Golden Tigers win jamboree 14-6
By Matt Wilson
For the FCT
The Russellville Golden Tigers marched into C.T. Manley Stadium in Leighton Friday evening and took care of business, defeating the Colbert County Indians 14-6 in the season-opening jamboree game.
Russellville came out early and put together an impressive drive behind 15 rushing yards on three attempts by sophomore running back Deyon Hill.
Quarterback Peyton Nichols capped off the drive with a twisting and turning dash to the corner of the end zone to tally a nine-yard touchdown for the Golden Tigers at the 9:32 mark in the opening quarter of play.
Nichols ended his night with a first-half performance that drew equal amounts of praise and accountability from Golden Tiger head coach Mark Heaton.
Nichols went into halftime with just 4 of 13 passing and 31 yards and one interception. Many of Nichols passing attempts came on plays designed to roll the quarterback out to one side or the other, forcing the quarterback to throw many times while on the run.
Running back Deyon Hill showed flashes of brilliance in the first half, especially the opening quarter, often ripping through the line of scrimmage and spinning off initial tacklers. Hill gashed the defense for gains of 12, 4, and 6 yards in a row to start the second quarter before capping it off with a two-yard plunge into the end zone to put the Golden Tigers up 14-0 at the 8:26 mark of the second quarter.
Hill said he was having such success in the first half because of his offensive line.
“My O-line was putting in work, opening holes,” Hill said.
“Then I was able to get through those holes and see my lines and have some success.”
Defensively Russellville looked solid. Colbert County has strong athletes that lined up as receivers and half-backs and showed a lot of movement before the snap, similar to Russellville.
Tobias Qualls for the Indians proved to be a matchup problem initially for the Golden Tigers, but solid ball hawking from players like Austin Bohannon and Cameron DeArman kept the Colbert County offense from doing too much damage at one time.
Colbert County running backs KeAndre Smith and Tyrone Cosby began to open things up for the Indians in the second half, and Smith finally punched on in getting the Indians on the board in the middle of the 3rd quarter.
Russellville Head Coach Mark Heaton said there is a lot to take away from a game like this.
“I’m excited for the kids,” Heaton said.
“I think with the expectations that we had placed on them going into the season might have had them a little bit rattled, but I’m excited about what I saw out here tonight.”
Heaton said God has been good to his team through summer and fall practices and that is important.
“Staying healthy or getting back to being healthy is always big,” Heaton said. “God has been good to us this off-season and we are grateful for that.”
Heaton said offensively they still plan on taking what opponents give them and said that Hill’s success in the first half is a great example of that.
“We’re never going to be one type of team or another,” Heaton said.
“We take what they give us and our O-line was doing a really good job of doing that and opening holes for Deyon.
“Defensively I hope they can keep playing like they did tonight. When they play well like that and keep things under control, it helps our offense have time to grow and get things figured out—it helps them develop.”