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RHS soccer takes second in state

The Russellville boys’ soccer team went to Huntsville for the AHSAA Class 4A-5A Final Four for the second straight year and came up just short of the state championship.

The Golden Tigers, 20-3-1, led by head coach Trey Stanford, finished another tremendous season with a thrilling semifinal win over Crossville for the second season in a row. They also fell in the finals to Indian Springs, just as they did a year ago.

Russellville and Crossville got things going in the semifinals with a two-overtime battle May 12 that went the Golden Tigers’ way by a 3-2 final score at Huntsville’s John Hunt Park.

Crossville led 1-0 on a goal 24:25 into the first half by Rodolfo Balcazar – and held that advantage until the second half when Juan Cano of Russellville scored to make it 1-1 and scored again about two minutes later to give his team the lead.

Rogelio Ramirez of Crossville converted on a penalty kick to even the score at 2-2.

After 80 minutes of play, the two teams went into the first five-minute overtime session, with neither team getting a goal.

During the second OT, Russellville’s Yamilson Velasquez scored with just less than a minute and a half to go to win it for the Golden Tigers in thrilling fashion.

Luis Salgado was on his game in the goal at keeper for RHS throughout the match for the win.

On the following day, in a rematch of the 2021 season’s state championship game, Russellville faced Indian Springs. In the semifinals, ISS squeaked out a 4-3 victory in a penalty kick shootout after two overtimes with Montgomery Academy.

Indian Springs, 21-2-5, took this year’s state title by a 1-0 score in a heartbreaker for RHS after winning this past year 2-0 over the Golden Tigers in the finals.

Another big crowd was on hand to support the Russellville team, just as a year ago. RHS had 26 shots in the championship game, and tournament MVP goalkeeper Sims Tosh of Indian Springs was up to the task with 13 saves.

The lone goal of the match was by Nathan Tozzi on a first-half penalty kick for ISS head coach Rik Tozzi’s.

Russellville was breathtakingly close to scoring during the match and played with tremendous effort throughout the game. Salgado was solid once again for the Russellville team.