Top 25 Games of 2017: No. 5, West Rusk At Elysian Fields
There are certain districts in East Texas that are good from top to bottom every year, and 9-3A Division II is one of them.
When West Rusk travels to defending league champ Elysian Fields on Nov. 3, there could be a lot riding on the outcome, not the least of which is the district title.
It checks in at No. 5 on ETSN.fm's list of the top 25 games of the 2017 regular season.
Elysian Fields had its way with the district last season, running the table, which included a lopsided 54-16 victory over West Rusk. In fact, only one team played EF closer than 20 points.
But graduation is the great equalizer.
EF lost its quarterback Logan Hughes, who totaled more than 4,400 yards and accounted for 44 touchdowns during the Yellowjackets' 12-1 season that ended in the regional semifinals. The 'Jackets also graduated leading receiver Dylan Parker, a Stephen F. Austin signee that had more than 1,500 yards and 22 touchdown catches in 2016.
West Rusk, meanwhile, managed to finish third in the district last season despite most of its contributions coming from underclassmen.
The Raiders are bringing back a district-best 16 starters -- eight on each side of the ball.
West Rusk returns back quarterback LaJavius Harper, running back Jaylon Garland, and receivers DJ Hart and Levi Hughes to an offense that averaged 36 points per game last season.
Defensively, the Raiders are led by senior defensive end/outside linebacker and Texas A&M commit Tyree Wilson. He will be surrounded by a bevy of playmakers, including linebacker Diego Molina and Hart, who doubles as a standout defensive back.
The district championship is likely to come down to four teams -- Elysian Fields, defending state semifinalist Arp, perennial regional power Waskom, and West Rusk.
And when looking at which players are coming back to each of those teams, a strong case can be made that West Rusk-Elysian Fields could decide the 9-3A Division II title.
ETSN.fm’s Top 25 Games of 2017
- No. 5: West Rusk at Elysian Fields
- No. 6: Carthage at Whitehouse
- No. 7: Texas High at Arkansas High
- No. 8: Lufkin at Longview
- No. 9: Ennis at Whitehouse
- No. 10: Carthage at Gilmer
- No. 11: Harmony at Winona
- No. 12: Carthage at Henderson
- No. 13: Jasper at Tatum
- No. 14: San Augustine at Alto
- No. 15: John Tyler at Lufkin
- No. 16: Tyler Lee at Marshall
- No. 17: West Rusk at Arp
- No. 18: Hallsville at Pine Tree
- No. 19: Silsbee at Newton
- No. 20: Gladewater at Pleasant Grove
- No. 21: Henderson at Kilgore
- No. 22: Marshall at Longview
- No. 23: Tatum at Arp
- No. 24: Bullard Brook Hill at Tyler Grace
- No. 25: Gilmer at Liberty-Eylau