RHS boys prepare to take gridiron
The Russellville Golden Tigers will enter the 2022 season in Class 5A, Region 8. John Ritter will enter his fifth season as head coach at RHS, where he has accumulated a record of 36-11.
This past year Russellville went 9-3 and was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by Fairview, a team that is a region opponent for Russellville this year.
The Golden Tigers’ schedule features four new teams and some interesting matchups. Gone from this past year’s schedule are Decatur, Mae Jemison, Hartselle and Madison Academy. Replacing them are Grissom, Fairview, Mars Hill and Athens.
Big games to watch will be at Deshler Aug. 26, versus Mars Hill Sept. 23, at Fairview Oct. 21 and versus Athens Oct. 28.
AUG. 19 – GRISSOM
The Russellville Golden Tigers will kick off the season Aug. 19 with a team they have never played before: the Grissom Tigers. The orange–and–brown clad Tigers are in the second year of Coach Rich Dutton’s tenure. This past year they finished the season 3-7 with wins over Lee-Huntsville, Austin and Hazel Green. Russellville will travel to Grissom.
AUG. 26 – DESHLER
Aug. 26 Russellville goes on the road again, to Deshler – the oldest rivalry involving a Franklin County team. Russellville and Deshler have played 95 times, with the Golden Tigers holding a slim edge in the series, 46-45-4.
Historically, this series is about as good as one gets. The Golden Tigers, however, have dominated it most recently.
The two teams have played each other consecutively since 1988, with Russellville winning 23 and losing 11. Russellville has won four straight – one of those a COVID-19 forfeiture. Two of those four have been overtime games, including a double overtime win in 2018. The Golden Tigers won in 2021, 45-37.
SEPT. 2 – LAWRENCE COUNTY
Russellville plays its first home game Sept. 2, hosting Lawrence County in the region opener.
The Golden Tigers are 24-5 against the Red Devils. These two teams have played each other 12 straight seasons, with Russellville winning 11 of those games, including a 43-0 shutout last year.
SEPT. 9 – WEST POINT
Sept. 9 the Golden Tigers go back on the road, traveling to regional opponent West Point. These two schools have met eight times, with Russellville winning all eight – and only one of those eight was even close, back in 2014. Other than that, the Golden Tigers have had no problems. They won this past year 51-6.
SEPT. 16 – EAST LIMESTONE
Sept. 16 Russellville will host East Limestone in a regional game. Again, Russellville has dominated this series with a record of 10-2. The Golden Tigers won this past year 42-0. The Indians went 5-6 last year.
SEPT. 23 – MARS HILL
The most intriguing matchup on Russellville’s schedule this year will be Sept. 23, when the Golden Tigers host Mars Hill for the first time ever.
Mars Hill is not a traditional football school; however, the Panthers have come out of nowhere to become a dominant force in northwest Alabama.
The Panthers went 10-4 this past year in Class 2A, where they breezed through their Region 8 schedule. Their four losses were to Jasper, Cullman, American Christian and Cleveland in the Class 2A semifinal game, 21-14. They were Class 2A state champions in 2020, lost in the Class 1A finals in 2019 and won the Class 1A championship in 2018.
Now, the Panthers are in Class 3A in football. Mark this game on your calendar.
Sept. 30 – BREWER
Sept. 30 Russellville will host Brewer in a regional game.
This will be the polar opposite on the intrigue scale from the previous week. Russellville has faced Brewer eight times and won all eight easily. The Golden Tigers won in a romp this past year, 52-0.
The Golden Tigers will have their open date Oct. 7.
OCT. 14 – ARDMORE
Oct. 14 the Golden Tigers will be back in action on the road at Ardmore for a regional contest.
The last time Russellville lost to Ardmore was 1937, 9-0. The two didn’t play again until 2014.
Russellville took that 1937 loss to heart and destroyed Ardmore six straight times by a combined score of 278-39. Russellville won this past year 51-0.
OCT. 21 – FAIRVIEW
Oct. 21 Russellville will get a rematch with the team that eliminated it from the playoffs this past year – Fairview. The game will be at Fairview again. The Golden Tigers lost to Fairview 35-21 in the second round in 2021, and the Aggies went on to the semifinals before losing to Pleasant Grove.
This past year’s meeting was the first time Russellville and Fairview had ever met.
OCT. 28 – ATHENS
RHS will close out the regular season Oct. 28 at home against Athens. The Golden Tigers and Eagles haven’t faced each other since 2013, when the Golden Tigers were shut out 24-0. Prior to that loss Russellville had won 14 straight dating back to 2000.