Golden Tigers dominate No. 1 Cullman for easy 42-14 victory

By Staff
Scot Beard
For the second year in a row the Russellville football team has ended the season for an undefeated and top-ranked team during the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
The Golden Tigers scored 21 points in the third quarter to pull away for a 42-14 victory to clinch their second trip to the state semifinals in as many years.
Last season Russellville defeated a previously unbeaten Hartselle team – ranked No. 1 in Class 5A – in the quarterfinals.
Like last week, the defense opened the scoring for the Golden Tigers when Jessie Green returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown.
"I practiced to defend that curl route all week," Green said. "I didn't know I had the ball until I started running."
Jose Betancourt added the extra point to put Russellville ahead 7-0.
Russellville added to its lead with a 9-yard touchdown run by Brent Calloway with 3:22 remaining in the second quarter.
Trent Brannon intercepted a Cullman pass on the ensuing possession and the Golden Tigers struck quickly when Joey Howe hit Jake Ward for a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Cullman reduced its deficit to 21-7 with a 51-yard touchdown pass with 2:24 to play in the half.
Howe, who has struggled at times this year, completed 10-of-16 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in the first half.
"The receivers ran good routes and the offensive line played well," Howe said. "Our O-line handled their size well. There was no pressure tonight except for one play."
Russellville coach Doug Goodwin said he was pleased with Howe's play because it allowed the Golden Tigers to execute their game plan.
"We had been able to run on everybody," Goodwin said. "We knew they would be sitting on the run."
Russellville opened the second half with a 62-yard scoring drive that ended when Calloway scored from 41 yards out.
About a minute later, Ryan Romans returned a punt deep into Cullman territory. A personal foul on the Bearcats set up first-and-goal from the 4-yard line and Jyran Darby punched it into the end zone on the drive's first play.
Jake Ward capped off the Russellville scoring with an 84-yard interception return for a touchdown with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Cullman scored with less than a minute to play in the game.
Howe finished the game with 170 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Mason Willis caught six passes for 82 yards while Romans pulled in four catches for 48 yards.
Calloway carried the ball six times for 65 yards.
With the win, Russellville will host McAdory in the semifinals next Friday at 7 p.m. McAdory defeated Hartselle 31-28.

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