Pirates make Eagles walk the plank

by Josie Fox josie@thecherokeean.com

Rusk made the trip to Pittsburg on Friday night to face off against the Pirates. The Eagles have struggled to close their first win this season, but if they follow the same pattern as last year, the Eagles will dominate the field during district game play. The Pirates came into Friday’s game with a 2-3 record, boasting wins against Pine Tree and Kilgore. Although it was a low scoring game, it was action packed with the defensive line from both Rusk and Pittsburg working to keep the opposing team out of the red zone.

Rusk kicked off to Pittsburg with the Pirates gaining possession on their own 19-yard line. By fourth down and 10 minutes left to go in the first quarter, the Pirates had moved the ball to their own 27-yard line, but possession turned over to Rusk with the Pirates punting to the Eagles. Like the Pirates, the Eagles made it to fourth down, but following a false start on 4th and 8 and a timeout by Pittsburg, the Pirates once again gained control of the ball.

The Pirates Issam Toler made a long run, leaving Pittsburg with control on their own 43-yard line. The Eagles defensive line kept the Pirates in check, forcing a punt and Eagles getting the ball on their own 9-yard line.

The Rusk offensive line quickly moved the ball down field, putting them in perfect position for #15 Sean Rogers to make a 53-yard rushing touchdown. Although the attempted two-point conversion failed, the Eagles were able to take pride in being the first on the scoreboard.

With less than a minute left in the first quarter, a deep snap over the head of the punter put the ball in the end zone for an Eagle safety, bringing score to 8-0.

The last minute of the first quarter saw plenty of action. A facemask gave Rusk a first down, but a pass interference on the next play left the Eagles sitting at first and 20.

An interception by Pirate #10 Jamarian Hill opened them up for a chance to run across the plane, but the Pirates were unable to get past the Eagle defense and were forced to punt to Rusk with seconds remaining on the clock. The first quarter ended without either team throwing additional points on the scoreboard.

The first minutes of the second quarter played out like the first, with each team passing possession of the ball back and forth like a game of hot potato. With eight minutes left in the first half, the Pirates made their way across the plane with a 10-yard rushing touchdown. A successful PAT by #11 Giovanny Rojas brought the score to 8-7.

Both teams worked on moving the ball down the field, with each offensive line closing downs, but neither were able to score again in the second quarter. With less thank a minute left to play, Pittsburg opted to go for a pass to the end zone instead of a field goal. The pass was dropped as the clock ran out. The Eagles entered halftime in the lead by one point.

The third quarter began with Eagle possession of the ball. At the 11-minute mark an official timeout was called as Pittsburg #20 needed help getting off the field following an injury.

With nine minutes left in the third quarter the Pirates made it to the red zone and were sitting with possession inside the Rusk’s 20-yard line. As the Pirates were working on fourth down, Eagle #14 Jaden Rushing swept in and intercepted a Pittsburg pass, leaving the Eagles with possession on their own 9-yard line.

By fourth down the Eagles were able to move the ball to their 15-yard line, but turned over possession to the Pirates.

Pittsburg took full advantage of possession and despite a holding call, a timeout due to #53 being down and an Eagle pass interference, the Pirates made it across the plane and scored their second touchdown with less than a minute left in the quarter. A failed PAT had the Pirates showing a five-point lead as they went into the final quarter of game play.

A fake punt by the Eagles worked to their advantage in the top of the fourth quarter, gaining them access to the red zone. Rusk was able to make fourth down and move the ball to the Pittsburg 6-yard line, but inevitably turned over possession on downs.

With three minutes of game play showing on the clock, Pirates #22 Brayden Bolton rushed for 40-yards to gain another touchdown. Rojas completed a successful PAT, giving the Pirates a 12-point lead over the Eagles.

Following the two minute warning, Rusk had to call a timeout as #1 Landon Gates suffered an injury.

The Pirates gained control of the ball following a Eagle punt and began their treck downfield, moving the ball within Rusk’s 20-yard line. The game clock ran out before any additional plays were made. Pirates win, 8-20.

Rusk will have a bye week this week, but will travel to the north side of the county to take on the Bullard Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 18. Game play will begin at 7:30 p.m.