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Golden Tigers open with longtime rival Deshler, wing-T attack

The Deshler game is one of the oldest and longest running rivalries on Russellville’s schedule.

In fact, Deshler is one of just a handful of teams all-time to hold a series lead over the Golden Tigers, leading the series 43-39.

But, Russellville holds a 10-3 advantage since the year 2000.

So when the two longtime rivals get together to open the season Friday night there are few surprises expected.

“I think both teams kinda know what they are getting,” said Russellville head coach Michael Jackson, who has been part of the series as a player, assistant coach and now enters his third season as head coach.

“I think this Deshler team is a little more talented than last year’s team.”

Russellville won that game 34-14.

Jackson anticipates some changes in this year’s game. Deshler will rely heavily on its vaunted Wing-T offense that they have ran for more than 30 years, but he believes the Tigers will try to air it out a little more.

“I think they will throw the ball more than a normal Deshler team does,” Jackson said.

“In their jamboree, they had five or six plays of more than 40 yards, so their big play ability has us concerned. They have some speedy backs that we have to contain from getting to the corner also.”

Jackson said the Tigers return about half of their starters from a year ago.

“Linebacker is their best position on the field,” he said. “They are real stout against the run.”

That’s one reason he was so encouraged by junior quarterback Zack Garrison’s play in last week’s jamboree win over Brooks.

“I think Garrison was nine of 16 and I thought he played well,” Jackson said. “We have got to keep working to get better but I think we have a lot of potential on offense.”

But defensively, the Golden Tigers could develop a special unit.

The starting defense only allowed 27 total yards to a Brooks team coming off a deep playoff run.

“I was very excited about the way our defense played,” Jackson said.

“We have got to cut out the penalties, that was a big problem in the jamboree but overall I felt like we played hard and played well. I think our kicking game is going to be a strong suit for us this year for sure.”

Russellville will travel to Deshler Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Howard Chappell Stadium.