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It’s Game Day!

Capacity crowd expected for Ruston vs. Zachary tonight
Friday, December 2, 2022
It’s Game Day!

As a Ruston High cheerleader flips her way onto the field at Hoss Garrett Stadium, the Bearcats run out in front of the home crowd ready to battle. RHS takes on Zachary tonight for a chance to advance to New Orleans for a state championship. Photo by Josh McDaniel

It’s the biggest game in Ruston since the 1999 season, and the city is buzzing over their Bearcats.

Defending Class 5A champion Zachary comes to town to square off with No. 1 Ruston at 7 p.m. tonight in L.J. “Hoss” Garrett Stadium. At stake is a berth in the Division I Nonselect championship game next Friday at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

The Bearcats and their fans are ready. A capacity crowd is expected.

“I don’t think our guys have handled this any differently than they have all year. They seem to process things well and handle business and just get prepared to play a good football team each week,” Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh said. “This team realizes what’s at stake, but they are taking the same approach as they have all season.”

A season’s worth of blood and sweat on the practice field, weight room and football field will boil down to a couple of hours under the spotlight — two titans meeting on the battlefield with the right to advance.

Ruston senior quarterback Jaden Osborne knows it will be a little bit different atmosphere than what the Cats are accustomed to.

“I know it’s probably going to be the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of,” he said.

Ruston enters tonight’s game riding an 11-game winning streak. The Cats haven’t lost a game since dropping an overtime decision to Warren Easton in week one at The Hoss.

This will be the first semifinal game for RHS since the 1999 season. The year prior the Bearcats played in their last state championship game — losing to West Monroe 32-14 in the 1998 Class 5A finals under then coach Tommy Reeder.

Circling December playoff dates on the calendar was commonplace for this Ruston High program between 1982 and 1990 under legendary coach Jimmy “Chick” Childress.

The Cats played in championship game five times during that span, winning championships in 1982, 1986, 1988 and 1990. The 1990 team, which also won a national championship, is often referred to as the best high school football team in Louisiana history in some circles.

With a win tonight, the Cats would play next Friday at 7 p.m. in New Orleans against the winner of Destrehan and Westgate.