Horace, Crawford lead Riders to victory over Rusk

Roughriders take on Waco Connally in first round of playoffs on Thursday in Madisonville

The Center Roughriders will head into the playoffs as the third-place team from 4A Division II District 10 after defeating the Rusk Eagles.

Center had already earned themselves a place in the 4A DII playoffs prior to their contest with the Eagles, but their victory leads the Riders into the more favorable three seed rather than the four.

No. 1 Carthage has taken the top spot in the district to the surprise of no one, and No. 4 Jasper was able to take the title of runner-up. Following their loss to the Roughriders, Rusk is now in the fourth spot from District 10 and will therefore face the district champion of District 9, the No. 6 ranked Salado Eagles.

“Kids played hard. Just really proud of the kids’ effort to come out and be resilient,” said Coach Scott Ponder. “It’s been a tough year with everything that’s been on and the adversity that we’ve had, so I’m just proud of our kids for coming out to battle all year long.”

Center got off to a slow start against the Eagles. They were forced to punt the ball away after three downs giving Rusk an opportunity to gain an early lead. The Rusk Eagles are led by junior quarterback Owen McCown, son to NFL quarterback Josh McCown.

McCown was able to lead his team down the field to the red zone with relative ease. The Roughrider defense stiffened their back at the goal line, however, and prevented the Eagles from crossing into the end zone. Rusk was forced to settle for a field goal putting them up 3-0.

Center’s goal line stand was an early turning point in this contest. From that point on, the Eagles didn’t come by yardage quite so easily.

In the second quarter, KeAmodre Horace was able to break loose for a 20-yard touchdown run. Horace didn’t stop there. A few short minutes later he took the ball 80 yards and across the goal line for his second touchdown of the night. Horace capped off the Riders’ first half with another touchdown, this one from 60 yards out.  By the end of the night, Horace had racked up 229 yards while averaging 10.4 yards per carry.

“[Horace] is awesome,” said Ponder. “He’s a great kid. He’s very humble. Never any attitude or front-runner type stuff. Everything’s positive. He’s a great teammate and we’re lucky to have him.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Colton Crawford was a force for Center on the defensive line. He led the Riders with 18 tackles, five of which were for a loss. He also tallied two sacks and a fumble recovery. He returned the fumble for a touchdown toting the rock 80 yards for six points.

“[Crawford] has had one heck of a season. He’s been lights out all year. He’s battled through some injuries and he’s still played at a high level. He sacrifices for this team because he cares about it. Really proud of him,” said Ponder.

In addition to Crawford’s big-time effort on defense, Center saw great production out of Timothy Davis. Davis tallied 12 tackles with seven for a loss. He also led the team with three sacks. Da’nijhalon Gipson was able to contribute an interception.

The Riders will now look ahead to their playoff matchup against the Waco Connally Cadets. The Cadets are the District 9 Runner-up. Both Center and Connally have 7-3 records headed into round one of the playoffs.

Their game will take place on Thursday, November 12 at Madisonville High School Football Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

There are 700 tickets available and Center will be the vistiing team.

To purchase, use code: Roughriders2020

To purchase tickets, please go to this link: https://www.madisonvillecisd.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=129355&type=d&pREC_ID=2052438

The Light and Champion

137 San Augustine St.
Center TX 75935