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Golden Tigers get back on track with win at Dora

The Russellville football team made its first trip to Dora High School in the history of the program Thursday night and came away with a 16-6 win over the Bulldogs.

The Golden Tigers closed out regular-season Class 5A, Region 7 play with the victory and got back into the win column after dropping consecutive games over the previous two weeks in region play.

Russellville (7-2, 5-2) will host 4A Central-Florence for senior night Nov. 1 to finish the regular season in preparation for the opening round of the playoffs at Scottsboro.

RHS and Dora were originally scheduled to play Friday night, but forecasted heavy rain showers caused the schools to move the contest up a day. Those in attendance were likely appreciative, as they were able to enjoy the game in dry conditions.

Russellville scored first against the Bulldogs: RHS quarterback Jacob Bishop got his team off to a nice start with a 48-yard TD run on the Golden Tigers’ second possession of the game. The Miguel Flores PAT kick made the score 7-0 about halfway through the first quarter.

Dora needed four plays to answer on the following drive. Darrien Wilkerson had a 48-yard carry for the Bulldogs and followed that up two plays later with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jayden McDavid through the hands of RHS defenders in the end zone.

Ashaad Williams of Russellville blocked the extra-point kick, and the Golden Tigers held a slim 7-6 lead.

The next RHS possession ended with a punt, and then the Bulldogs went on a 14-play drive that came to a halt with a fourth-and-one stop by the stingy Golden Tiger defense at their own 25-yard line.

Russellville then marched to the Dora 18, but the Bulldogs tackled the quarterback behind the line on fourth down with less than a minute left in the second quarter.

Despite only passing for one yard on two attempts in the opening half, RHS had the lead going into the locker room.

Dora got the ball to start the third quarter and got inside Russellville territory, but after converting a fourth-down attempt, the Bulldogs fumbled on the next play, and the ball was recovered by Brooks Scott of RHS.

The Golden Tigers made their opponent pay for the miscue when Austin Ashley found the end zone on a 10-yard run to grow the lead to 13-6. The extra-point kick was blocked, but Flores of Russellville answered with a 24-yard fourth-quarter field goal to put the Golden Tigers up by 10.

The last try for points by Dora, with just more than five minutes to go in the contest, came up empty. RHS’ Angel Martinez intercepted a Wilkerson pass, and RHS went on to successfully run out the clock and get the win.

Senior running back Ashley finished the game with more than 200 yards on 22 carries to lead the way for Russellville.

“We challenged our kids to come out and play,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “We didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm in that first half, but our kids responded, and in that second half, we played with a lot of heart, and we played with a lot of passion.

“That’s the only way you can play this game: full speed with a lot of heart. We did that in the second half, and I’m really proud of our guys.”