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RMS repeats as football conference champ

The Russellville Middle School football team wrapped up the 2021 season with a win at Brewer to earn the program’s second-straight Northwest Alabama Middle School Conference championship.

The Tigers traveled to Brewer Oct. 7 for the conference championship game and defeated the Patriots by a 20-8 final score with the help of three touchdowns from running back Cam Phinizee – a week after the eighth-grader scored seven TDs in the semifinals.

RMS finished the season unbeaten in conference play, and the team was 6-1 on the season under first-year head coach Corey Flanagan.

In the game versus Brewer, the Tigers were without multi-purpose standout Ben Pounders, who was injured in the semi-final win and took a large number of snaps at the quarterback position during the season. Filling in at QB in the championship game was Tripp Cleveland, a seventh-grader.

“It was a great year,” Flanagan said. “It’s a resilient group of kids. That’s one way I would describe this bunch of players and coaches.”

Included in the conference, along with Russellville, were seven other schools. The teams were placed into two divisions, with Ardmore, Lawrence County and West Morgan joining RMS in the West Division. In the East Division were the teams from Brewer, East Limestone, Elkmont and Priceville.

The 2021 season was the second year of conference play for the group.

The Tigers took down East Limestone in the semifinals 56-40 in an exciting contest at Russellville to advance to the title game.

Other conference wins this season for RMS were over Ardmore (27-0), Lawrence County (24-16) and West Morgan (12-6).

The Tigers began the season with a jamboree at Decatur and played the Red Raiders and Priceville. RMS followed that with a couple of games outside of the conference, including a win over Sheffield in the regular season opener and a loss at Deshler.

“We’re very fortunate to get to play in a middle school conference, which I think is phenomenal for these kids,” Flanagan said. “It helps prepare them for the next level, obviously, playing region and playoffs and creating that standard of playing for championships that Russellville football is all about.”

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