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Golden Tigers swat Yellow Jackets to open region play

The Russellville Golden Tigers opened Class 5A, Region 7 play with a 41-7 win over the Corner Yellow Jackets. It was the first home game of the season, in front of a big crowd.

The matchup marked the first time Corner has ever visited Russellville for a football game, and the Golden Tigers got a solid effort in all phases of play to show their early-season strength in the region race.

With the victory, Russellville’s record is 2-0 on the season and 1-0 in the region.

The Golden Tiger offense scored on the ground and through the air, while the defense held Corner to one score, which came on the Jackets’ first drive of the second half on a one-yard run.

“We talked about handling our business and making sure that we control our own destiny,” said RHS head coach John Ritter. “We’re not worried about anybody but Russellville right now. We’ve been focused on Corner and had a great week of practice, and I think it showed tonight.”

Russellville grabbed the lead on the second possession of the game when Airreon “Boots” McCulloch took a first-down handoff and raced 81 yards for a TD.  Miguel Flores added the first of his five successful extra-point kicks during the game to put RHS up 7-0 with 7:20 remaining in the opening quarter.

Corner threatened to even the score on the next drive, but Russellville’s JD Bishop intercepted a pass on third-and-goal and was tackled at the RHS two-yard line.

The two teams then traded punts before Jacob Bishop found Rowe Gallagher for a 68-yard TD pass on a third-down play to put the Golden Tigers up 14-0 early in the second period.

The Jackets then put together an eight-play drive that resulted in no points when a Russellville defender blocked a 29-yard field goal attempt. A nice passing play from Jacob Bishop to Nathan Brockway followed, and it resulted in a 65-yard gain.

On the next snap, McCulloch found the end zone again. This time, he scored from 15 yards to make the score 21-0.

The Jackets took the second-half kickoff and went 60 yards on 12 plays to get their only touchdown of the night.

Russellville immediately answered with an eight-play march down the field that was capped by a Bishop-to-Gallagher seven-yard touchdown toss with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter.

Jacob Bishop was in on his third TD of the contest when he scored on a nine-yard keeper early in the final quarter.

A quick three-and-out by the stingy RHS defense set up the final points of the game, and Caleb Mathews got the ball into the end zone on a two-yard carry to make it 41-7 with 2:54 on the clock.

The dominating performance by RHS allowed many of the team’s reserves to get valuable playing time during the final portion of the contest.

The Golden Tigers did suffer a blow during the game when offensive lineman Noah Pounders was injured. A broken leg will cause the senior to miss a majority of the season.