Golden Tigers escape Lawrence County with victory
The Russellville football team traveled to Moulton Friday night and was challenged by the Lawrence County Red Devils but found a way to keep an undefeated record intact with a 22-14 victory.
A packed stadium of fans for both schools witnessed LCHS jump out to a 14-2 second quarter lead before Russellville got things going. With 20 unanswered points, RHS managed to get the win and remain tied at the top of Class 5A, Region 7 – with important games against Hamilton and Jasper on the horizon.
RHS is now 6-0 overall and 4-0 in region play, while Hamilton fell to 3-1 in the region after a loss to Hayden Friday night.
Defending region champ Jasper remains even with Russellville with an unblemished record in 2019.
The high-powered RHS offensive attack struggled early Friday night. The opening drive stalled after a three-and-out. The stingy Golden Tigers defense had the Red Devils stopped on their opening possession, but a fake punt resulted in a first down.
The fake was successful, but Lawrence County was unable to convert it into points, as Russellville stopped a fourth-down pass later in the drive.
Two plays later, RHS quarterback Jacob Bishop was picked off, and the interception return for a touchdown gave Lawrence County the 7-0 advantage at the halfway point of the opening quarter.
The next drive saw Russellville get to midfield before a fumble on an option pitch gave the ball back to the Red Devils.
Lawrence County marched to the RHS 15-yard line in four plays but then returned the favor with a fumble of their own that was recovered by Russellville’s Brooks Scott. A long run by Airreon “Boots” McCulloch got the Golden Tigers from their own 14-yard line to the Lawrence County 46-yard-line, but the drive later stalled.
A Grayson Eady punt pinned the Devils deep inside their own territory at the 5-yard line, and the next snap went out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make the score 7-2 early in the second quarter.
The Red Devils got their final touchdown of the game on a 90-yard TD pass from Ty Hutto to Garrett Lee to make it 14-2 with about six minutes remaining in the opening half.
The next RHS possession lasted one play, as LCHS intercepted a first-down pass. The Russellville defense stood strong and forced a punt, and five plays later, McCulloch found the end zone on a two-yard run. The PAT kick was the only extra point kick miss on the night by Miguel Flores.
A quick drive and short punt by the Red Devils set RHS up perfectly to take the lead just before the half. Bishop kept the ball for a three-yard touchdown run to do just that, and with 1:10 left in the second quarter, the Golden Tigers were up 15-14. The following kickoff was mishandled, and Jaxon Hallmark of Russellville recovered it, but RHS was unable to convert it into points.
On the third drive of the third quarter by the Red Devils, a replay reversal of what initially was called a pass completion and a fake punt that failed to work gave RHS the ball, as Russellville’s Emitt Green made the tackle and gave the ball back to Russellville at the LCHS 29-yard line.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Bishop scored his second TD of the night, this time on a five-yard run that ended with a dive into the end zone.
Lawrence County threated to score a touchdown on the next possession, but an incomplete pass to an open receiver in the end zone was followed by another incompletion on a fourth-down play to stop the drive.
Later the Red Devils got all the way down to the RHS 11-yard-line with less than a minute to go in the game when Jamaal Hubbard intercepted a pass to seal the victory for the Golden Tigers.
“Sometimes you have to win ugly, and that’s definitely what we did,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “It’s a very resilient group. I’m very, very proud of our effort. I don’t think we played well, but I thought our effort was there.”