Athens ends Golden Tigers’ dominance

Brannon King

For the FCT

 

The Athens Golden Eagles (5-2, 3-2) were able to accomplish something Friday night that they hadn’t done since 2000, that’s beat the Russellville Golden Tigers (3-4, 2-3).

The Golden Eagles took advantage of some Russellville mistakes and made some plays of their own in the 24-0 victory in Athens.  The loss puts Russellville in a situation where they could miss the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Russellville’s offense showed some promise early as the running game found yardage on carries by Deyon Hill and Jalen Scott.  However, a third down play in Athens territory was a sign of things to come as a Zack Garrison pass was caught but failed to gain a yard. The Golden Tigers couldn’t find a good rhythm on offense and failed to find the endzone in the game.

The Russellville defense held strong in the early going playing Athens to a scoreless first quarter.  The Golden Eagles’ first drive of the game consisted of 14 plays but ended with a punt even though the Eagles were aided by two offsides penalties on Russellville, one of which was on third and five.

The first score of the game came when Athens quarterback, Stephen Farmer ran 12 yards for a TD early in the second quarter.  Bram McGrady added the extra point to give the Golden Eagles a 7-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, Russellville’s Garrison mishandled a snap and Andre Holt of Athens recovered setting the Eagles up again.  Five plays later, Johnnie Anderson took the direct snap from center and ran the ball in from 4 yards out for a TD.  McGrady again added the PAT giving Athens a 14-0 lead just before halftime.

The second half started well for Russellville as the Golden Tiger defense forced and recovered a Tarik Malone fumble.

The Russellville offense couldn’t sustain the momentum.  Zack Garrison fumbled on a first down play losing big yardage just after completing a nice pass to Chris Owens on the previous down.  Deyon Hill recovered the fumble but two plays later, Garrison was intercepted by Johnnie Anderson of Athens.  The Golden Tiger defense then held strong and forced a missed field goal.

Russellville followed with a quick three-and-out giving the ball back to Athens and this time Bram McGrady was able to make a 28-yard field goal giving the Golden Eagles a 17-0 lead with 1:36 to go in the third quarter.

The next Russellville possession featured a couple of good running plays by Jalen Scott but a Paxton Schrimsher interception of a Garrison pass on fourth down ended the threat.

Russellville’s Tyrone Wilson recovered a William Mathews fumble to end the next Athens drive.  Russellville had the ball for one play when Johnnie Anderson of Athens recovered a Jalen Scott fumble.

Athens made the Tigers pay a few plays later when Stephen Farmer found William Mathews for a 16-yard touchdown pass.  McGrady then made the score 24-0 with the PAT.

After the seventh game of the season, the Golden Tiger offense still has work to do.

“We’re still looking to be consistent. Offensively, we’re not very consistent right now.  We get a drive going, we get something good going and then we do something to stall the drive.  We had a couple of good drives in the first half that kinda got stalled because of us or things we did or because of turnovers,” Russellville coach Michael Jackson said.

Russellville will try to get back into the win column against Lawrence County in the next game.

 

 

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