GLADEWATER — Jimmie Harper accounted for four touchdowns and recovered a pair of fumbles, and West Rusk blew past Hughes Springs 52-28 Thursday in a Class 3A Division II Region III area playoff game.
Harper ran for three touchdowns and returned a fumble for another, James Greenalch and Jamal Ford each had rushing scores and Will Jackson caught a touchdown pass for the Raiders (8-3).
Harper got the scoring started with a 4-yard touchdown run and followed a Tyson Daigle 66-yard touchdown run with two more scores from four and one yard out, respectively, and West Rusk led 21-6 with 7:19 left in the opening half.
Hughes Springs’ Trevor Bolden found the end zone on a 1-yard run with 1:22 left before the break, but West Rusk scored once more when Andon Mata found Jackson for a 15-yard strike 56 seconds later.
Alexis Magallanes added to West Rusk’s lead with a 23-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Hughes Springs closed the gap with another 1-yard run by Bolden. He also ran in the conversion to make it 31-22 with 4:45 remaining in the third.
Greenalch found the end zone from seven yards out later in the stanza, and Bolden opened the final period with a 5-yard touchdown run.
That brought Hughes Springs to within 38-28, and the Mustangs drove inside West Rusk’s 10 on the next drive before fumbling the ball away.
Ford turned the miscue into points when he raced 48 yards for a touchdown with three minutes to go, and Harper picked up a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and returned it 25 yards for the final points.
Ford led West Rusk with 102 yards rushing, all in the second half. Greenalch added 72 and Mata chipped in 65 in addition to 199 passing yards.
Carson Martin caught three passes for 86 yards, and Jackson hauled in two for 69 more.
West Rusk, which has now won eight straight games since an 0-3 start, moves on to face Waskom in next week’s regional semifinal. The Wildcats hung on for a 28-27 win over Daingerfield Thursday.
The teams will meet at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27 at Bobcat Stadium in Hallsville
Daigle ran for 106 yards in the loss for Hughes Springs, which finishes the season at 6-4.