Rayne High quarterback Darrian Richard (1) makes a handoff to running back Johnny Deculit (14) during the Wolves' 35-21 quarterfinal win over Cecilia High. The Wolves will travel to Mandeville on Friday for a state 4A semifinal contest against Lakeshore. (Acadian-Tribune Photo by Lisa Soileaux)
Wolves tame Bulldogs with 37-21 quarterfinal win
RAYNE - For the first time since 1975 when the Wolves were state runners-up, Rayne High will advance to the state semi-finals next week, coming on the heels of Friday’s 35-21 quarterfinal win over Cecilia.
“This is the biggest game I’ve ever won as a head coach,” stated Rayne High Head Coach Curt Ware following his Wolves’ 35-21 quarterfinal win over Cecilia. “I was coordinator of two ‘Dome teams while I was at Eunice, but this is big, not just for me, but for the players and the school.
“Think of it -- since 1975 a Rayne High football team has not advanced to where we are now. This is a pretty big win.”
Friday’s football game was a game of mometum, each team taking turns reaching their endzone throughout the night; but, with Rayne High taking control early on in the contest.
The Wolves drove down the field for a touchdown on their very first possession of the ballgame with an 82-yard drive in unusual Rayne High style -- in the air.
Following a number of short gainers by running backs Darien Harmon and Trent Winbush, a 32-yard pass completion from Darrian Richard was on target to Winbush near midfield as he ran in Rayne’s first touchdown of the night. Morgan Manuel booted the extra point for a quick 7-0 Rayne lead.
Rayne’s defense stepped up on Cecilia’s next possession seeing the Bulldogs with a three and out behind tackles by Wolves John Daigle, Tyler Fontenot, Tony Roberts, Johnny Deculit and Trent Winbush.
Rayne’s very next drive saw Winbush and Deculit set up a Harmon touchdown run for another Wolves’ touchdown in the first quarter. Manuel’s extra point saw Rayne extend their lead to 14-0 as the first quarter clock down.
The second half saw Rayne attempt a 42-yard fieldgoal. But, the attempt was wide left and the Bulldogs began a series of odd plays and turnovers for their first score of the ball game.
Cecilia’s drive began at their own 20-yard line and was halted with a goal-line stance by a number of tackles by the Rayne defense.
On fourth and three at the three-yard line, Tyreece Beverly made a solid tackle with Rayne looking down a long field.
Deep in their own territory, the Wolves couldn’t move the ball and was forced to punt, resulting in a block and a first and goal for the Bulldogs. It took Dein Briscoe one touch to find the endzone for the Bulldogs’ first score. The point after saw Cecilia tighten the Rayne lead, 14-7.
From the kickoff return by Winbush just past midfield, Richard took to the air once again for a completion over Deculit’s right shoulder for a 62-yard touchdown completion. Manuel split the uprights once again for a 21-7 Rayne lead.
However, the first half ended on a good note for the Bulldogs as Kaleb Carter took Manuel’s kickoff 76 yards for a Cecilia score. The extra point saw the halftime score with a slim 21-14 Rayne lead.
The halftime break seemed to give the Bulldogs a little more spring in their step as they wrapped up their first drive with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Landon Lalonde to Kain Guidry. The extra point saw the score all tied up at 21 with a lot of ballgame remaining.
The Wolves opened the fourth quarter with a two rushes by Harmon, capped with a 70-yard touchdown completion from Richard to Collin Broussard as Deculit saw the trainer’s table with ankle injury. The extra point saw Rayne pull ahead 28-21 as the fourth quarter continued.
As the clock wound down as each team limited to three-and-outs, Winbush saw a seam provided by Rayne’s offensive line as he raced midfield for a 43-yard touchdown run and a 35-21 Rayne lead with the extra point.
With seven minutes remaining in the ballgame, Cecilia began a promising drive from their own 25-yard line. The Rayne defense held strong with a QB sack by Antonio Gabriel and Jamien Evans, along with two passes swatted away by Harmon before the Bulldogs reached striking distance at the Wolves’ 20-yard line.
With time runnng out, Bulldog quarterback Lalonde tossed a rainbow pass intended for Kaleb Carter inside the five yard line that was intercepted by Harmon, giving Rayne possession and the quarterfinal win.
“We both came in here tonight with two totally different game plans,” stated Ware following the Rayne win. “But what really contolled this game was momentum. Even though we were never behind tonight, our guys had to be reminded that we were still winning and to pick their heads up and play the game like they know how.
“Offensively, we ran the ball like we needed to and even hit our targets in the air on a few plays, Ware continued.”
Leading Rayne rushing on the night was Trent Winbush with 28 carries for 190 yards and a touchdown.
Harmon recorded 15 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown, while Deculit’s night was cut short with four carries for 17 yards. Darion Senegal also donated a three-yard run.
Wolf quarterback Darrian Richard completed four passes for a 168 yards and three touchdowns.
Rayne receivers were Collin Broussard with a 70-yard touchdown reception, Johnny Deculit for a 63-yard TD reception, and Trent Winbush with a 35-yard TD reception.
“Considering they were facing a team playing an offense they basically never saw this season,” stated Ware about his defense and the win, “they really played well and adjusted as they needed to as the game progressed.”
Leading Rayne tacklers were Jamarcue Monroe and Tyreece Beverly each with 7.5 tackles on the night. Tony Roberts tallied seven tackles, while Trent Winbush recorded five along with a tackle for a loss, as did John Daigle, Jamien Evans and Marlon Foreman.
Completing the Rayne defending stats were Antonio Gabriel, Darien Harmon, Ron Roberts, Canaan Olivier, Johnny Deculit and Morgan Manuel.
The Wolves will take a long trip on Friday to Mandeville where they will meet No. 2-ranked Lakeshore in the 4-A semifinals. Lakeshore defeated No. 7-ranked Neville in the quarters.