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Golden Tigers hit gridiron for spring scrimmage

By Brannon King / For the FCT

The Russellville Golden Tigers finished their first spring football practice under new head coach John Ritter with a scrimmage at the RHS stadium on Wednesday, May 16.

The team was originally scheduled to host Sheffield Thursday in the spring game, but because of the RHS baseball team making the state championship series in Montgomery Thursday and Friday, the Golden Tigers adjusted the plan and elected to go with an inter-squad scrimmage game Wednesday afternoon.

The Golden Tigers are hoping a fresh start under Ritter will help improve on last season’s uncharacteristic 3-7 record.  Russellville used three quarterbacks in the scrimmage, with Lucas McNutt, Jacob Davis and Gabe Amick all taking shotgun snaps in Ritter’s fast-faced offense.

McNutt, just off of participating in the RHS golf team’s runner-up finish a day earlier in state competition, led the first-team offense. A rising senior and also a top-scorer on the basketball team, McNutt is back on the field after not playing football last year.

Davis is a tenth-grader, and Amick will be in ninth grade this fall.

The quarterback position will see a new starter this year with last season’s starter, Luke Barnwell, moving to Phil Campbell after his father Kevin took over as head coach of the Bobcats.

Devin Buckhalter was expected to see a lot of time at the quarterback position last year, but a foot injury cost him the 2017 season.  He was in Montgomery starting in right field for the baseball team but should be a key contributor on the football field again in 2018 for RHS.

“It was a very good spring,” Ritter said.  “We had three goals when we came out here: we wanted to see who would strike and play hard and, when things got tough, who was going to man up and go the extra mile to make sure they got their job done. I think we accomplished all three.

“We finished with 86 guys out here, and we’ve got five in baseball.  We have 91 right now that say that they’re going to be with us next fall.”

Ritter said he saw a lot of mistakes during the scrimmage, but that was to be expected with only a few days of practice and a new offense and new defense for his players to learn and execute.

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