NACOGDOCHES – Look out, 3A: the West Rusk Raiders have moved comfortably into the second round of the playoffs.
The Raiders, with just one loss by one point all season, again utilized a stingy defense and balanced offensive attack to take a convincing 42-7 win over the Corrigan Camden Bulldogs Thursday evening at Nacogdoches Dragon Stadium.
West Rusk is now 9-1 on the season, and is on to the area, or second, round of the UIL Class 3A, Division II playoffs. They’ll face Buffalo (10-1) on Friday at 1 p.m. at Bullard. The WR/Buffalo winner will face either Newton or Rice in round three.
Against Corrigan-Camden, West Rusk’s Dylan Walker returned the opening kickoff for 47 yards to the Bulldog 30-yard-line. Quarterback Lajavius Harper ran for 9 yards to the 21, then tossed a 16-yard strike to Walker to move the ball the Camden 5. Two plays later, Jaylon Garland scored the touchdown on a 3-yard run and Levi Hughes added the point after with 10:29 still to play in the first quarter.
After exchanging punts, the Bulldogs did knot the score 7-7 on a 60-yard scoring drive with Dohn Freeman taking it over on a sneak from the 1. Zack Ivie added the extra point.
West Rusk answered with a 67-yard scoring drive on their ensuing possession, using just under two minutes to score. After a 1-yard loss on the first play of the drive, D.J. Hart gained 16 on a jet sweep to the West Rusk 48. Harper then passed to Walker for 17 yards. Two plays later, it was Hart again, sweeping the end to score from 34 yards out and again Hughes was good on the extra point with 11:51 to play in the half.
The Raiders defense forced a fumble on the Bulldogs next possession, with Walker recovering it at the Dogs’ 25. On the very next play, the passing combo of Harper to Walker stuck again for the touchdown. Hughes was again true on the point after, with 10:52 remaining in the half.
The Raider defense again came thru on the Bulldogs’ next offensive series.
After moving from their own 25 to the 47, a fumble was scooped up by West Rusk’s Darrien Johnson, who took it back all the way for another WR touchdown.
C-C was forced to punt on their next possession and a 42-yard punt put the ball at the Raiders’ 7. After three straight carries by Garland for 17 yards, Harper hit Tyree Wilson with a 25-yard strike. Two plays later, Harper ran for 10 and then hit receiver Talon Winings for 6.
Hart gained 19 to the Bulldog 20, followed by another catch for 5 yards by Winings. From there, Harper ran a QB draw up the middle for a 15-yard score. Hughes’ kick made it 35-7.
On the Bulldogs’ second possession of the second half, they drove to the Raider 3, but on fourth-and-goal, the Raiders’ defense stiffened and Darius Richardson stuffed Freeman’s sneak at the 1. Harper then broke loose for 64 yards before being pulled down at the C-C 35. Ladarron Jones then ripped for 13 yards, followed two plays later with a 10-yard pass reception by Koure Johnson. Jones got another 8 yards, and then Harper again scored on a 6-yard run to cap the impressive 99-yard drive. Hughes was a perfect 7-for-7 on his extra points to complete the scoring.
West Rusk had 416 yards of total offense, with 277 rushing and 139 passing. They held C-C to a total of 203 yards. Harper finished with 99 yards on six carries, and was 10-of-13 for 139 yards. Hart had 69 yards on just three carries.
The Bulldogs’ Tykedarick Love led all rushers with 115 yards on 23 carries.