With new players filling in roles for the Wampus Cats due to injuries, Leesville had some ups and downs against Rayne, but enough ups to go home with the win.
Leesville scored 27 points in the second quarter to defeat the Wolves 41-26.
"I thought our kids competed, from top to bottom," Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "We have a lot of injuries. At one time, we had three sophomores, a first-year senior and one freshman of offense for most of the second half. For really three-quarters of the game, we had those kids out there giving everything they have. Defensively, we were down to a first-year senior and a JV corner. We were starting three kids into the two linebackers that didn't have much varsity experience. Those guys that didn't have a lot of experience competed. Going into Rayne is a tough place to play."
The Wampus Cats had two players over 125 yards – D'Ante Gallashaw with 154 yards and Darius Sawyer with 132 yards.
"They're very versatile," Causey said. "They can play either of the backs in our three-back offense – tailback, fullback and the wing. They can play any of the three in any combination. We lost Jalen (Shepherd) for the year, and those two had to step it up a little more."
Rayne led 7-0 after the first quarter, but Leesville took advantage of turnovers including a blocked kick that was returned to the house by Darius Allen.
The blocked kick was set up by a Nigel McCoy, who ran down the Rayne back on a long run to prevent a touchdown, which led to the block.
"It was a tremendous effort," Causey said. "He went down with an injury on that play and didn't return, but I told him that it was the play of the game because if he didn't make that tackle, they score. He makes a tackle about a 50-yard gain and hold them.
"You're talking about a big swing from being down seven to being up seven, based on one outstanding effort."
Quarterback Jacob Mount ran in two scores on short yardage situations and found Duwon Tolbert for a 22-yard touchdown to give the Wampus Cats a 27-7 lead at halftime.
"(Mount) isn't going to win the 100-yard dash, but if you have a quarterback that can run the ball, it stretches the defense," Causey said. "There are several things that make you lose sleep at night about what opposing offenses can do. One of them is a running quarterback. We don't run him a lot, just when it's necessary."
At the 5:15 mark in the third quarter, Mount threw his second touchdown of the day with a 38-yard touchdown throw to Landon Roberts to increase the lead to 34-7.
However, Rayne would score three straight touchdowns to make it a one-score game with 5:28 left with an 8-yard touchdown by Darion Senegal.
"They're a senior-led team that made it to the semis last year," Causey said. "We got up on them, and they weren't going to quit. We opened the door for them."
With 58 seconds left in the game, Mount put it away with a 2-yard touchdown for the game's final touchdown.
"When the game was on the line, our guys rose up to the challenge," Causey said. "I guess that shows intestinal fortitude. Our kids said that we're not going to be denied on Friday night. We may not win every game, but our kids are going to play like they're not going to be denied."
The Wampus Cats take on Buckeye Thursday night as it tries to recover from multiple injuries on both sides of the ball.
"We need to get back to the basics," Causey said. "We have some kids playing new positions and trying to get better. We need to get back to fundamentals: tackling, who to block, protect the ball and try to get better. We have two weeks of football with teams that are going to run it right at you with Buckeye and Grant."