The Ruston Bearcats dominated the second half en route to a 36-18 victory over the Airline Vikings on Friday night at Ruston’s L.J. “Hoss” Garrett Stadium.
Airline (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season. Ruston improved to 2-1.
The Vikings actually got off to a great start in the second half.
After recovering an onside kick, Brad Fream hit Coby McGee and Nate Fullilove with passes to set Airline up with a first down at the 5. But the drive stalled and Jackson Tinkis kicked a 24-yard field goal to give the Vikings an 18-15 lead.
Airline then recovered a skykick at the Ruston 40. But a holding penalty negated a catch and the Vikings eventually were forced to punt.
After that it was all Ruston. The Bearcats scored 21 unanswered points.
Airline moved the ball some in the second half but failed to convert several fourth-down situations.
Ruston quarterbacks Eric Outley and C.J. Willis both hit key passes and ran the ball well. Hassan Jackson was effective on the ground, scoring Ruston’s final TD on a 32-yard run. He also caught a 59-yard pass to the 1, setting up a TD that put the Bearcats on top 29-18.
Airline’s offense was very effective in the first half. The Vikings had touchdown drives of 80 and 90 yards.
Fream completed 16 of 26 passes for 193 yards in the first half. He finished 27 of 52 for 295 yards and one TD with two interceptions
Fullilove had seven catches for 110 yards, including a 46-yarder on the first touchdown drive and a 2-yard TD reception on the second.
McGee also had a big first half. He scored the first TD on a 9-yard sweep and had several other key runs and catches. McGee had 10 catches in the game for 110 yards and rushed four times for 31 yards.
After McGee’s touchdown, Cameron Davis scored a two-point conversion following a Ruston penalty to give Airline an 8-7 lead. Fullilove’s catch and Tinkis’ PAT gave the Vikings a 15-7 lead.
Ruston tied it on a 15-yard pass from Willis to Ray Parker and a two-point conversion run by Outley with 1:10 left in the half. The TD came on fourth-and-1 after Willis ran nine yards on third-and-10.
Davis led Airline on the ground with 41 yards on 10 carries.
Airline begins District 1-5A play Friday against Southwood at Independence Stadium. The Cowboys (0-3) lost to Natchitoches Central 28-14 Friday night.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org