In the football hotbed of Northwest Louisiana, Neville and Ruston have had one of the fiercest rivalries in the region for decades. The rivalry dates back to the 1930s and 40s, as the two teams gave the community something to focus on during tough economic times in the area. Infamous Neville head coach Bill Ruple actually lived at the stadium with his family for a time after World War II times were so hard.
Now, these two teams always showcase unmatched talent. Ruston won last season’s meeting 19-10, but Neville took 2016’s meeting 30-14. Obviously, this rivalry is a tight one, so we’ll be waiting to see which team can get the upper hand this season.
Hayden has played football for Ruston for 4 years. He is a prospective Honor Graduate for 2019 and is an involved member of the Agri-Science program and FFA Club. Hayden is also an avid member of the fishing team. He scored a 28 on the ACT and plans on following in his parent’s footsteps and becoming an educator after attending Louisiana Tech and majoring in Education.
Gordon is a 2 year Letterman of Neviile’s Varsity Football and Soccer teams while maintaining a 4.57 GPA and serving as Neville’s Student Body President. He is a 3 year member of Neville’s National Honor Society and 4 year “Gold” Member of the Neville Renaissance Academic Club and was a member of the 2016 Louisiana State Runner-Up Team. He is a 4 year member of Young Life and is active in the St. Paul’s United Methodist Youth Group and Mountain Tops Mission Trips, as well as being involved in the Key Club and Inter-Act Club.
HALL OF FAME
The 1998 Ruston Football Team
The Seniors of the 1998 Ruston football team played in the Ruston/Neville Rivalry for 3 seasons. Led by Tommy Reeder as a 1st year head coach Ruston beat Neville 42-19 for the first time in the three year matchup. The 1998 team was led on defense by Jerry Goldsmith, Kerry Goldsmith, Robert Peace, and Lester Jenkins. Kerry and Jerry payed both ways on the 1998 team and then went on to play at Northwestern St. Robert played for Tennessee. Offensively the team was led by Jack Hunt, Josh Jorge, Mario Cook, Bobby Clark, and Hunter Smith. Jack went on to play for LSU and win a National Championship in 2003. Josh played at University of Louisiana Lafayette. This win against Neville propelled the 1998 football team into the playoffs where they ended up State Runner Ups.
Gary Roberts coached football at Neville from 1982 through 1996. Known as “Midnight,” he assisted on the 1983, 1984, and 1995 State Championship football teams. He also coached Tiger Baseball from 1985 through 1993. In 1992, he was recognized as the 5A Louisiana Baseball Coach of the Year. In 2007, Coach Roberts was inducted into the University of Louisiana Monroe Sports Hall of Fame. Roberts played both football and baseball for Neville High School in 1973 and 1974.
Ruston senior running back, Hahsan Jackson, put together a career night Friday night, leading his team to a rousing blowout of the Neville Tigers. Jackson carried the ball for 187 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries, in route to being awarded The Great American Rivalry Series MVP.
This game was over from the get go, as Ruston outgained Neville 222 to 22 yards in the first quarter. From there, it was all business for Ruston, as they trounced their way to an easy victory.
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