Golden Tigers shut out Lawrence County for first win of season

The Russellville Golden Tigers picked up their first win of the varsity football season in dominating fashion, taking down the Lawrence County Red Devils by a 49-0 score.

After starting the season on the road and going 0-2, Russellville’s first home and region contest of the year was a success.

RHS took the field Friday night sporting new white helmets that featured a vintage Golden Tiger logo.

Russellville has won 18 of the past 19 contests versus LCHS on the gridiron.

“After two tough opponents and two tough weeks, I thought we responded really well with a great week of practice, and we took care of the business that we were supposed to take care of tonight. I’m very proud of everybody,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter. “We rose to the occasion, and we understood the sense of urgency that we needed to play with.”

It didn’t take long for the Golden Tigers to show they were ready for action. After forcing a Lawrence County punt, Russellville’s first possession resulted in a score. Conner Warhurst ran 26 yards for a touchdown on the third offensive play for RHS, and the Golden Tigers never looked back.

Russellville added to the first quarter lead when Warhurst scored again – this time on a seven-yard gallop.

Manny Martinez was perfect on extra-point kicks during his first action of the season, and his PAT put RHS up 14-0 with 1:54 to go in the opening period.

Cam Phinizee added to the Russellville advantage with a two-yard TD run early in the second quarter, and the following possession by the Red Devils ended on an interception by Matthew James of RHS. His long return had the Golden Tigers in LCHS territory, and another Warhurst touchdown carry soon followed to make the score 28-0 with 6:27 remaining in the opening half.

First-half scoring was completed when Phinizee, a freshman running back, scored his second touchdown. His 14-yard run to the end zone came with 31 seconds left before the break.

The Golden Tigers had six first-half possessions on offense and had to punt one time. The trend would continue in the second half, when RHS also punted once during the game’s final two quarters.

A 29-yard touchdown pass from Harrison Burch to Randall Johnson came on the fourth play of the third period. A 48-yard TD run by Demontae Thornton with 3:59 to go in the third followed soon after Matthew James got his second turnover of the game – this time on a fumble recovery.

River Richardson would later collect a couple of sacks of the LCHS quarterback to help preserve the shutout by the Russellville defense.

The Golden Tigers will look to improve to 2-0 in Class 5A, Region 8, when they visit the West Point Warriors Sept. 9.