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Golden Tigers fall to Colbert Indians

By Brannon King for the FCT

Russellville and Colbert County renewed an old rivalry Friday night in Leighton, and the Indians defeated the Golden Tigers 41-21 at C.T. Manley Stadium in front of a big crowd.

Colbert County (8-2, 6-1) used a strong rushing attack to impose their will over RHS and take the regular season finale for both teams. The two schools both finished second in their respective regions and will host first-round playoff games, Russellville in Class 5A and Colbert County in Class 3A.

The Indians jumped out to a 14-0 first half advantage and held the lead for the entire game. Russellville (7-3, 6-1) was held scoreless for the first and fourth quarters and trailed 20-14 at the half.

“Colbert County came here ready to play, and we didn’t,” Russellville Head Coach Mark Heaton said. “They were more physical and we weren’t; they made more plays and we didn’t. They’ve got a good football team. They’ve a better football team than us, and that showed tonight.”

The two teams traded punts on their first few possessions of the game before Colbert County grabbed the lead with 2:17 remaining in the first quarter. Kobi McCoy scored on a run from 34-yards out and Mendoza added the extra point. The Indians used McCoy to gain big yardage again on their next drive, and he scored on an 8-yard carry to put CCHS up by two touchdowns.

Russellville’s offense then put together a scoring drive of their own. Payton Nichols threw to Bernard Phinizee for a 24-yard gain before Zaye Boyd ran in a 28-yard touchdown. Marvin Betancourt’s extra point kick made the score 14-7 with 5:49 left in the half.

It only took four plays for Colbert County quarterback Malik Hamilton to answer. He broke tackles on the way to the end zone for a 21-yard TD. Russellville’s Colin Garrison blocked the ensuing extra point, and the Indians led 20-7.

RHS got another possession before the half, and Boyd again found the end zone. He scored on a 3-yard carry this time, and Betancourt added the PAT. Colbert County managed to get down to the RHS 14-yard-line before unsuccessfully faking a field goal as time expired in the first half.

Colbert County then took the second half kickoff and put together a 4-play scoring drive, and the Indians added the two-point conversion to make it 28-14.

RHS then added a touchdown on a 14-play drive. Boyd scored his third TD of the game, this time on a 1-yard run on fourth down, and Betancourt added the extra point kick for Russellville’s final points of the game with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter.

Colbert County added a third quarter touchdown when Malik Hamilton threw to Keandre Smith for a 41-yard score and a fourth quarter touchdown on a 4-yard run by McCoy.

Russellville will host the Guntersville Wildcats next Nov. 4 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.