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Russellville Golden Tigers continue win streak

The Russellville Golden Tigers opened football region play at home against the Mae Jemison Jaguars and made the statement that they are once again the team to beat in AHSAA Class 5A, Region 8.

RHS dominated from start to finish in getting a 44-10 win over the Jags to improve their season record to 3-0 overall.

The Class 5A seventh-ranked Golden Tigers began the defense of their 2020 region crown won Friday night – and did it in impressive fashion.

“We’ve got a target on our back,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter after the win. “We’re the defending region champs, and we’ve got to come out each week ready to play, and this is what we had to do.

“You’ve got to start off 1-0 and really kind of control your own destiny, and it was a great start.”

Russellville welcomed back Ritter and some of the players who had to miss the previous week’s win over Deshler Friday night, and the big home crowd was treated to another all-around team effort that has been an important factor in the early-season RHS success.

After the two teams traded punts on their first possessions, Russellville took over with favorable field position after a short Mae Jemison kick. The Golden Tigers went to work on a scoring drive that took four plays to find pay dirt.

TJ King scored his first of two touchdowns on the night with an eight-yard run. Manny Martinez was perfect with extra-point kicks in the contest, and his first against Jemison put RHS up 7-0 with 7:10 remaining in the opening quarter.

The next Jemison drive was short-lived. A low snap to the punter resulted in a safety for the Golden Tigers when the ball bounced through the back of the end zone to put RHS up 9-0.

After the free kick by the Jaguars went out of bounds, the Golden Tigers were ready to pounce again. Four plays later, Conner Warhurst took a handoff from returning quarterback Gabe Amick – who was back in action after missing the previous week’s game – and went 13 yards for another first-quarter scoring play.

The Golden Tigers’ Amick-to-King connection was back on display when King made an outstanding catch of a long pass. He beat a couple of defenders for a 40-yard TD to put RHS up 23-0 with 4:13 to go in the first half.

Russellville senior Ashton Boyd made his return to the field – after recovering from a knee injury – memorable by intercepting a Jemison pass on the next possession.

Warhurst would make the Jaguars pay for their mistake, scoring on a 30-yard carry.

The first half closed on an interception by Russellville’s Emitt Green. After picking off the pass, the defensive back barely exited his own end zone before reentering it and falling to the ground, resulting in a safety for Mae Jemison to make the score 30-2 at the break.

The second half featured a 21-yard touchdown run by Warhurst to put RHS up 37-2 with 8:04 remaining in the third quarter and a 6-yard TD carry with 2:51 to go in the third by Boots McCulloch for the final score of the contest.

In between those scoring drives, Mae Jemison found the end zone on a 33-yard rushing play by Kel Woods, which was followed by his successful two-point conversion run.

Russellville’s Taylor Crumpton finished off the win with a late interception of a Jemsion pass.

Russellville is scheduled to travel to Brewer High School Sept. 10 for the Golden Tigers’ first road game of the season. They will take on the Patriots in another region contest.