The two old rivals will meet again Friday night at 7:30 p.m., at Bruce Bradshaw Stadium on the campus of West Rusk High School.
Both teams are 1-0: West Rusk whipped another former district rival, Arp, to the tune of 35-6 in Arp last Friday, and Waskom blasted Redwater, 42-21. For West Rusk, it was the first game in just over a dozen years not coached by John Frazier, who stepped away from coaching last season. It was the first win for new coach Nick Hamilton, who would love to deal Waskom its first loss of the season this Friday.
It won’t be easy. The Raiders will have to put the clamps down on Tesean Hamilton, who scored three times: once from a yard out to give Waskom an early lead, and also from 2 and 27 yards out. The Wildcats also got a fumble return for a touchdown by Josh Reeves, a blocked extra point and return for a two-point conversion by Arris Wilson, and Reeves also had a 1-yard touchdown run.
Waskom is coached by Kilgore High School alumni and former soccer coach and standout Whitney Keeling, who has guided the Wildcats to state championship gold. Waskom went 10-2 last year and won the Class 3A, Division II, District 11 championship with a 7-0 mark in that district. But one of the two losses on the season was to West Rusk, who beat the Wildcats in Waskom, 18-17.
As for the Raiders, they didn’t miss a beat by putting Jaylon Shelton in at quarterback. Shelton, who got time last year at the position when starter L.J. Harper was injured, put on a show of his own in the Raiders’ win at Arp.
He scored twice on running touchdowns and threw for two more: one a 31-yarder to Gavin Smith, the first score of the game, and then later, a 32-yarder to Travis Graham. His touchdown runs were from 6 and 11 yards out, respectively, and Smith also had a 3-yard touchdown run.
The Raiders will be home again next Friday night against Harmony – Friday the 13th – and then visit Palestine Westwood on Sept. 20.