By Don Wallace
It’s strange, but true.
Despite losing five games in a row and allowing more than 400 points on the year Rusk still has a chance at postseason competition.
The Eagles snapped a five-week losing streak and took a 25-15 win at Center Friday night.
Due to the topsy turvy District 20-3A standings, Rusk still could earn a playoff berth.
“Getting the win was fun. The sun looks a little brighter today,” Wayne Mahaffey, Rusk head football coach said Saturday morning.
Mahaffey continued with a chuckle, “The miraculous thing is, we could still make the playoffs. If we win Friday against Crockett and Center beats Huntington, then we are the third place team. That would give us a 2-3 record in district tied with Crockett, but we would beat them due to the head-to-head records.”
In the win over Center, Horrace Lewis ran like a horse, accumulating 124 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Eagles to the win.
Rusk got on the scoreboard first when Patrick Rogers hit a 32-yard field goal. Couple that with a six-yard scoring run by Lewis and the Eagles were up 9-0 on the road.
The visiting feathered flock padded the lead to 12-0 when Ricky Rojo converted a 29-yard field goal. The Roughriders closed out the first half with a score to make it 12-7 at intermission.
Rusk went ahead 18-7 with Lewis’ second touchdown of the year. Center would not quit and managed to score to tighten the game at 18-15.
The Eagles went to the friendly skies as Demarcus (Nip) Skinner threw a 29-yard scoring pass to Jared Colville. Rojo added the kick and Rusk won by the final of 25-15.
The Roughriders were in a generous mood providing six turnovers for the Eagles. Lewis, Cody Daniel and Colville paced the Rusk defense with interceptions.
Other standouts on defense, according to Mahaffey were Trent Vaught, Nick Bradshaw and Quinn Anthony.
“We played well in all phases of the game,” Mahaffey said. “It’s not surprising that when you get six turnovers and play well that you can win. It’s the first time in a while we have put an entire game together. It felt good and I know the team is excited.”
Still having a shot at the playoffs with a 2-7 mark is mind-boggling for the coach.
“To be in the playoff race the last week of the year is all you can ask,” Mahaffey said. “It’s just the way it has worked out and we are glad for the opportunity. It was unexpected. But we have something to play for and it is going to make preparation for the game with Crockett take on new meaning. We are playing for a playoff berth. It’s great for our players because after all we have been through we could still make the playoffs.”
By Don Wallace