Golden Tigers trounce LCHS Red Devils
The Russellville Golden Tigers opened the region portion of the football season with a 37-7 road victory over the Lawrence County Red Devils in front of a packed stadium on Friday night.
The Golden Tigers improved to 3-0 on the year and gave notice that they will be tough to beat in AHSAA Class 5A Region 8 as they work to earn the top spot in the group for the fourth consecutive season. During three wins so far this year, RHS has outscored all opponents by a combined point total of 107-32.
Russellville’s Cam Phinizee scored four touchdowns on Friday night from the running back position. The sophomore now has 11 touchdowns for the year and is averaging 210.7 yards rushing per game.
RHS took the opening kickoff versus Lawrence County and got on the scoreboard after eight plays. Six of the eight were of the passing variety and the final one, a possession, resulted in a 26-yard touchdown throw from Harrison Burch to Bralynn Vincent. The following Manny Martinez extra-point kick put the Golden Tigers up to 7-0.
The Red Devils tried to answer on their first drive, but the Russellville defense held them out of the end zone on a fourth down try from inside the Golden Tigers’ 10-yard-line. RHS followed with another scoring march that ended with a 38-yard Phinizee touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter. The PAT attempt failed due to an issue on the snap to make the score 13-0. The operation was successful on all other RHS extra point tries.
After forcing a LCHS punt, the Russellville team grew the lead to 20-0 with a tick over eight minutes remaining in the first half when Phinizee outran the defense on a 48-yard touchdown dash. The lone touchdown of the contest came from Lawrence County with 3:29 to go in the second quarter on a 5-yard pass. RHS answered right back with a two-yard touchdown run by Phinizee just before the half to make the score 27-7 at the break.
The game’s second half began with a Martin Tomas interception of a LCHS pass on the first play. Russellville converted the turnover into points when Martinez made a 25-yard field goal.
The final two quarters also featured a four-yard touchdown run by Phinizee with 4:23 left in the third period plus a fourth quarter interception by Russellville’s Paxton Wray.
The loss dropped the Lawrence County record to 1-2 on the season and 0-1 in region play.
“I thought we were a little sluggish in the first half defensively, but we responded really well,” Russellville head coach John Ritter said. “Offensively, it was just a very methodical game and that’s okay. That’s some old school Russellville football that we put on display early in my career here. I’m so proud of our guys for just doing what’s necessary to be successful.”
Next, RHS will host West Point for the Warriors’ first region game of the year. WPHS is 2-1 on the season with a loss to Hanceville sandwiched between wins over Good Hope and Vinemont.