RHS faces test next few weeksPublished 6:00am Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The Russellville Golden Tigers (4-2 overall, 2-2 region) find themselves playing a familiar foe in Athens Friday night.
The Golden Tigers defeated the Golden Eagles 17-14 last season and lead the series all-time at 18-7.
Athens has a surprising 1-5 record, but those losses have come against Decatur, Hartselle, Muscle Shoals, Austin and East Limestone.
The Golden Eagles will be looking to rebound with a win, and Russellville will be looking to secure a spot in the playoffs.
“We’re going back to work and doing what we do every week,” Russellville head coach Michael Jackson said. “We’re trying to get a little bit better with our execution and trying to get better in our passing game and our defensive passing game, because those are some things that teams down the road may give us some problems with.
“We’re trying to take care of Athens this week and trying to get in the playoffs and start from there.”
Jackson said that Athens’ record was deceptive given the caliber of teams they have played, including two 6A schools.
He also said that the games coming up against Hartselle and Fayette County would be big games.
“We’ve got to be consistent and keep executing better, keep taking care of the ball and take advantage of the opportunities we get into a good position,” he said.
“These are all good teams coming up. Fayette only has one loss and Hartselle has two losses. Athens has an excellent football team.
“I know their win/loss record is not great, but the teams they have lost to are all good teams.
“We’ve got to be very prepared. They have a lot of speed, and we have to handle that speed and their playmakers. They have a really quick defense, and we’re up for a challenge this week.”
Athens’ win/loss record may come as a bit of a surprise to fans in this area who follow that program, which won a state championship as recently as 2006.
However, the Golden Eagles amassed a 10-13 record over the past two seasons, and things do not seem to be getting any better, with their only win so far this year coming against 2-4 West Point.
Muscle Shoals is currently in first place in Class 5A, Region 8 with a 6-0 record. Cullman is 5-1 after the overtime win over Russellville last week, the Golden Tigers and Hartselle are tied at 4-2, East Limestone is 3-3 and Lawrence County is 2-4.
“It’s about par for this region,” Jackson said. “You’re going to have some upsets and some teams play some great games. Hopefully these games will prepare everyone for the playoffs and the teams that do get in will have a chance to be successful.”
Given Athens’ 2012 win/loss record and the big games coming up, the Golden Eagles would be an easy team to overlook, but any game between Russellville and Athens is sure to draw attention.
Since the Golden Tigers currently have a 2-2 record in Region 8 this season, a win over the Golden Eagles would go a long way in Russellville’s bid to make the 2012 playoffs.
“This week is a big week,” Jackson said.
“We’re trying to secure a position in the playoffs. Then the next two region games will determine the position you finish in.
“The major goal is to get into the playoffs, and then find out who we play when we get in.”