Russellville falls to East Limestone in wild finish
By Ashley Hargrove Graves
CAPSHAW — With the score tied at 28 in the final minutes of the game and fatigue setting in, East Limestone forced Russellville to punt deep in their own territory, getting the ball back around midfield for one final drive.
Facing fourth down, Indians coach Jeff Pugh called upon University of Louisville commitment Josh Appleby to get the job done. Appleby’s 30-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights with 22 seconds on the clock for the 31-28 go-ahead lead.
But they weren’t finished.
Russellville attempted one last play, as Devan Parker threw downfield to an open receiver. The pass was caught, fumbled and picked up by East Limestone’s Leon Jones who returned it 75 yards as time expired to seal the Indians 37-28 win.
“I’m just so proud that our kids finally got to win one,” Pugh said. “We may not be the fastest or the strongest, but I feel like we’ve got a lot more heart than a lot of people we play and it showed tonight. They just kept fighting.”
The Indians scored on their first possession to open the game on a 38-yard pass play from quarterback Matthew Franks to Chris Hamilton. Appleby’s point after attempt was good for the early 7-0 lead.
Russellville responded in the first few seconds of the second quarter on a 1-yard run by Tyler Boyd. After recovering a fumble on their own 8, the East Limestone defense forced Russellville to punt. Hunter Reece returned it 65 yards for the score. Appleby’s kick was blocked.
Each team scored once more before the half. Russellville scored on an 11-yard run by Oscar Graham to put the Golden Tigers ahead 14-13. They threatened again, but facing fourth-and-one inside their own 25, the snap sailed over the quarterback’s head and rolled to the 1-yard line where Javon Turner recovered it for East and took it in for the score.
Chris Harris had a 98-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter to give the Indians a two-score lead.
Russellville closed the gap with 10:13 left in the third on a 53-yard run by Boyd. On their next possession, the Golden Tigers took advantage of back-to-back 15-yard penalties on the Indians and capped off the drive with a 1-yard run by Boyd.
Boyd finished the night with 19 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns.