Golden Tigers, Golden Eagles meet tonight for home-field advantage in first round
Tonight the Russellville football team will take the field for the most important game of the season as a home-field playoff game is on the line.
The Golden Tigers will face Athens, which is also 5-1 in region games. The winner will be the No.-2 seed in the region and will play at home during the first round. The loser will fall to the third seed and play on the road.
"It is a big game and the last region game," said Russellville coach Doug Goodwin. "You want to play at home as much as possible."
Goodwin said playing at home or on the road does not make much difference as the teams the Golden Tigers will play in the first round are about equally difficult.
The teams from Region 8 will play teams from Region 7 until the state semifinals. The three teams atop Region 7 are Boaz, Fort Payne and Madison County.
Before Russellville can make any plans for the opening round, it must play Athens, a team that could present some problems for the Golden Tigers.
"Their defense is very aggressive," Goodwin said. "They are unconventional."
Goodwin said the key to defeating the Golden Eagles is by avoiding mistakes and playing well.
That should not be a problem as the Golden Tigers have been playing with consistency lately.
"We have played good two weeks in a row for the first time all year," Goodwin said. "Last week (the starters) played well the whole game."
Athens, which views Russellville as one of their biggest rivals, gave the Golden Tigers a scare last season. The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first half, but Russellville cut the deficit to three by halftime and Scotty Freeman scored with about three minutes remaining to lead the Golden Tigers to a 14-10 victory.
"If we are mentally ready and play with a lot of intensity, we'll be fine," Goodwin said.