Gladewater, Rusk Clash In Red Zone Game Of The Week - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/15/06

Gladewater, Rusk Clash In Red Zone Game Of The Week

For high school football's week two, the Red Zone Game of the Week stopped in to visit an old coach wearing some new colors and an Eagle who has soared above the competition by averaging three touchdowns a week.

Former Big Sandy coach and current Gladewater coach Scott Callaway coached his Bears against Justin Sturns and the Rusk Eagles. 

"You have to be determined for anything you do in life," Justin said. "Football, I take it very personal."

Sports is life for the Eagle quarterback.

"When the balls in my hand, it's my job to do the most I can with it," Justin said.

What he does has the eyes of college teams everywhere focused on him. Last year as a junior, he ran for 2,654 yards, a duel threat in the air and on the ground.

"A guy of his talent is real rare," said Rusk Eagles coach Wayne Mahaffey.  "It's special to be on the sidelines. It's one of those things you know with any play called it has the potential of being a touchdown."

That potential has recruiters calling. From coast to coast, North to South, you name a big school and they have been at Justin's door.

"It's a little overwhelming I guess you could say. That's a part of the recruiting process you have to get used to," Justin said.

Justin's athletic ability extends to basketball, baseball and track, but football is his first love. With all the spotlight shinning so brightly on him, he said he keeps himself grounded by remembering his true self.

"Just by being as humble as possible about the situation," he said. "If it wasn't for the (offensive) line, I wouldn't do half the stuff I'm doing right now. So, I give all my credit to the line."

Last year he set a personal goal to run for 2,200 yards. He got that and then some. But this year it is all about the Eagles.

"My goal this year is to win state for my team because that has never been done in Rusk."

On that journey towards the post season, the Eagles will first host a veteran coach and his new team.

Scott Callaway made the jump from Class A with the Big Sandy Wildcats to Class 3A with the Gladewater Bears.

"It was definitely a transition," Coach Callaway said, "getting kids acclimated to how I do things."

In five seasons with Big Sandy, Coach Callaway led the Wildcats to the playoffs four times and to the state finals in 2005. It is that experience Bears fans hopes he can translate to success in Gladewater.

"New year, new team," Coach said. "Hopefully I gained some experience from that and I think that I did."

"He's an aggressive coach on the sidelines and on Friday nights," said Bears running back Carwin Cooper. "The offense is way  different. We run a no huddle offense. It's kind of tiring but it gets us in shape during the week."

With a new coach, a new system fans usually expect a little time for the wins to start pouring in. But Coach Callaway said his players and staff do not want to wait for success.

"These kids are hungry to win," Coach Callaway said. "This is their year. They don't want to be successful later. They don't want there to be a period here of Coach Callaway being here and it taking time. They're ready to win now."
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