Lexington Rattles Rusk 24-0
Lexington won the Region III championship Friday night, beating previously undefeated New London West Rusk 24-0. The Eagles rode the arm and legs of rapidly improving Kogan Garrett and the usual outstanding defensive effort to throttle the Raiders.
West Rusk (WR) opened the game by driving down the field methodically before the Eagle defense caused a turnover that was recovered by Rhiem Petterson. An unidentified Eagle hit the WR quarterback’s arm just as he was trying get the ball to the running back. Petterson recovered on the Eagle 39-yard line to stop the drive.
After the turnover Lexington quickly moved the ball down the field. It took the Eagles just nine plays to traverse the 61-yards of real estate. WR inexplicably left Josh Murray open for the quick hitch pass. Twice Kogan Garrett took advantage of the coverage. 19-yards disappeared on the first completion and 11-yards on the second. WR tightened up the coverage after that. Garrett had another option, Jason Washington. On second down and eight as the public address announcer said, “From the arm of Kogan Garrett to the hands of Jason Washington, Eagle touchdown.” Antonio Martinez added the PAT and Lexington had the East Texas crew down.
WR took the kick off with new determination. A double digit return had the ball on the WR 45. A misdirection play on first down garnered WR 13-yards to move into Lexington territory. Once again the Eagle defense rose to the occasion to stop the Raiders on fourth down.
It was time for Garrett and Xavier Ward to get the Eagle offense moving. Ward rushed three times for 16 yards total. Garrett rushed for eight and passed for three yards. 16 more yards rushing by Ward pushed the ball deep into WR territory. The drive eventually stalled. Martinez field goal try was pushed wide left by a quartering wind. WR was not able to move the ball out of their end of the field.
The first WR punt in recent history went downfield 36-yards. Chace Sherrill returned the punt five yards. The X-factor blasted for 20-yards on first down. A facemask penalty moved it 15-yards further. Garrett passed to Kaelan Blok for nine. Garrett rushed for 11 to move the ball down to the five-yard line. Three rushes netted only two yards. On fourth down, Coach Holcomb called for a rollout pass. Garrett lofted a pass to Tyler Moerbe, who was covered by two defenders. The pass was perfectly thrown by Garrett; Moerbe made a great catch between the defenders for the score. Martinez toed the PAT and Lexington led 14-0 at halftime.
For the rest of the first half and most of the third quarter, WR gave it their best shot but the Eagle defense was ready. The defense held WR quarterback Chris Johnson to 19 yards on 15 carries. Johnson had averaged over 10-yards per carry for the previous 12 games. Against Lexington he averaged just over one-yard per carry.
The third quarter started in a scary manner for the Eagles. The deep men on the kick off allowed the ball to fly over their heads. The ball barely rolled into the end zone for a touchback. Had the ball not rolled into the zone, WR could have recovered the ball very, very close to the Eagle end zone.
After WR and Lexington had a turn with the ball the Eagles went to work. Garrett threw a pass to Washington down the middle of the field for 34-yards. Washington made a great catch on the play as he was closely guarded. Garrett scored an apparent TD on a 27-yard cruise through the WR defense. A block in the back negated the score. After the Eagles were unable to get into the end zone Martinez toed a 27- yard field goal.
Lexington kept the pressure on WR and it started to show. The East Texans started to unravel the longer the game went. The straw that broke WR’s proverbial back was Lexington’s final score. Garrett launched a pass to Murray in the middle of the field. The WR defensive back drew a bead on the ball. Instead of catching the ball, the ball bounced off his hands and right into the welcoming arms of Murray for an Eagle touchdown. Martinez was again true with his kick for a final 24-0 score.
Garrett, who is becoming better each week as the competition gets tougher, had his finest night of the year. He completed 11 of 15 passes for 145 yards and three TDs. Garrett rushed for 84 yards on 17 carries to lead the team.
Ward was the usual load to tackle. The X-factor tries to make tacklers regret they tried to tackle him in his running style. Xavier had 63 yards on 15 totes.
The Eagle defense had a shining night also. Chance Sherrill had 14 tackles and a sack. Josh Murray had nine tackles and three quarterback pressures. Brandon Meyer had four tackles and four quarterback pressures. In all Lexington kept pressure on the WR quarterback. Team wise, Lexington had 12 quarterback pressures. Tyler Moerbe had his best night of the year statistically with the two pass receptions and eight tackles on defense. Others getting noted by coaches were: Ward five tackles, Anthony Robbins six tackles, Chace Sherrill 3 tackles, Rhiem Petterson four tackles, an interception, and the fumble recovery.
The Eagles will play Refugio at the Berry Center just off US 290 in the Cy-Fair district.