RUSTON — The Crimson Tide traveled to Ruston Friday night and took their third loss in a row, 42-14.
As usual, early on in the game and on paper, the Tide looked great. Game totals show that Minden was very nearly equal to the Bearkats in total yards and first downs. Time of possession favored the Tide.
However, as in the last two games against Haughton and Parkway, turnovers were the stat that meant the most toward the outcome of the contest. The Tide committed three turnovers, two of which led to easy scores, while Ruston didn't turn the ball over at all.
The Tide scored first, taking the lead on a Turner Francis to Jared Johnson pass play on their second drive of the night. After the defense held Ruston on downs deep in the Tide red zone, the offense took over. On first down, Cortaveous Rice gained a yard to the Minden 15 yard line. Then Francis rolled left and found Johnson over the middle at the 30 yard line. Johnson turned straight up field and broke free from the secondary, then sprinted for the remaining 70 yards to the end zone. Sam Shoemaker split the uprights to add the extra point and the Tide had a 7-0 lead.
Ruston didn't take long to get back those seven point, plus 21 more as they scored on their next four possessions to make the halftime score 28-7.
The Tide put together a couple of good drives in the second half, with Ronald Richard scoring on one.
After holding the Bearkats on the opening drive of the second half, the Tide got the ball at their own 21. Francis hit Rice for a completion and then ran for a yard. Francis then threw to Johnson who was interfered with, giving Minden a first down at the 33.
Another completion to Johnson put the ball at the 42. Ronald Richard then replaced Francis as quarterback after an injury to Francis' thumb sent him to the bench. Richard took the next two snaps and ran for seven yards and 24 yards to midfield.
After a couple of short gains and an incompletion, Richard found Johnson alone for 12 yards and a first down at the 18. Richard also connected with Derek Herrington two plays later to move the ball to the three. Richard then ran it in for the Tide's second score of the night.
Once again, the combination of Turner Francis and Jared Johnson led the Tide's offensive effort. Francis completed 11 of 18 passes for 181 yards. Nine of those completions were to Johnson, for a game leading 172 yards. Ronald Richard was four of nine passing for 29 yards.
Derek Herrington caught three passes, while Rice added two and Coltan Haynes had one. Rice also added 125 yards rushing.
Minden returns home this Friday night to start the district portion of their schedule against Fair Park at 7 p.m.