Coach Curt Ware and the Rayne Wolves have gone from being stunned in the season’s second half to having the satisfaction of hosting a playoff game.
The Wolves enjoyed a five-game win streak to start the season, which was followed by a five-game slide. Their fans witnessed one more critical upswing: an opening-round playoff win over District 5-3A rival Church Point.
“Nobody gave us a chance versus Church Point ... and rightfully so,” said Ware. “Had we beaten Northwest (in Week 10), that would have put us somewhere else in the playoffs.”
However, Rayne was assigned a 10-mile trip to try to take down Church Point, which beat the Wolves 27-12 on Oct. 20.
“We had some plays where we ran the midline veer out of the shotgun, and we kept them off balance with the pass,” Ware said.
The reward for Rayne, which had last won a playoff game in 1997 when former LSU receiver Josh Reed was a high school senior, is the Wolves (6-5) are hosting Bossier (10-1) on Friday night.
“Bossier has a lot of speed,” Ware said. “They are not real physically imposing, but it’s a lot of speed. They run the Wing-T, so we are familiar with that. They are a 3-3 stack team on defense, so that will be a challenge.”
Rayne running back Jalen Williams has fueled the ground game, running for 1,151 yards on 149 carries. He has scored 13 touchdowns.
For Ware, who was the Eunice defensive coordinator a decade before coming to Rayne, this season has been satisfying.
“I told (Eunice) coach (Paul) Trosclair, 'I know we coached in the Dome. I know this is just the first round, but it’s up there,’ “ Ware said. “This first round was not playing for the state championship, but we had tons of injuries and kids stepped in and kept playing.”
Loreauville switches gears
When Lake Providence scored on its opening-drive to jump out to an 8-0 lead on Loreauville last week, the Tigers were able to adjust on the way to a 56-16 win.
“We just had to adjust to Lake Providence’s speed,” said Loreauville coach Trent Delahoussaye.
Now, the Tigers (9-2) will face a different challenge in the form of Episcopal’s size on the defensive line and at a wide receiver spot when Loreauville visits Episcopal (10-1) on Friday night.
“The (Tylor) Harris kid at defensive end is the best defensive lineman we have seen.” Delahoussaye said. “(Brian) Bridgewater is a good, physical wide receiver, We don’t match up with him well.”
Loreauville has been led by the running back tandem of Nick Julien and Jermaine Antoine, who combined for 232 yards and five touchdowns against Lake Providence.
“We have to throw the ball better than we have,” Delahoussaye said. “Episcopal’s defensive front is very good. We can’t just depend on Nick or Jermaine to run it.”