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Golden Tigers play pre-season jamboree to kick off fall schedule

After weeks of trying to stay cool on the football practice field and beat the heat, the Russellville Golden Tigers finally get to try to defeat an opponent other than the blazing temperatures.  

RHS is scheduled to travel to East Limestone Aug. 22 to take on the Indians in a pre-season jamboree to kick off the 2019 varsity season.

Russellville is one of a handful of schools in northwest Alabama that elects to play a jamboree in what is called Week Zero, rather than play a regular season game. Teams that play a regular season contest to start things off have an open week on the schedule at some point during their season.

The Golden Tigers go into 2019 ranked No. 10 in the ASWA preseason Class 5A poll. Russellville returns a large number of starters from last year’s squad that went 9-2 in Coach John Ritter’s first season at RHS, which included a trip to the playoffs.

“We have had a great fall camp,” said Ritter. “We have had intense competition over the past two weeks at every position. Our guys have maximized our time with great energy and effort. 

“In the jamboree, I want to see us compete at a high level and play with a lot of energy. We will make mistakes, but I want to see them go all out every play.”

After taking on Coach Jeff Pugh’s East Limestone team, Russellville will open the regular season against the Deshler Tigers on the new artificial surface recently installed at Howard Chappell Stadium in Tuscumbia.  

Last year, Russellville and Deshler had a classic matchup at RHS, with the Golden Tigers getting the thrilling 40-34 win in double-overtime. DHS is ranked No. 9 in the 4A pre-season poll but will have to travel to No. 3 in Class 6A, Muscle Shoals, for a regular season opener this week.

After the games versus East Limestone and Deshler, Russellville jumps into Class 5A, Region 7, action with the first home game of 2019 against the Corner Yellow Jackets. Jasper was the only Region 7 team to beat Russellville last year, and the rematch against the pre-season No. 3 Vikings will come Oct. 18 at RHS.

Sports writer Bart Moss contributed to this story.