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Golden Tigers dominate East Limestone to stay atop region standings

The Russellville Golden Tigers continued their hot streak in football region play by taking down the East Limestone Indians 52-7 for a home win Friday night.

RHS has won three consecutive games to improve to 3-2 on the season and 3-0 in Class 5A, Region 8. The Golden Tigers outgained ELHS 472-237 in total yards, with Conner Warhurst rushing for 186 on 12 carries to help lead the way to victory. Harrison Burch added 120 yards passing, and TJ King had two receptions for 67 yards.

The Russellville defense was also strong, holding the Indians to 27 yards passing. Additionally, the East Limestone offense was only able to convert a couple of third downs out of 13 attempts.

The seven points by ELHS were the first allowed by Russellville during a region contest this season.

“We challenged our guys this week to control our own destiny through these first three region games, and we did that,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter.

The Golden Tigers scored first when Manny Martinez kicked a 25-yard field goal with 8:18 remaining in the opening quarter. Russellville’s second possession also resulted in points when Conner Warhurst scored a touchdown on a 14-yard run over the Indians’ defense.

After forcing another East punt, it took two plays on offense for Warhurst to score again – this time on a 42-yard carry – to make the first quarter score 17-0.

Russellville got the second quarter scoring started through the air when Burch found King for a 49-yard TD pass. The Golden Tigers grew the lead to 31-0 with less than five minutes left in the period when Warhurst scored his third touchdown, this time on a 47-yard rushing play.

Malachi Duncan ended the first half with an electrifying 95-yard interception return for a score as time expired to give his team a 38-0 advantage at the break.

The second half got off to a fast start for the Golden Tigers: The defense forced a punt on the Indians’ first possession, and TJ King returned it 93 yards for a TD.

The next ELHS drive resulted in the lone touchdown of the game for the Indians. The 12-play march made it to the end zone on a 13-yard fourth-down pass to make the score 45-7 with 3:18 left in the third quarter.

After the following kickoff, Cam Phinizee needed only two carries to answer. A 70-yard touchdown run on an option pitch he got from Burch got the Golden Tigers into the end zone once again.

The fourth quarter allowed an opportunity for players to get valuable varsity game experience. Russellville’s Brock Reathford was four-for-four through the air on a drive from the quarterback position that featured passes to Taylor Crumpton and Cash Crumpton that ended inches shy of the goal line.

“It takes all of us to be successful, and that includes scout guys and guys that might not practice but two snaps,” Ritter said. “Those two snaps are important, and I think we’ve done a really good job of buying into that motto.

“If we’ll continue that, then we’ve got an opportunity to be really good because we’ve got some talented guys,” Ritter added. “Being a good teammate and doing those little things is what we’re really stressing, and we’re getting better every day.”

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