Golden Tigers remain unbeaten with football region win over West Point
The Russellville Golden Tigers continued their varsity football winning streak with a 48-14 victory over the West Point Warriors, improving to 4-0 for the season and 2-0 in AHSAA Class 5A Region 8. Russellville sophomore running back Cam Phinizee continued his start to the season with five more rushing touchdowns with all of them coming in the first half on Friday night during the home win.
“Right now, he’s a complete player. He’s running it, he’s catching it, but he’s also blocking,” Russellville head coach John Ritter said of Phinizee after the win. Ritter commended Phinizee’s blocking on stretch plays and pass protection in particular. “Anybody can run the football, but great players do everything good and he’s on the verge of being a really special player if he’ll keep working.”
The first RHS touchdown of the game came on a first-drive scoring strike through the air from senior quarterback Harrison Burch to receiver Cash Crumpton that covered 34 yards. West Point tried to answer on the Warriors’ opening possession, but the march was fruitless when it came to points because of a fourth-down stop by the Golden Tigers’ defense.
Russellville’s lead grew to 14-0 on the next play when Phinizee raced 85 yards for a touchdown run that was followed by a successful Manny Martinez extra-point kick. The ensuing kickoff return was fumbled by West Point, and Paxton Wray was on the spot for the RHS recovery. It took three plays for the Golden Tigers to re-enter the end zone as Phinizee scored again, this time on a 17-yard run. The extra-point kick was blocked to make the score 20-0 with less than a minute remaining in the opening quarter.
RHS then forced a punt by the Warriors and a long third-down throw and catch from Burch to Michael Scofield kept a drive alive that culminated with a three-yard touchdown carry by Phinizee. West Point’s next possession also ended with a punt and the return by Bralynn Vincent went to the end zone, but a penalty on the Golden Tigers erased the touchdown. However, Russellville ultimately got the points when Phinizee crossed the goal line on a 43-yard run. Phinizee’s last touchdown of the night came with 1:13 left on the second quarter clock on a 22-yard carry to make the score 41-0 at the half.
Russellville grew the lead to 48-0 in the third period when Zave Eggleston scored on a five-yard run and Martinez added the extra point. West Point’s touchdowns came on a two-yard third quarter run and a 36-yard fourth quarter pass after Ben Pounders of RHS intercepted a throw by the Warriors earlier in the final quarter.
Next for the Golden Tigers will be a trip to East Limestone for another region contest. East has a record of 0-4 on the season with losses to Athens, Central-Florence, Fairview and Brewer.