STORY BY: JORDAN MESEROLE
If one thing can be said about the Rudder Rangers’ season so far, injuries have certainly put the team at a disadvantage all season long.
Still lacking a few key starters, Rudder is looking to get back in the win column Friday night when they face off against the Bastrop Bears at Merrill Green Stadium in Bryan.
Having lost its last three games in a row, and the fourth that ended in a tie, the Rangers have had to endure those losses while missing five different starters over the course of this season, including starting quarterback Jamarcus Davenport in last week’s 40-14 loss to Hutto.
The Rangers have been hit with the injury bug the hardest on the defensive side of the ball, including missing seniors Austin Baron and Kody Burton for a few games, and losing standout David Wilganowski for the entire season.
Over the span of those four losses, the Rudder defense has allowed an average of 203 passing yards per game and 198 rushing yards per game, along with two scores per game.
The Rangers will have another tough district matchup, as Bastrop is coming off an emotional 48-23 win last week at home. It was Bastrop’s first game after the devastating wildfires that destroyed more than 1,000 homes had been extinguished. The Bears ran onto the field through a banner that read, “Out of the ashes we rise.” Rudder will have its hands full with the balanced offensive attack of Bastrop quarterback Dillion Becker – who threw for 143 yards and a score last week – and Trae Bunton – who ran for 105 yards in the victory over San Marcos.
If Davenport is unable to take snaps again Friday fro Rudder, Baron filled the quarterback role quite well against Hutto, passing for 143 yards and a touchdown in his first game under center. Junior running back Tre Guyton is having a standout season, averaging 84 yards per game and one touchdown per game.
And even with the injuries on defense, seniors Kody Burton and A’shanian Smith have stepped up, respectively racking up 42 and 40 tackles this season.
The game will hold even more importance for Rudder – which will be celebrating homecoming Friday night as well – which needs to win against its 16-4A foe in order to stay in the early playoff hunt with only four games remaining in the season after the game with Bastrop.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm in Bryan.