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Russellville defense holds West Point scoreless

The Russellville Golden Tigers evened their varsity football record for the season and improved to 2-0 in region play with a 27-0 win at West Point Thursday night.

Russellville’s defense recorded its second-straight shutout, and the Golden Tigers have outscored Class 5A Region 8 opponents 76-0 in 2022.

“They are the heart of this team right now,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter of the defense. “They play so hard, and they do a great job. If we can hold people to no touchdowns, then we’ve got a really good chance to win.”

RHS got contributions in all phases of the game against the Warriors of West Point. “I’m very proud of the offense, very proud of the defense and special teams,” Ritter added. “Two big field goals by Manny, an excellent punt, and it was complete win tonight.”

After forcing a punt on West Point’s first possession, Russellville got a touchdown on the opening offensive drive for the Golden Tigers. Conner Warhurst took a handoff and ran for a six-yard TD, and Manny Martinez added the first of his three extra-point kicks of the contest to make the score 7-0 with 7:22 remaining in the first quarter.

In the second period, Russellville’s Jah Williams recovered a West Point fumble to give the Golden Tigers a scoring opportunity. Three plays later, RHS cashed it in when Harrison Burch found TJ King for a 47-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-0 with just less than five minutes to go in the first half.

A snap over the head of the WPHS punter with less than two minutes on the second quarter clock had the Golden Tigers ready to pounce again. On the next play, Burch threw to Randall Johnson for a nine-yard touchdown pass, and the PAT kick made the score 21-0.

Malachi Duncan of RHS recovered a West Point fumble on the Warriors’ first play on the following possession, but a penalty on what would have been another Warhurst TD carry and a miscue on a fourth-down play at the Warriors’ three-yard line cost the Golden Tigers a chance to add to the lead.

The second half featured two Martinez field goals: a 32-yarder coming on the first Russellville drive of the second half and a 26-yard boot that was good with under a minute remaining in the third quarter.

Russellville’s stingy defense was able to hold the Warriors off the scoreboard by stopping West Point on downs multiple times in the game’s final two quarters.

The Golden Tigers will return home Sept. 16 for a region game versus East Limestone. The Indians are 1-3 this season with a win over Central-Florence and losses to Athens, Fairview and Brewer.

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