No. 9 Russellville dominates Muscle Shoals 51-14
Franklin County Times
The Russellville Golden Tigers made sure they had a reason to celebrate homecoming Friday night.
The No. 9 Golden Tigers used a relentless ground attack to overpower Muscle Shoals 51-14 and improved to 8-1, 6-1 in Class 5A, Region 8.
"I thought our guys played a really good game, other than the miscues," said Russellville coach Doug Goodwin.
The Russellville offense scored all six touchdowns through its running game, and was led by 265 all-purpose yards from senior receiver and kick returner Caleb Mitchell and a 19-carry, 150-yard effort by senior running back Mike Abernathy.
After two empty trips to the red zone by Russellville, Mitchell zoomed upfield for a 58-yard punt return and Mario Romans bulled in from the 2-yard line to put the Golden Tigers ahead 7-0 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
Muscle Shoals (3-6, 2-5) answered with a 92-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff by Avery Jackson.
Russellville's first scoring drive in the second quarter belonged to Abernathy, who broke free twice for 18-yard gains. With 10:16 left to play in the second, Abernathy scored from the 7-yard line to put Russellville back ahead 14-7.
The Golden Tigers struck again when Cory Trapp rolled right and zipped a 32-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell with 3:04 remaining in the second quarter and put Russellville ahead 21-7 at halftime.
On their second possession in the second half, the Golden Tigers drove 62 yards in seven plays. Scotty Freeman carried five times for 38 yards and scored from 11 yards out with 7:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Russellville went ahead 37-7 when defense came up with the next score with 2:02 left in the third. With Muscle Shoals facing first-and-10 from its own 1-yard line, Josh James and Trent Brannon combined to force a Trojans safety.
In the fourth quarter, Mitchell broke free for a 44-yard gain on a punt return but Mansell, who also punts for the Trojans, made a touchdown-saving tackle near his own 18-yard line. Two plays later, backup quarterback Jake Ward scampered into the end zone on a 23-yard keeper to put Russellville ahead 44-7.
Muscle Shoals scored its final touchdown on the ensuing drive, which started from its own 33-yard line. Backup quarterback Collin Bradford fired a 13-yard pass to Matt Creel to make it 44-14.
With 3:50 left in the final quarter, Mario Roman added his second score of the night with a 5-yard touchdown, and backup kicker Casey Bolton nailed the PAT to make the finals score 51-14.
The Golden Tigers defense, which shut out West Point last week, shut down Muscle Shoals' spread passing attack and allowed only 11 yards and one first down through the first three quarters, and the Trojans were held to minus-7 rushing for the game.
Kevin Vincent and Kory Suggs each had a sack, and Ryan Romans forced a fumble, while Jacob Daniel had a fumble recovery.
Trapp was 17-of-30 for 190 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, and Josh Montgomery was 6-of-6 on PATs.
Russellville will host Class 6A, Region 8 champion Florence, which clinched the region title with a 34-21 win over Huntsville, next Friday in its season finale