Golden Tigers fight challenge to come out on top versus Lawrence County

A playoff-type atmosphere hung in the air Friday night in Moulton as Russellville battled the Lawrence County Red Devils on the football field in a key Class 5A, Region 8 matchup. The Golden Tigers came out on top by a score of 27-18 – and with the victory, RHS stays tied atop the region standings halfway through the regular season.

The Golden Tigers (5-0, 3-0) struggled at times with turnovers on offense, and LCHS scored the first points allowed this season by the stingy Russellville defense. A strong rushing attack, however, produced all four touchdowns by RHS and led the way to victory.

“We made a lot of mistakes and didn’t play our best football, but maybe we’ll learn some lessons after a win instead of having to learn some lessons after a loss,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “We wanted to finish this first half of the region 3-0, and we did that. It wasn’t pretty at times – way too many turnovers, way too many mistakes defensively, and that’s something we’ve got to clean up if we’re going to accomplish what we’ve talked about accomplishing.

“We’ll see how we respond next week,” Ritter added.

Russellville’s first drive of the game ended with an interception in the end zone, but nine plays later, the Red Devils were forced to punt the ball back to the Golden Tigers.

It took two plays after regaining possession for RHS to grab the lead, as Caleb Mathews scored on a 51-yard touchdown run with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter. Cristhian Cano then added the PAT kick to make the score 7-0.

Three plays into the second period, Boots McCulloch carried the ball into the end zone for a 1-yard scoring play, but the extra point kick was no good.

The next Lawrence County drive ended with a punt, but the following RHS possession ended with a fumble, and the Red Devils later converted it into points on a 4-yard TD run. The LCHS extra point kick failed, and with 7:20 remaining in the opening half, Russellville was ahead 13-6.

In four more plays the Golden Tigers extended their advantage as McCulloch scored again, this time on a 27-yard carry to put RHS up by 13 after the Cano extra point kick.

Russellville threatened to score again just before the half, but an interception ended the drive.

On six first-half possessions, the Golden Tigers scored three times and had three turnovers.

The Red Devils held the ball for most of the third quarter, but neither team scored in the period. However, the large amount of time spent on the field by the RHS defense took its toll on the unit, and LCHS was able to score twice in the fourth quarter after Boots McCulloch had put Russellville up 27-6 on a 33-yard run with 6:50 left to go in the contest.

Russellville will now take a break from region play; the Golden Tigers are scheduled to host 6A Hartselle Friday night at RHS.

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