AIRBOURNE TACKLE - Rayne High’s Marlon Forman (23) makes an airbourne tackle during the Wolves’ 41-16 loss to Welsh High School in the 2018 season opener. The Wolves will travel to Lake Charles Friday when they face Lake Charles College Prep. (Acadian-Tribune Photo by Lisa Soileaux)
Welsh Greyhounds out-run Rayne Wolves in season opener
RAYNE - Both the Rayne High Wolves and Welsh High Greyhounds are coming off one of the best football seasons enjoyed by the schools -- the Wolves finishing their 2017 season one game shy of the 4A state finals and the Greyhounds bringing home the 2A state championship -- and both had something to prove Friday evening during the opening game of the 2018 season.
“We are basically falling short in playing fundamental football,” stated Rayne High Head Coach Curt Ware following their opening 41-16 loss to the Greyhounds.
“We have a bunch of young, inexperienced guys on the field right now,” Ware continued, “especially on our line. And tonight, that’s where they (Welsh) hurt us. They hit our seams fast and hard and the yards piled up for them.”
“Taking nothing away from Welsh, they’re a very good ball club.” Ware noted. “When you win state and have your entire offensive line returning, you’re going to be good. And they showed that tonight.”
Rayne traveled down I-10 for the opening match-up, giving Welsh the home field advantage, with the Greyhounds taking that advantage on their very first drive of the night.
Wolves kicker Morgan Manuel opened action with a deep kickoff, placing Welsh on their 35-yard line. Eight plays and 65 yards later, the Greyhounds were up 7-0, that quick.
But, Rayne proved they came to play also, scoring on their very first drive of the night. The 67-yard scoring drive saw Darion Senegal open Rayne’s running game with a short gainer up the middle, followed by a John Daigle run. Sophomore Collin LaCombe settled into his new quarterback position early as he found last year’s quarterback Darian Richard for a clean completion for a 70-yard touchdown. Manuel split the uprights for the extra point and a 7-all ballgame midway through the first quarter.
The Greyhounds pulled out front for good on their next drive from 72 yards out, posting a 14-7 lead with five minutes still remaining in the opening quarter of action.
Rayne closed the first quarter of action with runs by Richard and Zach Fontenot, setting up a 60-yard touchdown run by Daigle. The extra point was just wide and the Greyhounds held a 14-13 lead as the first quarter closed.
Welsh opened the second quarter with a 60-yard kickoff return by Austyn Benoit for a quick touchdown. The point after was good and the Greyhounds increased their lead, 21-13.
Welsh closed out the first half with a touchdown run by Alec Iguess for a 28-13 Welsh lead for the halftime break.
The lone score for the Wolves in the second half of play came on the foot of Manuel as he nailed a 34-yard field goal to open the third quarter of play, but the Greyhounds still held the lead at 28-16.
The Greyhounds answered in the third quarter with a score of their own, a touchdown run by Austyn Benoit for a 34-16 Welsh lead as the fourth and final quarter began.
The lone score in the final quarter of action was another touchdown run by Benoit for the 41-16 finale and Welsh win.
“When you pile up 319 offensive yards, you would expect a win,” stated Ware following Friday’s ballgame. “But, when you have a team like Welsh who puts up over 500 offensive yards, there’s no way. But when you have three new guys at the line like we do this year, your opponents will find a way this early in the season.”
The Greyhounds tallied 536 total offensive yards, most of that coming on the ground with 491 rushing yards led by Iguess with 257 rushing yards on 22 carries.
Rayne runners were led by John Daigle with 18 carries for 147 rushing yards. Fontenot added 38 yards on nine carries, and Richard was seven for 21 yards.
LaCombe was getting his fell at quarterback with five of eight completions for 109 yards. His receivers were Richard (3-for-96 yards) and Fontenot (2-for-13 yards).
Marlon Forman led the Rayne defense with tackles with eight including four solos and eight assists.
Tyler Fontenot and Jamarcus Monroe each tallied six tackles on the night, followed closely by Ron Roberts, Zach Fontenot and Dylan Istre with four each. Fontenot also nabbed an interception.
The Wolves will hit the road once again Friday towards Lake Charles where they will face Lake Charles College Prep. Kickoff is 7 p.m.