RUSK — Rusk was able to hold off upset-minded Madisonville late to escape with a 37-29 victory over the visiting Mustangs on Friday evening.
The victory was the first league win for the Eagles, who are 4-3, 1-1, while Madisonville slipped to 3-4, 1-1.
The Eagles were able to score on their final possession of the first half, and on their first possession of the second half, which turned out to be huge.
Aiden McCown kicked a 21-yard field goal with 16 ticks left in the first half, which gave Rusk a 16-7 lead at the break.
Alex Jones streaked into the end zone on a 30-yard run that came with 8:13 to play in the third frame, which extended the Eagle lead to 23-7 at that time.
Jones was the game’s leading rusher, picking up 193 yards in 18 carries. He also scored on a 4-yard run early in the first half.
Owen McCown had a big night for the Eagles. He ran for two touchdowns, including one that covered 63 yards, and passed for another — Joseph McGowan was on the receiving end of the scoring strike that covered 21yards.
Owen McCown had nine carries for 114 yards and went 8-14-0 for 98 yards.
Rusk held what seemed like at the time a commanding 37-14 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Madisonville was able to recover onside kicks on two-consecutive kick offs to Rusk, which enabled the Mustangs to get back into the game.
Armando Juarez connected with Jermal Holland for a 34-yard touchdown that came with 4:38 left in the game, which cut the Rusk advantage to 37-21.
After recovering the onside kick, the Mustangs marched 44 yards in 10 plays, which culminated with a 1-run touchdown plunge by Xavier Whaley. Whaley then threw the ball to Doug’kyrn Johnson for a successful two-point conversion, making the score 37-29.
Rusk will travel to Carthage next Friday, while Madisonville hosts Center.