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Russellville earns another week of football with playoff victory over Lincoln

The Russellville Golden Tigers opened the 2021 AHSAA Class 5A football playoffs with a 41-14 home win over the Lincoln Golden Bears Friday night.

RHS (9-2) got contributions from many different players in all phases of the game to grab the victory and advance to the second round.

The Golden Tigers will now host Fairview Nov. 12. The Aggies defeated Fairfield in round one to improve their record to 10-1 on the season.

In Friday night action, Lincoln got the ball first against Russellville, but the Golden Tigers forced a punt. After the snap was dropped by the punter, the RHS offense started with ideal field position.

It took only one play for Boots McCulloch to score on a 21-yard run, and with less than two minutes off the clock, the Manny Martinez PAT kick put the Golden Tigers ahead 7-0.

LHS answered on the following drive with a 56-yard touchdown pass to even the score.

A long return of the following kickoff by Randell Johnson helped give some momentum back to Russellville. Then, a five-play scoring drive that featured all Conner Warhurst rushing plays was capped by a 1-yard run by the junior back.

The extra-point kick was blocked, and the Russellville lead was six points.

Warhurst added his second TD of the night when he scored on a 15-yard run with 2:09 remaining in the first half to put the Golden Tigers up 20-7.

Lincoln pulled to within six points of RHS at 20-14 late in the third period when the Golden Bears put together a nine-play drive – all running plays – after a Russellville fumble gave them the ball.

With things looking up for LHS, Russellville answered and added to the lead on the first play of the fourth quarter. Randell Johnson caught a pass from Gabe Amick and outran the defense to the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown.

A fake punt attempt for a first down by the Golden Bears was unsuccessful, ending their next possession, and RHS made them pay by growing the lead to 34-14 on a 48-yard TD pass from Amick to McCulloch.

The final touchdown of the contest was scored by Malachi Duncan on a 1-yard carry with a tick over two minutes left in the game.

“Five more days – that’s all we want,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “We’ll work next week to earn five more, and hopefully we’ll do what we’re supposed to do next Friday to get to play five more.

“I’m super-proud of these guys and super-proud of their effort, their attention to detail this week and just the whole nine yards.”