Coming into Friday nights matchup, Leesville was riding a two-game losing streak – the first since 2016 – and was struggling on both sides of the ball.
The Wampus Cats found some answers in Week 8, defeating Bolton 47-20 in sloppy and wet conditions for a homecoming victory.
"I've coached a lot of football games, and this one ranks up there because of the way our kids responded to the adversity," Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "The way we've played the last couple of weeks is not finishing. We didn't play well. There were tough conditions. It was homecoming and who knows how much it rained. The kids responded. Bolton does a good job at what they do."
The Leesville defense struggled early but pitched a shut out in the second half after some adjustments at half.
"In the second quarter, I figured out that we were misaligned," Causey said. "We weren't lining up right. We were too wide, so they were getting angles out of what they do. It was just move here and stay here. It cleaned up our fits, and the kids played better. It wasn't really an adjustment, it was just move here."
The Wampus Cats took an early 7-0 lead on an 18-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Mount to tight end Noah Allain.
However, Bolton answered with a 71-yard touchdown run by Adavion Sanders to make it 7-6.
The Wampus Cats and Bears traded touchdowns to make it 13-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Leesville receiver Darius Sawyer scored two touchdowns – one rushing and one receiving – in the second quarter to give Leesville a 25-20 lead at halftime.
"We had a couple of turnovers, but what I didn't see was bad body language," Causey said. "The kids kept each other pumped up and there were no heads hanging. Kids were supporting each other on the sidelines. That's a victory. Yeah, we won the game, but I saw kids respond to adversity the way that makes you proud."
The Wampus Cats defense took over from there, forcing two three-and-outs and allowing just two first downs in the second half.
Sawyer added a touchdown run in the third and fourth quarters, and Lane Self capped off the game with a 11-yard touchdown score.
Sawyer ran for six times for 79 yards and three touchdowns and caught a pass for a 44-yard touchdown.
D'Ante Gallashaw led Leesville with 16 carries for a game-high 117 yards.
"We felt like with what they did, we took what they gave us," Causey said. "We don't let adverse conditions affect our passing games. We're still going to run and pass it. I thought our skill kids responded. Honestly, I thought our whole team responded."
The Wampus Cats go on the road to take on Northwood next week in Shreveport.
"We still have chinks in the armor and things we have to overcome, but to see the kids respond the way they did was great," Causey said. "We still have to go to the drawing board. We are facing a perennial quarterfinal team in Class 4A next week. The challenges keep increasing."