Ward named Player of the Week for defensive effort
Looking at the scoreboard fans might think the Russellville offense was the highlight of the Golden Tigers' 61-16 win against Lee-Huntsville Friday night.
While the offense played well, an examination of the stat sheet shows the defense also played at a high level – Russellville held Lee to 97 yards of total offense.
Of the many great players on the defense, one stood out above many others.
Jake Ward finished the night with seven tackles, returned an interception for a touchdown, recovered a fumble, blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown and caused a fumble that led to a Russellville touchdown.
"Jake played great," said Russellville coach Doug Goodwin. "He also got two punts off that could have been blocked. He did a lot of things in a lot of different ways."
With Russellville leading 7-0, Ward blocked a punt that was recovered and ran in for a score by Brent Calloway early in the first quarter.
During the third quarter Ward made a series of plays to spark an offensive explosion.
With Russellville leading 33-2, Ward forced a fumble that was recovered by the Golden Tigers. Quarterback Joey Howe hit Ryan Romans for a 25-yard touchdown on the next play.
With 1:04 remaining in the third, Ward recovered a fumble, but Russellville turned the ball over on the next play. Not phased, Ward intercepted a Lee pass the following play and returned it 27 yards for the touchdown to give the Golden Tigers a 54-2 lead.
"I saw the quarterback rolling out. I got under his main receiver and took it to the house," Ward said.
Ward also gave credit to the rest of the defense.
"The defense is strong," Ward said. "Nobody is getting past (the defensive line) and the linebackers are right there with them."
This week, the Golden Tigers – ranked second in the latest ASWA poll – will travel to Huntsville for a Thursday night game against Butler.
Russellville coach Doug Goodwin said his team has to avoid overlooking the Rebels.
"They have good looking kids, but their numbers are down and they've had to play guys both ways," Goodwin said. "They have been down the first couple of weeks."
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at Milton-Frank Stadium.