RAYNE — With two sophomores and a senior transfer in his offensive backfield, there might have been some initial uncertainties for Rayne coach Curt Ware.
Any doubts Ware might have had about the potential of his Wing-T offense have been cast aside with a backfield that has three 1,000-yard performers as the Wolves enter the Class 4A state playoffs.
Sophomore quarterback Jaylon Reed has thrown for 1,067 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Senior fullback John Michael Besse has rushed for 1,052 yards and 14 touchdowns, while sophomore tailback Deontrey Wilridge has run for 1,037 and eight touchdowns.
In other words, which option will it be when defending Rayne?
Sometimes people misjudge the Wing-T as a basic offense, but that’s not the case with Rayne this season.
“In the Wing T that can happen,” Ware said. “With the guys we have back there, it has kept teams from loading up on just one guy or putting nine in the box.”
Ware said Besse, who played at Notre Dame-Crowley before transferring to Rayne last spring, has been particularly versatile.
Besse has 20 receptions for 261 yards, something Ware said has created another concern for defenses.
“In my 10 years here, this is probably the first time we have been so balanced,” Ware said. “(Besse) can catch it as well as run it, so people know we can also throw coming out the backfield.”
Besse practiced with Rayne during the spring and said the transition from being an I-back at Notre Dame wasn’t that much of an adjustment.
“It wasn’t too hard,” Besse said. “I have a pretty good football IQ.
“At Notre Dame, as an I-back, it was pretty much about hitting the hole quickly. In (the Rayne offense) it’s more about being patient and waiting for the blocks to set up.”
Any doubts Besse might have had about adjusting were erased when he ran for 233 yards in Week 1 against St. Edmund.
After playing football for Notre Dame, Besse said there was still an adjustment process.
“I was kind of apprehensive at first,” Besse said. “It was a new atmosphere, new people. I already knew some of the people on the team, and I adjusted to things quickly.”
“At Notre Dame, John Michael was mostly downhill,” Ware said. “He has done so much for us and has really developed into that all-purpose back that makes us more flexible.”
Ware said Reed, the son of former LSU and NFL wide receiver Josh Reed, was the quarterback for a Rayne junior varsity team that finished last year undefeated.
“He’s a natural; he’s a gamer,” Ware said. “He just turned 15 and (Reed) sees the field real well. He’s smart with the football, and he makes good decisions.”
Ware said Reed’s passing has been proficient in play-action situations, three-step drops and isolation plays where he throws out the backfield.
Wilridge, Ware said, also brings some versatility.
“He was also part of that good freshman class that we had, and he’s compact at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds,” Ware said.