Russellville rolls over Brewer, 47-10
Jason Cannon, Franklin County Times
Fans of Golden Tiger football couldn't have asked for much more in Friday night's home opener.
The Golden Tigers (2-0, 1-0 in region play), who came out on top in a double-overtime dogfight with Deshler last week, smashed the A.P. Brewer Patriots (1-1, 0-1 in region play), 47-10.
Ironically, Brewer also won an overtime nail-biter last week over Priceville, but it became apparent early on Friday night that overtime was the least of the Patriots' concerns.
Russellville wasted no time in getting on the board when Caleb Mitchell scored on an end-around from 24 yards out on the Golden Tigers' first possession.
Jacob Daniel jumped on a fumble on Brewer's ensuing possession and Cory Trapp (6-of-14 for 71 yards) quickly found Mitchell for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
Russellville took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter, and as the referee blew the whistle to signal the beginning of the new quarter, Mike Abernathy (13 carries for 163 yards) sprinted for a 74-yard touchdown.
As the second quarter began to wind down, Trapp would add a rushing TD from 10 yards out, and Abernathy kicked in another 7-yard score, to push the Russellville lead to 35-0.
Siran Winston picked off Patriots' Anthony Dickerson's pass with just over a minute remaining and returned it to the Brewer 2-yard line. Mario Roman punched it in from there – his first score of the year – to give Russellville a 41-0 lead at the half.
Russellville coach Doug Goodwin – who picked up his first home win at Russellville Friday – credited his defense with much of the first-half success.
"They did a real good job of keeping a short field for us," he said, noting his offense started each series of the first quarter in Brewer territory.
Russellville not only dominated the scoreboard, they also dominated the stats for the first two quarters of the game.
Brewer amassed only one first down in the first half and mustered only 39 yards of total offense. In contrast, the Patriots defense gave up 301 yards.
In the second half, both teams looked to their respective benches but for very different reasons: Russellville for experience; Brewer for inspiration.
In the third, Brewer seemed to benefit most from the change.
After two series of exchanging turnovers and turning the ball over on downs, Brewer found the scoreboard for the first time on a 37-yard field goal to make the score 41-3.
The Patriots were finally able to find the end zone as the third quarter was nearing an end on a 19-yard pass from Tyler Parker to Dylan Whisenant.
Parker, a sophomore backup quarterback, seemed to be just what the doctor ordered as he engineered another march down inside the Russellville red zone on the Patriots' next possession.
Nathan McAlister broke up what seemed to be a sure Brewer score midway through the fourth quarter to force a turnover on downs at the Russellville 1-yard line.
Jake Ward, a sophomore backup quarterback who was at the helm of the Golden Tigers' offense for the second half, put together a 99-yard drive, capped off with a 1-yard score by senior receiver Blake Jackson – his first of the season – to give Russellville the final 47-10 advantage.
McAlister picked off an erred Parker pass with almost two minutes left in the fourth which killed another promising Brewer drive.
Justin Hoskins flopped on a fumble on Russellville's first play from scrimmage to give the Patriots the ball back, but time expired before Brewer found the end zone.
Russellville finished the night with 43 carries for 348 yards on the ground and 419 yards of total offense. The Golden Tigers lost three fumbles, all in the second half.
The Patriots scrapped for 130 offensive yards and lost four turnovers. The highlight of the Brewer defensive effort was their special teams play, which blocked two extra-point attempts.
The Golden Tigers extended their Class 5A, Region 8 winning streak to 43 games and head to Hartselle (0-2, 0-1 region) next Friday.