Rouse (4-4, 3-3) @ Elgin (3-5, 3-3), Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Rouse lost for the second consecutive week to a tough Hutto (6-2, 4-2) team by a 42-32 final. The Hippos got 285 yards on the ground from Deary’on Milligan - 200 in the first half - to win their fourth consecutive game after starting 0-2 in District 19-5A play. The Hippos defense was stout, shutting down Rouse in the second half. Rouse receiver Chance Cooper had a fine evening, catching eight passes for 124 yards and a score.
Elgin scored 36 points in the second half to defeat East View (2-7, 1-6), 43-35. Elgin quarterback DeAmante Strong had a solid night through the air (17-of-26, 276 yards, three TD) and on the ground (15 carries, 126 yards, TD). When he threw, his favorite target was Tariq Buchanan, who caught eight passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Buchanan also scored on a 16-yard run. The two teams combined for 57 points in the second half.
The Strength of Strong
Strong is quietly having a solid year at quarterback for the Wildcats. He’s accounted for 1,893 yards of offense (1,573 passing, 320 rushing) and 14 touchdowns (10 passing, four rushing). He played perhaps his best game to date last week in a win over East View and may be on course for another big statistical night this Friday against a Rouse defense that has given up 27 or more points five times. If Strong can get going early on - and stay consistent through the course of the evening - Elgin has the potential to hand the Raiders their third consecutive loss.
Searching for an Identity
Three weeks ago, no team was riding higher than Rouse. The Raiders had just come off a stunning 60-27 dismantling of then-undefeated Georgetown, and with a 3-1 record in District 19-5A, seemed to be poised to assume a place alongside the top tier teams in the league. The Raiders have taken two steps back since that signature win, however, giving away a 19-point lead in a loss to then-undefeated Connally on Oct. 14 and falling to Hutto in a 42-32 shootout last week. A win over Elgin would go a long way toward soothing some of the anxiety created over the past 21 days.
Rouse and Elgin have not met in recent UIL history.
Rouse wraps up its regular season with a home game against Bastrop (1-7, 1-5) on Nov. 4.
Elgin will travel to defending 5A Division II state champion Cedar Park (8-0, 6-0) in its season finale on Nov. 4.
**Compiled by Mike Schoeffel, Freelance Writer