NEW LONDON –West Rusk’s defense picked up where it left off a year ago, and the Raiders crushed Arp, 45-0, Friday in the season opener for both teams.
The Raiders limited the Tigers to 7 yards rushing on 26 carries, and Arp amassed just 84 yards of total offense on 38 plays.
Talon Winings picked off a pair of passes and returned one inside the 10-yard-line to set up a West Rusk score.
Koure Johnson returned a fumble 45 yards for another score, and West Rusk (1-0) held the Tigers to no yards or less on 28 of their 38 plays.
“We had a good night defensively,” said West Rusk coach John Frazier.
”We returned a lot of kids (on defense) and the kids we filled in with are young and still have a lot of work to do.
“We’re satisfied right now with where our defense is at,” he added.
L.J. Harper threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two scores to lead the Raiders’ offensive charge.
Tyrell Moore had a 1-yard touchdown run on West Rusk’s first possession, and Harper doubled the lead with his first 1-yard touchdown run with four minutes left in the first.
He then found Winings on a 19-yard touchdown pass in the second for a 21-0 lead at the break.
Alexis Magallanes added to the lead with a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Winings picked off an Arp pass on the ensuing possession.
He returned the pick to the 7-yard line, and Harper found Jamal Ford for a touchdown pass one play later to make it 31-0.
Harper chipped in a 1-yard touchdown run later in the quarter, and Johnson capped the scoring with a 45-yard fumble return with 9:53 remaining in the game.
“Arp is a big game for us, and we came out a little too hyped up,” said Frazier. “But the kids settled down in the second half and started playing football again.”
Harper threw for 119 yards, while Moore ran for 97 yards.
D.J. Hart added 63 yards rushing on two carries for the Raiders, who visit Waskom Friday.