PREVIEW: West Rusk Looks to Make it Three Straight Against Waskom
West Rusk Raiders (1-0)
Waskom Wildcats (1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wildcat Stadium, Waskom
- West Rusk: John Frazier
- Waskom: Whitney Keeling
- West Rusk: def. Arp, 45-0
- Waskom: def. Redwater, 43-6
- West Rusk: at Harmony, Sept. 14
- Waskom: at Hughes Springs, Sept. 13
Players to watch
- QB/DB LaJavius Harper, Sr., 5-10, 158 (7-of-13, 120 yards, 2 TDs; 5 carries, 35 yards, TD; 3 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 forced fumble)
- RB/DB Tyrell Moore, Jr., 5-8, 165 (13 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD)
- RB/LB Jaylon Garland, Sr., 5-8, 175 (11 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/DB Talon Winings, Jr., 5-11, 170 (2 catches, 47 yards, TD; 2 INTs)
- WR/DB DJ Hart, Sr., 6-0, 185 (2 carries, 61 yards; 1 catch, 25 yards; 4 tackles)
- LB Orlando Cortez, Sr., 5-10, 190 (19 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack)
- OL/DL Colton Mills, Jr., 6-1, 238 (13 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 pass defended)
- OL/LB Diego Molina, Sr., 5-10 190 (12 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 passes defended)
- DL Darius Richardson, Sr., 6-3, 303 (4 tackles)
- RB/DB T.K. Hamilton, Sr., 6-0, 172
- RB/DE Jacob Reeves, Sr., 6-0, 224
- RB/LB Chris Stafford, Sr., 5-8, 175
- OL/DE Ike Irving, Sr., 6-1, 194
- QB/DB Raymond Ramirez, Sr., 5-10, 186
- LB Lamontre Stephens, Sr., 6-3, 184
- RB/LB Tristan McDonald, Sr., 6-0, 215
- DL Chris Pacheo, Sr., 5-10, 170
Just the facts
- Waskom is 4-3 against West Rusk since 2006. However, the Raiders have won the past two contests and took the 2017 game in a shutout, 21-0.
- Fellow East Texas team Newton knocked both Waskom and West Rusk out of the playoffs in 2017. West Rusk fell in the regional quarterfinals while Waskom lost in the regional semifinals.
- The two teams gave up a combined six points in Week 1. West Rusk shut out Arp, 45-0 while Waskom handed Redwater a 43-6 loss.
- West Rusk forced three turnovers Friday -- two interceptions and one fumble.
- Waskom running back T.K. Hamilton finished eighth in East Texas with 1,815 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns this past season.
- Jaylon Garland and Tyrell Moore split carries in the backfield in Week 1, combining for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
- Darius Richardson, DJ Hart (West Rusk) and T.K. Hamilton (Waskom) all have Division I scholarship offers.
Key matchup: West Rusk defense against the Waskom rushing attack. West Rusk was one of the better defenses in East Texas in 2017. If its performance in Week 1 is any indication, it won't give up that title this year. Diego Molina, Orlando Cortez, Talon Winings, DJ Hart and Darius Richardson are all back from a year ago. Although the Raiders certainly miss Tyree Wilson and Darrien Johnson, who combined for 70 tackles for loss last season, Colton Mills emerged with 13 tackles (five for loss) in Week 1.
Waskom runs an offense that typically only passes when it absolutely has to. T.K. Hamilton led the Wildcats in rushing this past season and returns for his senior year. He and fellow back Chris Stafford bring the speed, while Jacob Reeve's 6-foot, 224-pound frame make him perfect for situations when a power back is needed. West Rusk contained these three backs in 2017, but Waskom is surely eager for a shot with Wilson and Johnson now gone.
Don't be surprised if: This game is low scoring. West Rusk and Waskom are similar in that they typical choose to run and manage the clock.
They also both have stellar defenses. Although both scored more than 40 in Week 1, that might be a reasonable total to expect in this game. West Rusk gave up only 8.3 points per game in 2017 and pitched six shutouts in 13 games. This game will likely be decided by a small margin and controlled by defense.