By Kent Mahoney
The Henderson News
Lions junior running back D’Cameron Walker ran wild for 181 yards on 13 carries and scored two second half touchdowns as Henderson squeezed by the Rusk Eagles 38-32 Friday night on Jim Swink Field at Eagles Stadium.
The unofficial total for Walker is a season high for the five-foot, five-inch running back.
Henderson was fighting off injuries and an ejection of starters.
Caleb Medford went down in the first half with an undisclosed injury.
Elyjah Jones was flung to the ground by his helmet one too many times and came up off the ground with arms flailing, which to the umpires resembled throwing punches.
“It was chippy the whole game, yes it was,” coach Phil Castles said. “Some of our kids did a real good job keep their composure. Some kids we’ve got to work a little on that.”
Jones was putting together a good game statistically. He had a touchdown in the first quarter before the incident.
“It was a game of a lot of lessons,” Castles said. “We had a lot of young kids have to learn some lessons. We had a lot of kids playing positions they hadn’t played before.”
The rough and tumble style of ball play kept the Lion juggernaut off balance as they fell behind 20-17 at the half.
However, Henderson scored three times in the second half to take the single digit victory.
Rusk drew first blood on its first drive, covering 75 yards in 10 plays with a two-yard run at the 8:58 mark. The Eagles missed the PAT.
Henderson answered with Jones’s TD at the 3:49 mark on his 34-yard scamper.
Enrique Garza put the ball through the uprights and Henderson led 7-6.
The Eagles went the next two possessions with three-and-out drives. They were prepared to punt for a third time from their own 35-yard line faced with fourth and five yard for the first down.
Punter Chris Lawson pulled down the snap from center and raced up the left side line for a touchdown and the Eagles led 14-7 with a two-point conversion by Jaylon Hall.
Two possessions later, Henderson had Rusk backed up to inside its own five-yard line. An errant snap that dribbled by Hall and out of the end zone gave Henderson a couple courtesy points. Henderson trailed 14-9.
With Medford sidelined, Collin Everitt took over the signal calling duties.
On the seventh play of a drive that started on the Lions’ 25-yard line, Everitt found Tobaius Jackson for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Garza tacked on the PAT and Henderson had regained the lead 17-14.
The winless Rusk Eagles were not going away without a fight as they scored with just nine seconds left in the half on a Hall to Joseph Mcgowan pass play from inside the 10-yard line. The Eagles kept riding Hall (6-5, 214 pounds) for the two-point conversions, but failed more often than not.
Rusk had a 20-17 halftime lead.
Henderson had to make some adjustments and quickly.
The running game was working, but Henderson continued the season-long pattern of penalties.
Walker came to life in the second half scoring twice on plays of 80 and 28 yards.
Kevin Fields got into the scoring mood with a 45-yard romp of his own.
Rusk scored twice in the second half, but had to play catch-up ball the entire second half.
Knowing that Rusk dresses out less than 30 players eventually played into Henderson’s favor.
Unofficially for Henderson (4-1) Fields had 74 yards on 12 carries, followed by Medford’s brief play of 20 yards on five carries.
Jakobie Bussey had 47 yards on 11 carries and Everitt had three yards on five carries, but took a knee on the last two plays of the game losing six yards.
However, Everitt did complete three of his four passes for 57 yards and a touchdown.
The Lions will take this next week off in preparation for district play which begins on Oct. 11 with a road game to Palestine.