Golden Tigers put together ‘complete game’

Russellville head coach Michael Jackson said his Golden Tigers put together their most complete game of the season so far Friday night.

The Golden Tigers used a stingy defense and balanced offensive attack to beat West Point 35-0 in a rain soaked contest at Russellville Tiger Stadium.

After a scoreless first quarter, Russellville’s Jalen Scott capped a five-play 51-yard touchdown drive with a six yard run on the first play of the second quarter.

Senior kicker Clay McNatt, who has emerged as a potent part of Russellville’s team, kicked the first of his five extra points to give the Golden Tigers a 7-0 lead. McNatt also had a good night punting the ball. Following Russellville’s first offensive possession, he pinned the Warriors inside their own two-yard line.

Later in the second quarter, running back Deyon Hill scored on a 21 yard run that gave Russellville a 14-0 lead with five minutes to play before the half.

“Our running game was clicking, especially considering what the weather was like,” Jackson said. “We did a pretty good job of taking care of the football and we were 8-of-12 throwing the ball, so we mixed it up enough to keep them off balance.”

Quarterback Zack Garrison finished with 96 yards passing and a touchdown.

Hill had 175 of Russellville’s 217 yards on the ground.

The Golden Tigers’ defense forced three turnovers and didn’t allow West Point to complete a pass in the second half. The Warriors finished the game with the 119 yards of total offense.

“I thought our defense played well,” Jackson said. “West Point hadn’t been shut out this year, so getting a shutout was big for our defense and that will help build their confidence moving forward.

“I am also really pleased and excited with our special teams. Clay is doing a great job and our coverage was good. As we go move into the season, that’s an important part of your team.”

Scott scored his second touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter on a 37-yard run to extend the lead to 21-0.

Following a quick defensive stand, Russellville marched 54 yards in nine plays, capped off by a five-yard touchdown pass from Garrison to Reed Smith.

Hill closed out the scoring with an electrifying 57-yard run on a third and 17 with under two minutes to play.

“Our guys fought hard and played well,” Jackson said.

“We had some guys back from injury. Having Hayden Evans back on the offensive line was big for us and we will need him for the rest of the year. There are a lot of good things to take away from this win.”

Russellville moves to 2-2 on the season and 2-1 in region play. They will step out of region this week, but it could still determine a lot in terms of playoff positioning.

Last year’s game against this week’s opponent, the Walker Vikings, was used in determining some tiebreakers within Region 8.

Walker is the defending Region 6 champion and is off to a 3-1 start, but they will not be eligible for the playoffs because of an AHSAA ruling after their head coach was involved in a physical altercation with a Cullman coach after a week 1 loss. Walker’s offensive coordinator was named the interim coach, but Russellville’s Jackson said the Vikings still present the same challenges as before.

“Nothing has really changed as far as the things they do,” Jackson said.

“They have some speedy athletes and they do a good job with the power running game. But, I think the defense is the strength of the team. Defensively, they are extremely sound.

“Walker has a very good football team and it seems like the community is rallying around them even more since everything happened earlier in the season. So this is going to be a good game between two good teams. Playing games like this will only help us as far as getting ready for the second half of the season and the playoffs.”

 

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