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Golden Tigers face scoreless Friday for second consecutive week

The Jasper Vikings proved why they are at the top of the Class 5A football rankings, and are the team to beat in the region standings, with a 31-0 win over the Russellville Golden Tigers Friday night.

Russellville has now dropped consecutive games after getting off to a 6-0 start in 2019. The Vikings were also the second team in a row to shut out RHS, after Hamilton pulled off the same feat one week prior.  

The Golden Tigers will now turn their attention to Dora with hopes of getting back on track to finish up region play before taking on Central to finish up the regular season.

“I thought we executed a little bit better,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “I thought we played really hard. We’ve just got to make some plays.  

“We dropped too many passes,” Ritter added. “We dropped a touchdown pass there late.”

The No. 8 Russellville squad hosted Jasper, and it only took the Vikings one possession to take the lead. Senior running back John Collins scored from 11 yards out, and the Preston Reed extra-point kick put JHS on the board a couple of minutes into the game.

Russellville’s defense forced a punt on the next Jasper possession and stood strong after a short punt later set the Vikings up with the ball at the RHS 20.  

JHS got inside the 10-yard-line but failed to score this time when a sack was followed by a missed 28-yard field goal attempt.

Jasper led 7-0 in the second quarter when Reed made good on his next field goal try – this time from 33 yards away. The kick gave the Vikings a 10-0 advantage with just more than six minutes remaining in the half.  

A three-and-out by the Russellville offense – an offense that nevertheless showed improvement with no lost fumbles or interceptions, after being hurt by turnovers the previous week – gave the ball back to Jasper.  

A 48-yard pass completion followed the punt, and Parker Sawyer scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper three plays later.

RHS tried to get into the end zone as time ran out in the half, but a long Jacob Bishop pass to Rowe Gallagher fell incomplete, sending the squads to the locker room with the Vikings up 17-0.

The two teams traded punts to open the second half before Jasper found the end zone again with 3:48 to go in the third period. Sawyer scored again, this time on an 11-yard run. 

Russellville’s Jose Gaspar later recovered a JHS fumble to set up the best scoring opportunity of the game for the Golden Tigers; however, a Bishop pass to an open receiver was dropped in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, and a fourth down run was unsuccessful, giving the ball back to Jasper at their own 10-yard-line.

The Golden Tigers threatened to score on their next possession, as Bishop connected with freshman receiver TJ King for a big play.  

The 11-play drive came up short of the end zone, though, as an incomplete pass on fourth down from the Jasper 13-yard line gave the ball back to the Vikings.  

Jasper finished the scoring with a TD from Kaden Shelton on a six-yard run with just more than two minutes remaining in the contest.