Battle of the Eagles, Rusk hosts Fairfield

by Josie Fox

The stands were filled with red and black as hundreds of Rusk Eagle supporters attended the first regular game of the season at Jim Swink Field on Friday night.

Game play began with Rusk kicking off to Fairfield that ended in a fumble on the Fairfield 49-yard line that was recovered by Rusk. Rusk managed to move the ball to their 50-yard line by the fourth down, with the black and red Eagles punting to the maroon and yellow Eagles and Fairfield gaining control of the ball on their own 34-yard line.

Rusk #50 Nick Acker came in on the next play with a tackle for loss and Fairfield maintaining control of the ball on their 44-yard line. Over the next several plays, Fairfield was able to make it to the Red Zone and with just eight minutes left in the first quarter they secured the first touchdown of the game. Fairfield #28 Max Macbean completed a good PAT, bringing the score to 7-0.

Although Rusk was able to make downs and move the ball down the field, they were unable to complete a play and with just three minutes to go in the first quarter, Rusk turned possession over on downs. Fairfield had control of the ball on their own 35-yard line.

Fairfield took advantage of the possession and completed another touchdown and PAT, leaving the game score at 14-0 going into the second quarter of play. With 11 minutes left in the quarter and first half of the game, Fairfield secured their third touchdown and successful PAT of the night and brought the score to 21-0.

Fairfield was on their third down, with the ball on Rusk’s 35-yard line when Rusk #5 Joseph McGowan intercepted a pass and Rusk had possession of the ball on their own 2-yard line. Following a minute of game play, Rusk punted to Fairfield and Fairfield had control of the ball on the Rusk 9-yard line.

Fairfield turned possession over on downs with just six minutes left in the first half. Rusk answered back in a big way as #20 Alex Jones ran 97-yards and scored Rusk’s first touchdown of the night. Rusk attempted a two point conversion, but were unsuccessful.

Rusk kicked off to Fairfield, who had possession of the ball on their own 40-yard line. With four minutes to go, Fairfield was at fourth down on their 36-yard line and preparing to punt. Rusk #14 Jaden Rushing swopped in to block the punt and followed up with a 9-yard rushing touchdown. Rusk #4 Jaylon Hall completed a pass to #15 Sean Rogers, marking a successful two point conversion, shrinking the gap in the score by seven points. Neither team were able to find their way across the plane for the remaining portion of the first half, and went into halftime with a score of 21-14 in favor of Fairfield.

Rusk started off the third quarter strong with McGowan completing a 90-yard kick return for a touchdown. Following a failed two point conversion, the game score was 21-20, Fairfield in the lead by just one point.

Fairfield answered back with a 45-yard rushing touchdown and successful PAT, increasing their score to 28 points.

With 10 minutes to go in the third quarter, Fairfield recovered a Rusk fumble and by the first down had moved the ball 20 yards downfield. Rusk #20 Alex Jones moved in for a sack and left Fairfield attempting a field goal on the Rusk 14-yard line. Rusk once again gained control of the ball following the unsuccessful field goal attempt by Fairfield.

Possession once again returned to Fairfield with just six minutes left in the third quarter and they completed a rushing touchdown. The touchdown was followed by a failed PAT making the game score 34-20. Possession changed hands between Rusk and Fairfield several more times in the third quarter without either team making any additional scoring plays.

Fourth quarter play opened up with Fairfield scoring an additional six points for a completed rushing touchdown. This play left Fairfield with a 20 point lead over Rusk.

Rusk, determined to once again close the gap, completed a 30-yard touchdown pass from #1 Landon Gates to Rogers. Rusk then rushed for, and completed, a two point conversion and brought their score up to 28 points.

Rusk kicked off to Fairfield with nine minutes left in the game. Fairfield steadily kept the ball moving down field and once again found their way to the end zone. A touchdown and successful PAT brought the score to 47-28.

With just one minute left in the game, Rusk # 2 Brennen Lucien completed a 40-yard touchdown punt return. A failed two point conversion brought Rusk’s score up to 34 points and a final game score of 47-34, Fairfield win.

The Eagles will travel to Athens on Sept. 6 to face off against the Hornets with game play beginning at 7:30 p.m.