Golden Tigers come out on top against Corner

By Brannon King / For the FCT

The Russellville Golden Tigers made the 100-mile trip to Corner to take on the Yellow Jackets Friday night and got contributions on offense, defense and special teams to take a 24-13 win to open Class 5A, Region 7 play.

Corner took a 13-0 first half lead with two long scoring drives to start the football game, but then Russellville shut the Jackets out the rest of the way, scoring 24 unanswered points to get the victory.

After a slow start, Russellville’s offense got going and scored two touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. The special teams group added points in the fourth quarter on a field goal that put the game away.

On defense, the Golden Tigers (2-0, 1-0) picked off a couple of Corner passes and came up with hard hits, including sacks and stops behind the line of scrimmage.

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “We played hard. We didn’t play very good and didn’t play with a lot of emotion in the first half, and the scoreboard reflected that. I thought we came back out in the second half and did a lot better.

“We showed that when we do what we’re supposed to do, and we play with a lot of passion and enthusiasm, we have an opportunity to be successful,” Ritter added.

The Jackets got on the board first with an eight-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down play to finish a 14-play drive. The extra-point kick was no good, making the score 6-0.

After forcing Russellville’s second punt of the game, Corner converted another fourth down and scored on a quarterback keeper for a two-yard TD. The extra-point kick was good, and with 9:12 remaining in the second quarter, the Jackets had all of the points they would accumulate for the night.

Russellville’s third offensive possession of the game was successful, and the Golden Tigers finished it off with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Lucas McNutt to Rowe Gallagher. Kenner Perez then made the first of his three successful extra-point kicks of the game to make the score 13-7 with 6:10 to go in the half.

Corner’s next possession ended on a punt, and then Russellville’s Zaye Boyd and Devin Buckhalter took over to lead RHS back to the end zone. On first down, McNutt pitched back to Buckhalter for a 16-yard gain. Three plays later, Boyd ran for 30 yards to get RHS inside the Corner 20-yard line. On third down, McNutt pitched back to Buckhalter, and he launched a deep pass to a wide-open Cole Barnett for a 22-yard touchdown.

After forcing a Corner punt on the first possession of the second half, the Golden Tigers went on a 99-yard scoring drive. The march down the field lasted 15 plays and was highlighted by a determined 32-yard run on third-and-12 by McNutt – in which he crossed the field breaking tackles – and then a three-yard touchdown carry by Boyd that followed on the next play.

The fourth quarter featured a 31-yard field goal by Perez that put RHS up 24-13 with 6:50 remaining in the game and a 24-yard touchdown run by McNutt that was called back because of a penalty. Also during the game’s final period, the Russellville defense got another interception by Ashaad Williams and a key stop by Albaro Francisco, along with sacks from Gage Cook and Nate Green on consecutive plays, to end a Corner possession.

The Golden Tigers will look to improve to 3-0 on the season as they host the Hayden Wildcats Friday night in another region matchup.

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