Russellville survives scare from Golden Eagles in 35-27 victory

In the first quarter it looked as though top-ranked Russellville was going to cruise to another region victory after building a 21-0 lead against Athens, but the Golden Eagles had other plans.

Russellville had to hold off a pair of rallies and scratches out a 35-27 victory to improve to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in Class 5A, Region 8 play.

Athens took the opening drive to the Russellville 8-yard line, but was unable to put points on the scoreboard.

The Golden Tigers drove the length of the field and scored on a 19-yard run by Tevin Cross. Brent Calloway added to the lead with a 12-yard touchdown run.

Devan Parker extended the lead to 21-0 with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Will Bostick with 8:39 remaining in the first half.

Russellville seemed content with the lead and the Golden Eagles took advantage. Athens added a pair of touchdowns in the final 3:30 of the second quarter to cut Russellville’s lead to 21-13.

“The first three scores were almost too easy,” said Russellville coach Doug Goodwin.

The Golden Tigers responded in the third quarter with a pair of touchdown runs by Calloway covering seven yards and 81 yards to push Russellville’s lead to 35-13.

Athens (1-2, 1-1) refused to go away quietly and cut into the deficit with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 9:08 to play. The 2-point conversion failed and left the Golden Eagles trailing 35-19.

With 2:28 to remaining in the game Athens scored on a 13-yard run and added a 2-point conversion to cut Russellville’s lead to eight points.

Athens attempted an onside kick and the ball bounced off a couple of Russellville players before the Golden Tigers could recover. Russellville was unable to pick up a first down and was forced to punt and Athens took over on its own18-yard line.

The Golden Eagles were backed up five yards on a penalty then quarterback Stephen Rivers was sacked for an 8-yard loss. On second-and-23 Rivers’ pass fell incomplete.

The next snap was fumbled and Russellville’s Jackson Witt recovered the ball. The Golden Tigers ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Calloway finished the night with 185 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns.

Russellville opened up the passing game this week and Parker responded by completing 5-of-7 attempts for 104 yards, a touchdown and one interception.

Russellville hosts East Limestone next week.

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