Golden Tigers get a fight from Colbert County, but but earn 21-13 victory
LEIGHTON- Neither ghosts nor ghouls scared the Russellville football team on Halloween, but a group of Indians ranked No. 6 in Class 3A were able to give the squad a fright.
The Golden Tigers renewed a long-time rivalry by traveling to Colbert County Friday and escaped with a 21-13 win.
"The only thing I am disappointed about is that we didn't score any more points," said Russellville coach Doug Goodwin.
The Golden Tiger defense played well throughout the game, holding Colbert County (7-3, 6-1) to only 221 yards of total offense.
The defense started out strong when Jake Ward intercepted an Indian pass on Colbert County's first play of the game. It also ended strong when Demorian Abernathy and Robin Nelson combined to sack the Indians' quarterback on a fourth-down play with 16 seconds remaining in the game.
"Any time they sack them, I'm happy," Goodwin said. "I am real proud of the defense."
After his interception, Ward caught a 5-yard touchdown pass on the ensuing drive to give Russellville a 7-0 lead with 7:16 remaining in the first quarter. Jose Betancourt's point after attempt was good.
Colbert County answered quickly by scoring on a 64-yard pass three plays later to tie the game.
On their next possession, the Golden Tigers (9-1, 6-1) drove the ball to the Colbert County 6-yard line, but were unable to convert a fourth-and-1 play.
The Indians drove down the field, but their drive died on the Russellville 24 when they failed to convert a fourth-down play.
The Golden Tiger offense drove back down the field and scored what would be the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run by Brent Calloway midway through the second quarter.
Colbert County scored near the end of the third period by returning an interception for a touchdown. With a chance to tie the game, the Indians' kicker missed the point after to leave Colbert County trailing by one.
On the following drive, Russellville drove to the Indians' 40-yard line, but stalled out. Facing fourth-and-15, Ward lined up to punt, but threw the ball to Justin Fretwell for a 23-yard gain and a first down.
"It was a pre-snap read. I looked for who was on Justin," Ward said. "It turned out to be a slow guy."
Five plays later quarterback Joey Howe atoned for his interception with a 1-yard touchdown run to extend Russellville's lead to 21-13.
"It made me feel good," Howe said. "It was a relief when we got into the red zone."
Colbert County had four more possessions after Howe's score, but the Indians were unable to move the ball, throwing one interception and failing to convert three fourth-down plays.
With the loss, Colbert County – which was in a three-way tie for the Class 3A, Region 8 title – falls to third in their region and will travel to Good Hope in the opening round of the playoffs.
Russellville knew who it would host in the first round going into the game and can now turn its attention to Fort Payne. Goodwin thinks playing a team like Colbert County in the final week of the regular season will be beneficial to the Golden Tigers.
"Hopefully it will give us a little momentum and we can get better," Goodwin said.