Golden Tigers can secure playoff berth with win against East Limestone
The dream of a region title is probably over for the fifth-ranked Russellville football team, but the squad is one win away from clinching its ninth consecutive playoff berth.
If the Golden Tigers defeat East Limestone tonight, they will secure a playoff berth and will have a chance to clinch the second seed in the region by beating Athens next week.
Russellville can still win the Class 5A, Region 8 title if it beats both East Limestone and Athens while Hartselle loses to Lee and Muscle Shoals. That scenario is unlikely to happen as Lee and Muscle Shoals have the worst records in the region.
The main focus for the Golden Tigers now is beating the Indians.
Thanks to realignment, East Limestone is moving up from Class 4A this season.
The Indians reached the second round of the 4A playoffs last season, but they lost several key players to graduation.
Combining the reclassification and the fact this is a rebuilding year, many thought East Limestone would struggle this season. Instead, the Indians are currently fourth in the region standings and – if everything works out – could move into second in the standings by the end of the season.
If the Golden Tigers are going to beat the Indians, they will have to stop the East Limestone running attack.
The Indians are averaging 161 rushing yards per game. They have three different players that have rushed for at least three touchdowns this season.
If Russellville can slow the rushers, they will have a good chance to win the game because East Limestone does not have much of a passing attack. The Indians have only 23 pass completions this season and have only one passing touchdown.
The Golden Tiger offense matches up well with the Indian defense.
The East Limestone defenders are allowing 157 rush yards and 94 pass yards per game.
The Russellville offense is averaging 157 rush yards, but the passing game could be the difference as it is averaging 169 yards per game.