Bad news for the rest of District 8-3A Division II. Yet another team looks ready to make a statement when district competition begins next week.

West Rusk has one of the best turnaround stories of the early season, replacing last season's 0-3 start with a 3-0 record. It is one of three league teams still perfect while five teams finished the non-district portion of the schedule with winning records.

Linebacker Joe Wright played a huge hand in the Raiders' 44-0 win Friday against Sabine. He recorded a staggering 21 tackles, including one tackle for loss and one sack. He also recovered a fumble in the win on his way to the + Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week honor.

This isn't the first time Wright has been considered for the award. He has 43 tackles through three games, a team-best average of 14.3 takedowns per game.

Van's Hunter Redmond led the East Texas region in total tackles through the regular season last year. The Vandal averaged 15.4 tackles per game.

Wright follows Carthage linebacker Brewster Griffith as the award's holder.

West Rusk's defense at large, the strong point of last year's team, has allowed 57 less points through three games this season -- just 19 points against.

The Raiders offense outproduced last year's non-district point total of 40 points by 73 points.

Wright and the rest of the West Rusk squad will be off this week. District play begins Sept. 25 against the perennially strong Arp program.

Improved Winona, Elysian Fields and Frankston teams await down the schedule and, of course, there's defending Class 3A Division II state champion Waskom to deal with. West Rusk went 2-3 against the group last season to finish in a tie for fourth place, but it missed the playoffs due to a head-to-head loss against New Diana.

With noticeable defensive improvement and a dramatic turnaround on offense through three games, add the Raiders to the list of teams to watch in the league. Queen Defensive Players of the Week