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Golden Tigers dominate for homecoming

The Russellville Golden Tigers scored at least one touchdown in each of the game’s four quarters Friday night to take a dominating 51-6 homecoming win over the West Point Warriors.

Senior quarterback Jacob Bishop scored four touchdowns to lead the way to victory. 

While the offense was once again clicking for the Golden Tigers, the defense was equally as impressive. West Point was kept out of the end zone until halfway through the third quarter as Russellville kept an unbeaten streak alive. 

With the victory, the Golden Tigers improved their record to 4-0 and stayed tied atop the Class 5A, Region 7 standings with a 3-0 mark.

“I think the Russellville community is fired up about some football, and it really showed,” head coach John Ritter said after the game. “That’s the thing about playing here; it’s a huge stadium, and when we’re able to fill that thing up, we have a definite advantage because it is loud. 

“Our band, our cheerleaders – they all do a phenomenal job of helping create an atmosphere, and these community folks have showed up and done a great job thus far.”

Russellville football has a long tradition of success, and Ritter is putting a team on the field that helps bring back fond memories of years past. His Golden Tigers continue to rack up wins in his second season at the school. 

“Our kids have really bought into using that past tradition to fuel how we play,” Ritter said. “I think it has got an old-school feel to it. 

“We’re playing rough and physical on defense, and we’re able to put up some points. Then you throw the gold helmet and the gold pants in there, and that kind of rocks that old-school tradition even better.” 

Russellville has used a different uniform combination for each game so far this season – and fittingly, homecoming saw the return of gold pants to go with black jerseys and gold helmets.

Bishop scrambled 17 yards on third down and crossed the goal line to put Russellville on the board, 6-0. Miguel Flores added the PAT kick, which was his first of seven in the game, and with 35 seconds remaining in the opening period, the RHS offense already had more points than their own defense would allow in the entire contest.

The Golden Tigers’ special teams group gave the team good field position early in the second quarter to set up the next score. A miscue on a punt by the Warriors allowed RHS to take possession on the West Point 2-yard line. One play later, Boots McCulloch took a handoff and scored to put the Golden Tigers up 14-0.

After the Russellville defense forced a three-and-out for WPHS, the offense put together a seven-play scoring drive of all running plays – the biggest of gains of the possession coming on another nifty McCulloch carry. 

Bishop capped the scoring march with a 5-yard TD run on a QB keeper to make the score 21-0 with 7:07 remaining in the half.

Later in the second quarter, the Warriors’ attempt to keep the chains moving on a fourth down play deep inside their own territory backfired, and Russellville took full advantage. A 26-yard, two-play scoring drive followed; Bishop called his own number twice, ultimately finding the end zone on a 9-yard run.

After the kickoff, West Point ended up punting back to RHS, and No. 7 Austin Ashley raced 7 yards to finish a seven-play scoring drive that gave his team seven more points, making the score 35-0 at the half.

West Point scored first in the third quarter on a 30-yard TD pass. The two-point try failed, and later in the quarter, Bishop finished off his spectacular night with a 53-yard touchdown run to make the score 42-6 with two minutes remaining in the period. 

RHS then added a safety, as Brody Logan blocked a West Point punt and the ball went out of the end zone.

A highlight of the fourth quarter came when another RHS senior quarterback, Jacob Davis, ran 2 yards for a touchdown to get his team’s final score of the game.