Top Stories of 2014: Football
After missing the playoffs a year before, the Golden Tigers returned to the post season as area runner-ups behind new head coach Mark Heaton. The solid season was marked by wins against Deshler and Johnson from Huntsville.
The Russellville Golden Tigers’ season came to a close Friday night as they fell 36-14 to the visiting Pleasant Grove Spartans in the opening round of the 5A high school football playoffs.
Russellville trailed 16-6 at halftime and never held the lead in a game that saw Pleasant Grove execute the zone-read offense almost to perfection on their way to rushing for 217 yards compared to Russellville’s 106.
Russellville passed for 223 yards, 60 yards better than the Spartans, but three interceptions kept Russellville from capitalizing on drives throughout the night.
Head coach Mark Heaton said his team didn’t capitalize when they needed to.
“We left too many points on the field and left too many tackles to be made out there,” Heaton said. “Especially in the first half when we had chances in the red zone and we didn’t capitalize.”
Russellville took the opening possession and drove 56 yards in 14 plays only to come up short in scoring position and turn the ball over on downs. The Spartans took over and capped a 10-play drive with a 41-yard pass touchdown. With a 7-0 lead Pleasant Grove never looked back.
Russellville finally got on the board with just over five minutes left in the opening half when Payton Nichols hit Reed Smith for a 16-yard touchdown strike. The final five minutes of the half saw the Spartans answer with another touchdown making it 14-6 and Russellville moved the ball into the Pleasant Grove half of the field. But Nichols’ first interception of the night, a tipped pass, was brought down by the Spartans with 30 seconds left in the half. Two plays later Pleasant Grove kicked a field goal and trotted into the locker room with a 16-6 lead.
“Our kids played well tonight, we just missed some opportunities out there,” Heaton said. “And their team executed really well.”
Vina ends winless streak
It was the Tyler Renfrow show this past Friday night as Vina ended its season on a positive note with a 46-28 win over Holy Spirit Catholic High School.
Renfrow ran for four touchdowns and returned a fumble for another. He finished with 319 rushing yards on 48 carries. Renfrow also carried the ball 38 consecutive times in route to the win.
Vina (2-8) scored early and often after having long and sustained drives.
Tanner Miller opened the scoring for Vina, who capped off an 18-play, 73-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown. The drive used 10 minutes, 30 seconds. Renfrow added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
After a Holy Spirit touchdown, Renfrow took over.
After another long drive, Renfrow scored from two yards out and he also ran in the two-point conversion for a 16-6 lead. Renfrow’s second touchdown came on a 32-yard fumble return, giving Vina a 24-6 lead. The Red Devils led 24-12 at the half.
The teams swapped touchdowns in the third quarter, with Renfrow scoring on a two-yard run for his third touchdown.
Holy Spirit had narrowed the gap to 32-28 before Renfrow sealed the win with his final two touchdowns in the fourth quarter – a one-yard touchdown run and a two-yard touchdown run.
“It is a really good feeling to get that win Friday night, and I’m happy for the seniors to get this win” Vina head coach Luke Childers said.
“I hope we are starting something good here, getting these two wins, and moving into next season hopefully we can build from that.
“We’re going to have to work hard in the off season and come back ready to work next season.”