Bearcats best Trojans in gritty performance

RUSTON — Ruston High (7-1; 3-0 district) has won seven in a row and is entirely in control of its own destiny for a District 2-5A championship after downing the Alexandria Senior High Trojans (6-2; 1-2 district) by a final score of 37-23 at James Field at Garrett Stadium.

In a game that showcased two powerhouse programs, fans could not be disappointed at the quality of football played for the night and the sheer grit of the Bearcat backfield. Senior fullback Devian Wilson and junior running back Dyson Fields both were clearly playing with soreness and not at one hundred percent; however, their gamesmanship was clearly a motivating factor for the rest of the team.

After trailing 23-22 to start the fourth quarter, the Bearcats scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter thanks to red zone touchdowns by both senior Devian Wilson and junior quarterback Jaden Osborn. A two-point conversion was converted thanks to an incredible throw by senior wide receiver Dawson Willis to Osborn in the end zone to put Ruston up 30-23.

“I’m proud for these kids,” Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh said. “I told them at halftime that we just needed to keep playing hard and good things would happen. They did a great job and I’m proud for them. Our fan base came out and supported these kids, and it’s great for our community.”

Ruston struck first with a 21-yard option run by Fields at the 6:40 mark in the first quarter. ASH answered with a touchdown of their own from 63 yards out through the air with 3:51 to tie the ballgame.

The Bearcats then tacked on another touchdown on the ground from Osborn for a 57-yard rushing score. Ruston was unable to convert a two-point conversion from the one-yard line and led 13-7.

The Trojans converted a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter after having first and goal from the five yard line to cut the lead to 13-10.

“I think that was big,” Baugh said about his defense holding the Trojans to a field goal instead of a touchdown. “We took a timeout on first down, and once we caught our breath, we went out and executed on defense.”

With only eight seconds left in the first half, the Bearcats capitalized on an errant Trojan snap in the end zone on fourth down and forced the ASH special teams into a safety.

“It’s good to get the two points back in the end of the first half,” Baugh said. “We put them in a bind after the big punt that was downed inside the one yard line.”

Ruston entered the ballgame ranked No. 7 by the LSWA and No. 6 in the power rankings for postseason play. The Bearcats may very likely climb even higher in both after Friday’s victory. 

Ruston continues play on Thursday, Oct. 28, at West Ouachita. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

PHOTO CREDIT: Reggie McLeroy 

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