IOTA – For the first 17 minutes of Friday’s spring football game between Iota and Rayne, it appeared the visiting Wolves were going to have a long night on defense.
Trailing 20-6 with just three minutes remaining in the first half, the Wolves defense had not forced a punt or stopped an Iota drive.
Then the Wolves woke up on both sides of the football.
Rayne scored on a long touchdown pass to end the half and posted 12 unanswered points in the final two quarters to rally for a 24-20 victory over the Iota at Bulldog Stadium.
“We’re not real good on defense right now, but we’re real young,” said Rayne coach Curt Ware, whose team gave up 11 first downs and 286 total yards of offense in four 10 minute quarters. “We had one guy out there tonight with varsity experience. But we did play a little bit better in the second half.”
Ware’s offense, despite two turnovers, was the story of the second half.
The Wolves hit the field after the intermission and marched down to the Iota 1-yard line before quarterback Tyler Venable punched it in for the first score of the half to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 20-18.
“We kind of sputtered on offense and defense in the second half,” said Iota coach Marcus LeJeune, whose team gave up just 238 total yards of offense but allowed 16 first downs. “The numbers just kind of wore on us. We’re really not in game shape and we have a lot of new faces out here, especially in the secondary.”
Iota’s defense did thwart a potential scoring drive by Rayne midway through the fourth quarter when the Wolves drove down to the Iota 11-yard line but fumbled.
However, the Bulldogs failed to convert later in their offensive series and turned the ball over on downs with just under three minutes remaining.
Venable then took over again, driving the Wolves down to the 11 before hitting Zack Heinen in the corner of the end zone for the game-winning touchdown with 18 seconds left on the clock.
“Tyler threw the ball well tonight,” said Ware of his quarterback, who completed six of his seven pass attempts for 110 yards and two touchdowns. “He’s a second-year starter and he wasn’t bad last year. I think he’s improved and he’s making a jump which is going to help us.”
Venable’s other passing touchdown was a 59-yard strike to Myles Pryor with 59 seconds remaining in the first half. He also rushed for 34 yards and two touchdowns, both from one yard out.
Aaron Chaisson led the Wolves’ ground attack with 21 carries for 144 yards and Dylan Ware had eight carries for 44 yards.
Iota got a solid performance from its backfield with all 286 yards coming on the ground.
Brett Broussard highlighted the night with a 53-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He finished with 14 carries for 145 yards.
Trey St. Andre followed Broussard with 13 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns. St. Andre scored on runs of 3 and 5 yards, both in the second quarter. John Simar also had seven carries for 63 yards.