Tough night for Golden Tigers in 30-7 loss to Cullman
Things went bad for Russellville almost from the time they arrived at Woodard Stadium in Cullman Friday night.
Starting center Louis Monterroso was lost for the game after slipping and falling down the hill leading to the team’s pre-game warm ups and things never got much better for the Golden Tigers.
Cullman capitalized on Russellville miscues in timely situations and pounded the Golden Tigers’ defense with a powerful running game on its way to a 30-7 win.
It marked the second straight year the Bearcats beat Russellville and was only the third time they had ever beaten the Golden Tigers.
Last season’s 21-20 loss to Cullman also gave Russellville two region losses and that’s exactly the same situation the Golden Tigers find themselves in this year.
“We are exactly where we were at this time last year and last season we responded well and didn’t lose another regular season game,” head coach Michael Jackson said.
“We have to approach the rest of the season like it’s the playoffs.”
Russellville had some opportunities early in the game that they let slip away and were never quite able to recover.
“When you have a chance to make plays against a good team and you don’t do it, it hurts and things can snowball away from you and that’s what happened to us,” Jackson said.
Russellville’s Jalen Scott intercepted a Cullman pass on the game’s first possession, but the Golden Tigers fumbled the ball back to the Bearcats a few plays later.
Cullman took a 3-0 lead on a 33-yard field goal with 2:56 to play in the first quarter.
The Golden Tigers’ offense responded, marching to the Bearcats one-yard line. On third and goal, it looked as though Russellville would take the lead. But, a false start penalty nullified a touchdown plunge and an interception on the next play killed the drive.
Cullman quickly drove down the field and built a 10-0 lead, which they would carry into the half.
“We had some chances in the first half to make a play and we never did it,” Jackson said.
“If we make one play here or one play there we might could have built some momentum, but we didn’t and we put ourselves behind the 8-ball.”
Russellville’s lone score came on a 44-yard touchdown pass from Zack Garrison to Reed Smith with 7:31 left in the game. It was set up two plays earlier by a Judd Ward interception.
Russellville travels to Athens next week for a game that now has huge playoff implications.
“I told our guys that we are in the same situation we were in last year and I challenged them to get better,” Jackson said.
“We have to approach each game one at a time and treat all of them like they are playoff games.”