Playing at home Friday night was a new experience for the 2021 Lakeview High School Gators football team.
Unfortunately, the Gators ran into the same troubles they encountered in their opening loss two weeks ago and visiting Rayville pulled away to post a 32-6 non-district victory over LHS.
The Gators (1-2) fell behind early, battled throughout, but faltered frequently when they had good chances to score, said coach Brandon Helms.
“The opening of the game was a microcosm of how it went for us. We got behind the chains with a penalty, that stalled the drive, and we had to punt. They got a long punt return, then we held them on four downs inside the 1 – but got a penalty and they were able convert and score the touchdown on the extra play.”
Lakeview (1-2) moved the ball well enough to win, except when it was close to scoring. The same storyline dogged the Gators in their opening 22-6 loss at Tensas.
“We just once again stalled out in the red zone,” said Helms. “We had four trips in the red zone, no points, because of either a first or second-down penalty, a mishandled exchange whether it was a snap or a handoff. It was just sloppy play that we have to clean up.
“Our kids competed all night. They played hard. I’m proud of them. They’re young, and inexperienced, and having to learn how to play on the fly. We’re limited athletically, which we realize, and we’re short on numbers, so we lack depth. Rayville dressed out 62 last night, and we had half that. We had eight guys playing both ways, and they had none. At the end, they wore us down and kind of stretched it out.”
Rayville (2-1), whose only loss was a first-week COVID forfeit, has now scored 82 points in its two wins.
The Gators have shown they’re capable. They just have to convert.
“We’re capable of winning games like that, despite the disadvantages,” he said. “It’s a matter of learning to be consistent play after play. We got big plays in our win (40-0 last week at Beekman Charter) but haven’t been able to take the ball and drive it into the end zone. We can move it, but we’ve had breakdowns that have kept us from getting on the scoreboard.”
The next chance to cash in comes at home next week against Menard (0-3), a hard-fought 31-17 loser at home to St. Mary’s on Friday night.
“Hopefully we can get over that hump here next Friday night. It’ll be two teams hungry for a win, that’s for sure,” Helms said.
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