Jacksonville Daily Progress
It can be said that the Rusk High School football team are pupils of the game, according to Eagle head coach Ted Patton, who will be leading his charges into their District 19-3A lid lifter against Fairfield at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Rusk.
“We are down to the games that really count now,” Patton said. “We've done some really good things in non-district and we've done some not-so-good things .
“We have learned some lessons and now we have to take that knowledge and go out and get serious about what we do.”
Rusk opened the year on a 4-0 streak, before incurring an upset loss to Brownsboro two weeks ago.
In that game the team's leading rusher and tackler, Chaston Bennett, went down with a lower extremity injury that also sidelined him in last week's loss to state-ranked Carthage.
Patton said that he is not sure if Bennett, who has netted 936 yards in 58 carries and has scored nine touchdowns, will be ready for this week's game or not.
“Chaston is improving,” he said. “He is still questionable for this week. We probably want know one way or the other until later in the week.”
With, or without, Bennett, Patton said that it is vital for his young men to perform at a peak level this week.
“When you only play four district games, every one is extremely important to win,” he said. “You have a limited number of opportunities to get the job done.”
As for the Eagles from Fairfield, Patton said that this year's group is very similar to Fairfield teams from past seasons.
“Like usual they are big and they have speed in the key positions,” Patton said. “They like to run the ball, but they are not afraid to mix it up and put in the air either.”
Patton said that the keys to winning the game would be being able to stop the Fairfield ground attack and to cut down on costly turnovers.
“Turnovers really hurt last week in the Carthage game I thought,” Patton said. “We have to get that cleaned up. We just can't afford to turn the ball over on offense.”