LAKE CHARLES — The Rayne High School football team will have to wait at least another week to earn its first win of the season, as it suffered a 27-19 defeat Friday at the hands of St. Louis at Cougar Stadium in Lake Charles.
Despite a number of first-half mistakes that gave St. Louis (2-0) the early advantage, Rayne (0-2) found itself with a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter but failed to convert a two-point conversion.
Rayne coach Curt Ware said he is not worried about his young team’s slow start, because despite the 0-2 record, he feels it is learning quickly.
“We’re young and hurt,” Ware said. “We have six sophomores starting, our entire secondary was second-team, our fullback is hurt, our tailback got hurt in the first half. We have some guys out there learning on the run.
“I do feel like we’re getting better. That’s two tough losses to start our season. Last week we lost in overtime. We just have to keep working and getting better.”
The Wolves burst out of the gate when running back Darien Harmon found an opening and beat the defense for a 74-yard touchdown run on the opening drive to give Rayne a 7-0 lead.
But even though Rayne’s defense did not allow a score in the first half, the Wolves found themselves trailing 12-7 at halftime after St. Louis recovered a blocked punt in the end zone in the first quarter and Saints defender Jaymon Levy returned an interception 22-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
“I told them before the game that the two things that will decide this game were turnovers and special teams,” Ware said. “(If we prevented) those two plays, it could have been a different game.”
Rayne regained the lead in the third quarter with a 4-yard run by quarterback Jaylon Reed that put the Wolves up 13-12, but St. Louis went back on top 20-13 early in the fourth with a 14-yard run by running back Colby Rodriguez, followed by a two-point conversion.
After converting on fourth down thanks in large part to a forward fumble that went out of bounds, Rayne managed to find the end zone one more time with just more than three minutes remaining in the game to bring them within a point.
But instead of opting for the extra point to tie the game, the Wolves went for a two-point conversion. The designed pass play was broken up, and St. Louis all but sealed it on the first play of the ensuing drive when Rodriguez ran the ball 70 yards for the final score of the game.
“Whether you win or lose, when you go back to work on Monday you have to have the same attitude regardless,” Ware said. “I know it’s tough for kids to see that sometimes, but that’s how you get better. Just because you’re 2-0 doesn’t mean you’re going to play better next week, just like if you’re 0-2 it doesn’t mean you’re going to play worse next week.”
Rayne will look for its coveted first win next Friday when it returns home to take on Breaux Bridge.