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Ruston defeats Alexandria thanks to run game, interceptions

Two key second-half picks enable Bearcats to pull away from Trojans, 48-23

By LaMar Gafford

Photo of Ruston coach Jerrod Baugh

ALEXANDRIA - All season long, Ruston hoped to make a run to unseat West Monroe atop District 2-5A as the outright champion. 

After Friday, the Bearcats are 20 percent away from their quest after defeating Alexandria Senior High, 48-23, at J.L. “Butch” Stoker Stadium.

“I thought we had some chances in the first half to stretch the lead, but I think we did a better job in the second half of taking advantage of some of those opportunities that we had,” Ruston coach Jerrod Baugh said.

Ruston leaned on Jordan Hayes to replace star running back Dyson Fields, who injured his leg last week against Lafayette Christian. Hayes did not disappoint with 184 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

In all, the Bearcats rushed for 395 yards as Hayes, Jadon Mayfield, Lajaveon Ellis and Dylone Brooks all scored to fill Fields’ void.

Ruston also came up big defensively by preventing a Trojans’ comeback.

ASH trailed, 21-16, with 7:54 left in the third and successfully recovered an onside kick for the second time on the night.

However, that would go for naught as Joe Bordelon’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Kyron McConnell to set up a seven-play, 90-yard drive and Hayes’ touchdown - giving the Bearcats a 28-16 advantage.

Ruston sealed the game on the following drive when Ray Owens intercepted another Bordelon pass and scored on a 23-yard return to make the lead 35-16.

“We have to make those plays and that’s what happened,” Baugh said. "The kids did a better job of that in the second half.”

While Bordelon’s interceptions changed the game, he led the Trojans with 272 passing yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-36 aim.

“When you come up short, you’re disappointed,” ASH coach Thomas Bachman said. “When we got points to start the second half and get the onside kick to get the chance to take the lead, that was a big possession, but we got stopped and they scored.

"It just got away from us as we got later into the second half.”

Ruston heads back to Central Louisiana next week when it goes to Pineville. ASH travels to Monroe to take on Ouachita.