With a match-up against West Monroe and a chance to claim the outright district title looming one week from today, 7th ranked Ruston High (8-1) overcame a sluggish start and rolled to a 38-7 win over West Ouachita on the road last night.
With its top two play-makers Dyson Fields and Devian Wilson watching from the sideline, a host of young Bearcats showcased the future of Ruston High football in the win over the Chiefs (2-7).
Freshmen Jordan Hayes and Zheric Hill each scored TDs and junior Lajavean Ellis added another as the Bearcats rolled up more than 300 yards on the ground in winning their eighth straight game.
Ruston coach Jarrod Baugh said he was pleased with what he saw from a number of young players in significant playing time on Thursday night.
“That’s what I wanted to see,” said Baugh. “We talked about it at halftime. The guys understood what we needed to come out and do in the second half and that’s what we saw.
“It was pleasing to come out and have those guys do a job. They knew they were going to play, they got themselves ready to play and they did some really good things. We had quite a few freshmen in there at the end that did some really good things.
“Anytime those guys as young as they are … you like to see them come out and execute. We had two freshmen score tonight – Zheric and Jordan got TDs – and Josh (Brantley) got out there and ran our offense and that was really good to see.”
After a scoreless first quarter that saw the two teams combine for five turnovers, Ruston High settled down in the second quarter. The Bearcats scored 24 points while dominating West Ouachita defensively.
Hayes gave RHS the lead on a 1-yard TD run following a West Ouachita muffed punt return. Brady Beason’s extra point – the first of five on the night along with a 24-yard field goal – gave the Bearcats a 7-0 lead with 11:31 to play in the stanza. Hayes led Ruston with 140 yards rushing on 14 carries.
Just three minutes later, Ellis scored on a 41-yard TD run as the lead increased to 14-0. Ellis rushed for 87 yards and the one score on nine carries.
Beason’s field goal with 5:07 to play in the second quarter gave RHS a 17-0 lead and then a 22-yard TD pass from Jayden Osborne to Dawson Willis right before halftime capped the first half scoring. Willis led the Bearcat receivers with two catches for 45 yards.
Hayes struck against early in the third quarter, this time scoring on a 63-yard TD run and upping the Bearcats advantage to 31-0. Hill capped the Bearcats big-play night with a 55-yard TD run with 3:34 to play in the third quarter. Hill ended with 64 yards rushing on three carries.
“We wanted to run the football in the second half and take care of the football and run out the clock and finish the game and that’s what we did,” said Baugh.
West Ouachita added a late touchdown to round out the scoring.
BJ Green and Jacoryian Crowe each recorded interceptions in the game for the Bearcats defense which held West Ouachita to less than 200 total yards in the game. Jadon Mayfield recorded six tackles while D’Angelo Harper added four.
With the win, Ruston High can win the outright district title for the first time in three decades with a win over West Monroe when the two square off at James Stadium next Friday night.
“Everybody else has been talking about the (West Monroe) game, and it was hard for our kids to stay focused on what they needed to take care of this week, but they did,” said Baugh. “We will go to work on the Rebels now. People call this a trap game. We needed to use it as an opportunity to get better and I think we got better in a lot of ways. I think we were productive in a lot of things we did.”
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