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RHS soccer finishes runner-up at state

For the first time in the five years of Russellville High School soccer, the Golden Tigers earned their way to the AHSAA Class 4A-5A Final Four.

The RHS varsity boys traveled to Huntsville’s John Hunt Park for the semifinal contest May 6 and defeated Crossville in an overtime thriller 3-2. The following evening, the Golden Tigers faced Indian Springs and fell in the state championship match by a 2-0 score.

Indian Springs (24-2-1) was led by 6-foot-7 junior, Final Four MVP Jackson Nabors, who towered above the other players on the field and created a match-up nightmare because of his height and athleticism.

Nabors scored the first goal of the match against Russellville on a first-half header off a pass from Nick Johnson, with 19:36 remaining on the clock. Nabors added the second Indian Springs goal with 11:11 left in the first half.

Russellville (19-1-0) had scoring chances during the contest against Indian Springs, which leaned on their defense in the second half to win their fourth state title and first in Class 4A-5A.

Indian Springs advanced to the championship match against RHS by defeating Montgomery Academy 2-0.

“We’re the last public school left, and to me that’s a big deal,” said Russellville head coach Trey Stanford. “We had some shots and had some chances but just couldn’t catch a break.”

Stanford shared a message he has for the Russellville community that packed the stands and made noise cheering for their team: “They want it bad, and they deserve it. They’re going to get one. It’s coming; it just wasn’t this time.”

The Golden Tigers got an overtime goal by Juan Cano to win their semifinal contest versus Crossville.

The two teams were tied 2-2 with 11 seconds remaining in regulation when weather conditions forced the squads to leave the playing field. Rain soaked the grass, and when play resumed, time expired in the second half with the score tied.

On the wet surface, Cano launched a shot near midfield that found the net on a bounce with 30 seconds on the overtime clock, and the Golden Tigers punched their ticket to the finals.

Earlier in the match, Orlando Jimenez scored the first Russellville goal with 12:50 remaining in the first half to even the score at 1-1. Crossville jumped back ahead with 7:07 left in the first half before the second RHS score came off the foot of Jonathan Salgado on an equalizer with 12:48 to go in the second half.

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