Rusk holds on for second district win

by Michelle Dillon
Photo by tara tatarski Photo by tara tatarski

Rusk Eagles fans once again have reason to cheer as the Eagles win their second straight district game, defeating the Brownsboro Bears 44-35 Friday, Oct. 25.

As locals may already be aware, head coach Jowell Hancock is known for coordinating a tough non-conference slate at the beginning of the season. In theory, the difficult first portion of the season prepares the team for district games and post-season play. So far, the theory seems to hold for the Eagles, now halfway through their district schedule.

The visiting Bears were first to post points to the scoreboard last Friday, crossing the goal line on a three-yard run. With the successful point-after kick through the uprights, Brownsboro took a 7-0 lead. The Eagles, however, would quickly overtake the Bears as Jaden Rushing returned the kickoff 80 yards for the first Eagle score of the evening. With the two-point rushing conversion by Jaylon Hall, Rusk was up 8-7 over Brownsboro.

Just before the end of the first quarter, Alex Jones carried the ball for 62 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball into the end zone for the two-point conversion giving Rusk a 16-7 margin over the Bears. With less than a minute remaining in the quarter, Brownsboro scored on a 56-yard catch and carry. With a successful PAT, the Bears had reduced the gap but the Eagles still lead, 16-14.

Just four minutes into the second period of play, Brownsboro retook the lead on a 20-yard rushing touchdown. Another successful point after kick and the Bears were up, 21-16, over Rusk. At about the five-minute mark, Sean Rogers recovered a Bear fumble on Brownsboro’s 15-yard line. Rusk capitalized on the turnover with an aerial from Hall to Rogers, once again securing the lead. Hall was successful on the rushing two-point conversion, increasing the edge over Brownsboro, 24-21. Just before the halftime break, Hall dashed into the end zone on a single-yard rush, giving Rusk a 30-21 halftime lead.

The second half of the game tended to lean heavily on defense. The only score for Brownsboro in the quarter was on a three-yard rush. The kick was good and the Bears closed in, 28-30. Brownsboro was again in possession of the ball at about the eight-minute mark when Isiah Ward intercepted a pass, giving Rusk control of the ball at midfield. The team took full advantage of the turnover, moving towards the goal until another Hall to Rogers connection go the Eagles across the goal. With the two-point conversion, Rusk expanded their lead, 38-28.

Both teams were again held to single touchdowns in the final frame. Brownsboro scored on a one-yard run and made the extra kick, giving them their final points of the game. About halfway through the period, Jaylon Hall would score on a four-yard carry. The two-point conversion failed, but the Eagles had earned the victory, 44-35.

Rusk (2-0) currently tops the 4A-District 7 standings, followed by Wills Point (2-1), Bullard (1-1), Canton (1-1) and Brownsboro (0-3).

Rusk will travel to Canton Friday, Nov. 1, to determine which of the Eagles fly swiftest and best. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Norris Birdwell Stadium.