The West Rusk Raiders need a break.
The 2020 season has been about as good so far for coach Nick Harrison’s Raiders as the year with the same number has been for – well, everybody.
The Raiders have played an exceptionally-difficult schedule. After missing out on the chance to get a neutral-site game in week one in Lufkin – Hurricane Laura had other ideas – the Raiders lost to a good Sabine team on the road, then lost to another good team, Mineola, 36-14 at Mineola a week ago.
West Rusk (0-2) plays at home, Bruce Bradshaw Stadium, this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. against Malakoff. This is West Rusk’s homecoming game.
Malakoff is stinging a bit. They’re 1-2 after losing to Trinity Christian a week ago.
At that point, the Raiders were having problems with Mineola. But it’s looking like, based on the three games so far, they won’t be the only ones to have problems with Mineola, or with Yellow Jackets’ running back Trevion Sneed this season.
The Raiders had their hands full last Friday night.
Sneed, who has blistered people all season so far, was money again, going for 161 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries. A teammate, Dawson Pendergrass, was even better against the Raiders, running for 190 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, and three catches for 89 yards and a score.
Still, West Rusk had its chances.
The Raiders came out and made a statement, scoring on a nine-play, 59-yard drive when Peyton Lyon caught a 5-yard pass from Andon Mata, with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Mineola tied it on a touchdown pass from T.J. Moreland to Dawson Pendergrass. After the early fireworks, the game remained tied at seven-all at the half.
And then the bottom fell out.
The Yellowjackets outscored West Rusk 20-0 in the third quarter. Sneed did his part, finishing the drive – which was made up largely of his carries – with a 34-yard scoring run. That was at 8:42 in the third quarter, and it would give the Yellowjackets the lead for good.
Moreland, playing both ways, scooped up a fumble on West Rusk’s next offensive possession and returned it for a touchdown (21-7 Mineola) and then with 1:40 left in the quarter, it was Sneed again, this time on a 3-yard run. That left the ‘Jackets up, 27-7.
Sneed scored yet again with seven minutes left in the game to ice the game, but the Raiders would get one more score, a 44-yard run by Carson Martin. Mineola would add a safety on a play in West Rusk’s end zone for the final score.
For the Raiders, Martin had the 44-yard touchdown run; Omarion Anthony had three catches for 29 yards and Mata was 8-of-22 for 105 yards and the score. Jamal Ford had 51 yards rushing on six carries.
The Raiders have Friday’s game against Malakoff, and then visit Troup next Friday.