Russellville beats Lawrence County 38-19, sets up must-win against HartsellePublished 8:57am Saturday, October 19, 2013
The Russellville Golden Tigers’ 2013 playoffs begin in earnest next Friday night against Hartselle.
Russellville overcame an unusual amount of penalties and momentum swings Friday to knock off Lawrence County 38-19 for Homecoming. The win sets up a win or else situation against Hartselle next Friday. With a win, the Golden Tigers will still have a chance to make the playoffs, but a loss would mean Russellville would be left out of the state playoffs for the first time since 1999.
In Friday’s win over Lawrence County, the Golden Tigers’ offense looked unstoppable at times and the defense forced five interceptions. But 16 penalties and some unusual momentum swings kept the game from ever getting out of hand, although the Golden Tigers jumped out to an 17-0 lead.
Russellville quickly marched the opening drive down the field and scored on a one-yard Deyon Hill touchdown run. Clay McNatt’s PAT gave the Golden Tigers a 7-0 lead just a minute and a half into the game.
Five plays later, Austin Kiterman picked off the first of five interceptions for the Russellville defense and killed what appeared to be a promising drive for the Red Devils.
After an exchange of punts, Russellville found itself pinned on its own 20 –yard line.
On first down, Quarterback Zack Garrison hit Reed Smith in stride for the Golden Tigers’ longest offensive play of the season, a 90-yard touchdown. McNatt’s PAT build Russellville’s lead to 14-0 with 2:52 to play in the first quarter.
Just three plays later, Jalen Scott picked off another Red Devils pass. That would lead to a 26-yard field goal by McNatt on the first play of the second quarter.
“I was proud of our guys tonight,” Russellville coach Michael Jackson said.
“We got our running game going early and the defense made a lot of big plays.”
Lawrence County capped a long scoring drive with 1:27 to play in the quarter to make the Golden Tigers’ halftime lead 17-6.
The Russellville defense continued its stingy ways early in the third quarter when Judd Ward picked off a pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. McNatt’s PAT made it 24-6 with 10:54 to play in the third quarter.
Kitterman got his second interception of the game on the Red Devils next possession. Russellville capped that short drive with a quarterback sneak by Garrison to extend the lead to 31-6.
Then, things got a little more interesting.
Lawrence County returned the kickoff 70 yards, setting up a short touchdown drive. The two-point conversion failed and Russellville lead 31-12.
It looked as if though Russellville was marching down the field for a knockout score. Russellville ran six consecutive plays that were on first down and were moving the ball at will.
Then, the Red Devils’ Montel McDaniel made an incredible interception that he returned 80 yards for a touchdown. The PAT cut Russellville’s lead to 31-19 with 3:24 to play in the third quarter.
Lawrence County recovered the ensuing onsides kick and looked to be in business again before turning the ball over on downs. That was as close as they would get again.
Hill iced the game with a 12-yard touchdown run with 3:47 left.
Hill finished the night with 156 of Russellville’s 290 rushing yards. The Golden Tigers amassed a season high of 470 yards on the night, while holding the Red Devils to 223.
“It was a good solid game and I am proud of the guys. The effort was good,” Jackson said.
“Now, we know what we have to do.”
Russellville travels to Hartselle Friday night.