantage with 6:16 remaining in the game.
Broussard responded with a screen pass to Griffin that went for a 48-yard touchdown minutes before the Wolves’ fumbled snap set up the game-winning drive for the Gents.
Rayne had one last chance with just over a minute remaining, but their last-ditch effort on fourth down was thwarted by a Curtis Broxton interception with five seconds remaining.
“We needed this,” said Fontenot of the victory. “We haven’t guaranteed ourselves a playoff spot or anything like that, but we can move forward happily. We have five wins, it’s a big power-point win, and, heck, if we beat Eunice and we get some help, we could still be in the hunt for a district championship.
“You lose two games - a heartbreaker and one in which you got killed - you have a ton of injuries and ...
“How much character did these kids show tonight to come back and beat a team that is 6-1, that is good? I have never been prouder of our football team. This was awesome.”