Russellville struggles then rolls past Panthers during 28-6 win

By Staff
Scot Beard
Russellville struggled offensively during the first half, but two quick scores following halftime propelled the Golden Tigers to a 28-6 victory against Southside-Gadsden in the first round of the playoffs.
Neither team scored in the first half and Russellville managed only four first downs during that span.
"During the first half the offense had chances to score," Russellville coach Doug Goodwin said. "We didn't block well and the backs didn't run hard."
Whatever adjustments the Golden Tigers made at halftime worked.
Russellville opened the second half with a 71 -yard drive capped off with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Joey Howe to Ryan Romans. Jose Betancourt added the extra point to give the Golden Tigers a 7-0 lead.
Following the ensuing kickoff, Southside set up shop on its own 33 but a fumble on the first play ended the drive. Russellville's Casey Herring recovered the dropped ball and returned it 30 yards to give Russellville its second touchdown in 22 seconds.
"(Roman's) score fired up the defense," Herring said. "It changed the momentum."
Goodwin said the quick scores were what the Golden Tigers needed to swing the game in their favor.
"The drive after halftime was huge. It got the momentum on our side," Goodwin said. "Casey's touchdown added to it and cemented the fact we had taken control."
The Panthers picked up a first down on their next drive, but an interception by Jake Ward ended the threat.
Russellville took the gift and drove 75 yards for another touchdown. The scoring play was a 39-yard pass from Joey Howe to Jyran Darby on third-and-16.
Southside and Russellville swapped a few possessions before the Golden Tigers fumbled on their own 34-yard line and the Panthers recovered the ball.
Southside scored on the next play, a 34-yard pass, but the point-after attempt failed and the Panthers trailed 21-6.
Russellville padded its lead with a 5-yard touchdown run by Brent Calloway with 4:02 remaining in the game.
The Golden Tiger defense held Southside to 181 yards of total offense, intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles.
Howe completed 13-of-24 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Calloway rushed for 108 yards on 16 carries. All of his yards came in the second half – he gained zero yards on five carries in the first half.
Darby added 71 rushing yards on nine carries.
With the win Russellville will host Muscle Shoals next week. The Golden Tigers defeated the Trojans 20-0 earlier this season.
"I'm sure they've been looking forward to playing us since we beat them," Goodwin said. "We are going to have to play as good or better than the first time we played them to beat them again."
Next Friday's game begins at 7 p.m.

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