There’s another typically rugged football schedule ahead, by design, for the Ruston High School Bearcats this fall.
The lone preseason scrimmage is against Division I state runner-up Byrd. Non-district games feature a Sept. 24 visit from reigning Class 4A state champion Carencro, followed the next Friday night by a trip to play Division II state champ St. Thomas More in Lafayette. The regular season kicks off Sept. 3 in Monroe against Neville, which reached the 4A semifinals before running into Carencro.
District 2-5A play is, as always, chock full of formidable foes – including the Bearcats’ home finale against state runner-up Alexandria Senior High, which was a failed two-point conversion away from toppling Carencro for the 5A title Dec. 28. West Monroe, like Ruston, reached the state quarterfinals last season. Pineville and Ouachita made first-round playoff exits.
Ruston High athletic director and head football coach Jerrod Baugh joined many area coaches and administrators who announced their schedules Friday via Twitter.
Homecoming at Ruston is Sept. 17 when Airline’s Vikings visit.
Adam Hunsucker, the veteran Monroe News-Star sports writer, responded to Baugh’s Tweet with a sarcastic tip of the cap to the Bearcats: “I really wish Ruston would challenge itself with a difficult schedule… .”
It’s a long-standing philosophy that has undoubtedly contributed to the decades of success in the Bearcats’ program. Ruston finished 7-3 in last fall’s pandemic-shortened season, ending with a rain-soaked 6-0 loss to Destrehan at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium in Grambling, where the Bearcats played home games due to repairs at L.J. “Hoss” Garrett Stadium.
The 2021 RHS football schedule:
SCRIMMAGE: Aug. 20, 6 p.m., home vs. Byrd
JAMBOREE: date/location to be determined, vs. Ouachita
REGULAR SEASON (all games kick off at 7 p.m.)
Sept. 3, at Neville (Monroe)
Sept. 10, home vs. RUMMEL (Junior High Recognition Night)
Sept. 17, home vs. AIRLINE (Homecoming)
Sept. 24, home vs. CARENCRO (Red Out/Teacher Recognition)
Oct. 1, at ST. THOMAS MORE (Lafayette)
Oct. 8 at Pineville*
Oct. 15 at Ouachita* (Monroe)
Oct. 22 ALEXANDRIA SENIOR HIGH* (Pink Out Game)
Oct. 29 at West Ouachita* (West Monroe)
Nov. 5, home vs. WEST MONROE* (Senior Night)
Nov. 11-12 Class 5A playoffs begin
Junior Varsity & Freshman Schedule: Aug. 20 scrimmage at Byrd (5 p.m.), Aug. 26 jamboree vs. Ouachita, Aug. 30 at West Monroe, Sept. 7 home vs. Ouachita, Sept. 13 home vs. Neville, Sept. 20 home vs. West Monroe, Sept. 27 at Ouachita, Oct. 4 home vs. West Ouachita, Oct. 12 at Neville, Oct. 21 home vs. El Dorado (freshmen only). All freshman games kick at 5:30, JV games at 7:00.
Photo: Ruston HS football stadium – Lincoln Parish Journal/Kevin Shanahan