Golden Tigers host Johnson in key Region 8 battle

By Staff
Scot Beard
With the season winding down, teams are feeling pressure to make a final push for playoff spots.
Russellville and J.O. Johnson are no exception. The two teams meet Friday at Russellville Stadium.
The Golden Tigers are 3-1 in region play while the Jaguars are 2-2. Neither team is assured of a playoff spot yet.
Russellville coach Doug Goodwin said he has not spoken with his team about the playoff implications of this game.
"I don't have to talk to them about that. They know what we have to do as far as the playoffs go," Goodwin said. "If you want to play at home in first round, you have to win."
The Golden Tigers are still in the hunt for the region title, but they need to win the rest of their games and hope Hartselle drops two region games. That is not likely since Hartselle plays Butler, Lee and Muscle Shoals – three teams with a combined record of 4-14 and Muscle Shoals owns all four of the wins.
Russellville can still earn a first-round home game if it finishes second in the region.
The Jaguars are probably out of any chance to host a playoff game in the first round, but they are currently in a three-way tie in the region standings for the fourth and final playoff berth.
Goodwin said the Golden Tigers are facing a typical Johnson team, which means quite a bit of size and speed.
"Their record is not good, but if you don't play they will whip you," Goodwin said.
Russellville ended a two-game losing skid last week with a 20-0 victory at Muscle Shoals. The Golden Tigers have carried the momentum from that win into this week's practice.
"There was more (enthusiasm) Monday than there was last Monday," Goodwin said.
Russellville is hoping to use that spark of excitement to help it prepare for a dangerous Johnson squad.
The Jaguars only have two victories so far – a 25-8 win against Lee and a 48-26 win against Butler.
They were blown out their four losses – 30-0 against Spanish Fort, 44-14 against Hartselle, 48-6 against Athens, and 49-6 against Jess Lanier.
Johnson is averaging 16.5 points per game and allowing 34.2 points per game.
Russellville is averaging 27.3 points per game and is allowing 13 points per game.
Goodwin said the key to containing Johnson is not focusing on what plays Johnson tries to run, but by playing smart.
"It doesn't matter what they do," Goodwin said. "What matters is if we show up in right frame of mind.

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