The Minden Crimson Tide faced their latest, and thankfully their last, in a line of some of north Louisiana's best 5A teams Friday night at the Pit, and again took it on the chin, with Ruston taking the win, 59-14.
One of the premier running backs in the area, Alexio Hargrove, put on a show for the Bearkat faithful who made the trip to Minden. Hargrove had 146 yards on the night, averaging 12.2 yards each time he touched the ball, and scored three touchdowns before he went to the bench at halftime. Meanwhile, quarterback C.J. Gatlin completed seven of seven passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and then ran for another to put the game completely out of reach by the half.
On the other side of the field, the Tide was unable to get any offense generated to speak of for the fifth straight week. By halftime, Minden's total offensive output was 36 yards, accounted for by a nice pass from quarterback Turner Francis to Elgin Moore. Ruston totally stopped the Tide rushing attack.
However, in the fourth quarter, the Tide put together one of their best drives of the year. Starting at their own 24 yard line, Minden started the drive with a nice run by Ladarrius Joseph for 20 yards. A Ruston offsides penalty pushed the ball to just shy of midfield. On first and five, Francis tried a pass to Moore down the sideline, but Moore was interfered with, and the penalty gave the Tide another first down at the 36 of the Bearkats.
After a couple of rushes lost yardage, another pass interference call gave Minden first and ten at Ruston's 20. Another couple of rushing plays kept the ball moving, and the drive ended with a nice pass play from Francis to Moore again, for nine yards, and the second offensive touchdown of the year for Minden. Josh Gosa booted the extra point to cap the scoring drive.
Two minutes later, Minden scored again when defensive lineman Bolshevic Green scooped up a Ruston fumble and rumbled 20 yards for the touchdown. Again, Gosa added the point after to end the Tide's scoring.
Taylor McKissack and Ladarrius Joseph both finished with 21 yards on the ground. Moore finished with two receptions and 45 yards and the touchdown. Francis completed three passes for 45 yards.
The Tide will finally get to district play Thursday when they travel to Shreveport's Independence stadium to take on Fair Park. Game time is 7 p.m.
Special thanks to Mark Chreene and KASO Radio for the game stats.