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Liberty QB Rushton too fast for Jefferson

By BOB ETTINGER

sports@vindy.com

JEFFERSON

Dra Rushton is the type of player who can wreck even the best of gameplans. The Liberty quarterback managed to accomplish that exact feat over the final 24 minutes of the Leopards’ 53-18 victory over Jefferson at Falcon Pride Stadium on Thursday night.

“I have to watch the film, but I thought I had a good plan coming out at the half,” Jefferson coach Jimmy Henson said. “Obviously, we didn’t have a very good plan. We’ll go out and try to win the third quarter next time.”

Rushton carried nine times for 135 yards and three touchdowns (all three scores came in the fourth period) in the second half and tallied 235 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries in the contest.

“He’s fast,” Liberty coach Chet Allen said. “It’s very simple. He’s got to look at one guy. Depending on what that guy does, he’s either going to give it away or he’s going to keep it. With his athletic ability, every touch he gets can be a touchdown. He was making reads. And, again, he’s a good athlete.”

Henson agreed.

“They’re making reads,” he said. “That’s probably their base play. We worked on it all week. It’s just hard to replicate that speed. [Rushton] is a heck of a football player. He’s one of those guys you can hold to no yards on nine plays, but the 10th one will go for 80 yards. That’s a pretty good football team.”

Rushton ran for touchdowns of 70, 30, 58 and 42 yards for the Leopards (6-2).

“I was just running,” Rushton said. “I was just trying to get to the end zone and put points on the board for my team. I was just trying to win the game. Coach has been working hard with us. It’s so great to see it pay off. We worked so hard to get the reads. The offensive line is clicking. I love the guys on the team. I love the line. I love the coaching staff. And I love the fans.”

Liberty blew open what was a 19-12 lead at the half, outscoring the Falcons (1-7) 44-6 in the second half.

“We got the Thursday-night jitters out in the first half,” Allen said. “That was very ugly. We were shooting ourselves in the foot. We got back to fundamentals. We were blocking the right way. We were seeing the holes. Dra was planting his foot and getting into the holes. It’s pretty simple. When you’ve got a kid like (Rushton), you’ve got to feed him.”

Brian Maddox had a 1-yard touchdown run, Quaishon Campbell ran for a 56-yard score and Chris Edmonds ran for a 3-yard touchdown for the Leopards. Ezell Brown fell on a Jefferson fumble in the end zone for another score.

The Falcons struggled to move the ball on the ground netting just 44 yards on 41 attempts against the Liberty defense. The Leopards allowed just 113 yards of total offense.

“We saw it on film,” Henson said. “They’re a very fast defense. [Brown] is a defensive end, but he’s also a wide out. They got off the blocks and they run well. We’d get a crease, pick up a few yards, and they’d make a play. They play that odd stack, defend the run and they’re bringing pressure on every play.”

J.J. Henson ran for a 1-yard touchdown, Colton Sinkko scored on a 13-yard run and Jordan Campbell jumped on a Liberty fumble in the end zone for the Falcons’ points.



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