West Rusk Comes From Behind to Beat Harmony, 28-24
HARMONY -- For the second week in a row, West Rusk found itself in need of a late rally.
For the second week in a row, John Frazier's team came through. With Harmony facing fourth down and less than a minute to play, Gage Goddard dropped back to pass. He looked around and, finding no open receivers, decided to run. Before he reached the line of scrimmage, he was met by a Raider defender. He laid face down on the grass for a few seconds afterward as West Rusk celebrated.
The Raiders kneeled the clock out, securing a 28-24 victory.
"These kids have it," coach John Frazier said. "Harmony and coach Russell have a very good football team. Very physical. To be able that last series to still fight against it for our boys I think says a lot about them.”
West Rusk (3-0) trailed the majority of game, including late in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-4, LaJavius Harper found Travis Graham in the middle for a short gain, extending the drive. They hurried back to the line of scrimmage, trying to start the next play before Harmony had time to react.
Harper dropped back and saw Trevor Henson running down the right side ahead of the defender. He threw a ball to him and hit him in stride for a 41-yard touchdown to go up, 28-24.
"(I was thinking), 'Don’t do nothing stupid or throw a pick or incomplete pass,'" Harper said. "I saw a big hole in the zone and the linebacker wasn’t coming. I put it right up there and threw it. Luckily, he caught it.”
West Rusk only found itself in that situation because of its defense. After Harmony (2-1) scored on a 25-yard pass from Gage Goddard to Chris McMillon -- the second touchdown connection between the two -- West Rusk took over. But that Raider drive was thwarted on fourth down after a stand from the Eagle defense.
Harmony took back over at its 48 with a little more than four minutes to go. The Raiders forced a three-and-out, getting the ball back with 2:34 left.
It scored in less than a minute. Harmony got a chance to win the game with 1:50 left, but the Raider defense again held its ground, coming up with the final sack on Goddard. It was dejá vu for West Rusk, which overcame a 17-6 deficit a week ago against Waskom.
"They didn’t get nervous," Frazier said. "Their heads were down and they never gave up. They kept punching. We got the first down on a great play to Travis Graham. We hurried up real fast hoping we could catch their corner off. Of course, Trevor Henson did a good job on the fade route. LJ Harper, like he always does, put it right on the money.”
Harmony controlled the tempo for much of the first half, going into halftime with a 17-14 lead only after a late touchdown from Harper. The Eagles running game was steady throughout the game, as Brody Powledge finished as the leading rusher with 92 yards on eight carries.
McMillon finished with two receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns.
Harper scored all four West Rusk touchdowns -- two rushing and two passing -- and finished with 17 yards passing to go with 30 rushing. In addition to catching the game-winning touchdown, Henson finished with three catches for 121 yards.
West Rusk will next play Palestine Westwood at 7:30 p.m. Friday in New London. Harmony has a bye week next week, but will face Alba-Golden at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 in Harmony.
West Rusk 28, Harmony 24
At Eagle Stadium, Big Sandy
West Rusk 7 7 7 7 -- 28
Harmony 10 7 0 7 – 24
HAR -- Barrett Hill 1 run (Spencer Yates kick), 6:59.
HAR -- Yates 35 field goal, 3:20.
WR -- LaJavius Harper 19 run (Alexis Magallanes kick), 2:01.
HAR -- Chris McMillon 30 pass from Gage Goddard (Yates kick), 6:20.
WR—Harper 3 run (Magallanes kick), 0:39.
WR—DJ Hart 36 pass from Harper (Magallanes kick), 9:55.
HAR—McMillon 25 pass from Goddard (Yates kick), 7:08.
WR—Trevor Henson 41 pass from Harper (Magallanes kick), 1:50.
First Downs 8 18
Total Yards 357 331
Rushes-Yards 35-183 63-267
Passing Yards 174 64
Comp.-Att.-Int. 5-10-1 3-9-0
Punts-Avg. 3-36.7 3-38.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-0
Penalties-Yards 3-35 8-60
RUSHING—West Rusk, Jaylon Garland 17-114, Tyrell Moore 4-31, LaJavius Harper 8-30, DJ Hart 3-10, Gage Whitlock 1-0, Team 2-(-2). Harmony, Brody Powledge 8-92, Barrett Hill 24-72, Marcus Davis 14-45, Michael Everett 6-32, Isaac Edwards 2-15, Gage Goddard 9-11.
PASSING—West Rusk, Harper 5-10-1—174. Harmony, Goddard 3-9-0—64.
RECEIVING—West Rusk, Trevor Henson 3-121, DJ Hart 1-36, Travis Graham 1-17. Harmony, Chris McMillon 2-55, Barrett Hill 1-9.