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Brannon King

For the FCT

The long-awaited 2013 Russellville High School football season kicked off Thursday night with a jamboree game against the Brooks Lions.  The Golden Tigers, coming off a 9-3 record last season, gave fans a glimpse into what the upcoming season may hold on a humid night in Russellville.

As is the case with many dress rehearsals prior to the beginning of the regular season, the first half of the game spotlighted many of players who are expected to make a major impact on how the upcoming season opener against Deshler will go.  The game featured multiple substitions, many coming during the second half which mainly showcased future varsity players.  This serves as a good opportunity to develop team depth in a way that early regular season games do not always allow.  This could be beneficial as the season goes along.

The Tigers jumped out to a first quarter lead when junior quarterback Zack Garrison connected on a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Owens capping an 11 play drive that covered 70 yards.  On the ensuing Brooks possession, Russellville defender JJ Johnson recovered a fumble by the Lions to set up the Golden Tiger offense.

Russellville would find the endzone again with 4:26 to go in the opening quarter on a 5-yard touchdown run by Deyon Hill.  Place-kicker Clay McNatt, who was perfect on the night on extra points, made the score 14-0.

The second quarter was controlled by both team’s defenses.  Russellville did manage a 89-yard sprint to the endzone by Trey Williams but the long run was brought back due to a penalty on the play.

The Golden Tigers made a late second quarter scoring threat as two Hill runs on fourth down plays helped extend a drive that ultimately came up empty as an interception brought the half to an end with Russellville leading 14-0.

Russellville head coach Michael Jackson was pleased by his team’s performance in the first half. “We were excited about getting to play and break in some new starters on offense,”  Jackson said.

Brooks came alive in the second half scoring on a 61-yard touchdown run with 10:16 to go in the third quarter.  The extra point was good giving the Lions their first scoring drive of the night.

After a Russellville punt, Brooks started a drive and scored on a 2-yard run with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter.  The Lions ended the quarter with another long touchdown run but the extra point failed.

The final quarter included another short scoring run followed by the extra point by the Lions with 3:38 remaining in the game.  Russellville concluded the night with a 61-yard touchdown run of their own by freshman running back Khem West followed by a McNatt extra point.

The Golden Tigers face one of the toughest schedules in the state.  Region 8 in Class 5A contains 3 preseason top 10 teams.

Russellville will travel to Tuscumbia to take on the Deshler Tigers to open the regular season August 30.