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Russellville teammates get play-off rout of Boaz

Fans in attendance for Russellville’s first-round AHSAA Class 5A play-off game versus the Boaz Pirates witnessed football history.

Russellville receiver Randell Johnson tied a state record with six touchdown receptions in a single game, and quarterback Harrison Burch equaled the single-game school record with seven TD passes in the Golden Tigers’ 63-10 home win.

Johnson had 12 receptions for 375 yards during the rout.

Burch passed for 479 yards, and his seven touchdown passes tied the RHS record held by Jeremy Helms and Jake Tompkins. Helms accomplished the feat against J.O. Johnson in 2005, while Tompkins did it in 2000 versus Coffee. The state record for TD passes by a quarterback in a game is nine.

“He’s a tough matchup,” said Russellville head coach John Ritter of Johnson. “Anytime they went man, we checked to a deep ball.”

The RHS quarterback is having a good first season with the team and got help from the offensive line Friday night. “I think he’s developed into a really, really good pocket passer,” Ritter said of Burch. “Hats off to our guys up front. I thought we responded well up front.”

The Golden Tigers were playing without standout running back Conner Warhurst, who missed the contest with an injury. Cam Phinizee got the start, and the freshman had 10 rushes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

“Great response to kind of an up-and-down game last week,” Ritter added. “I’m very proud of our team.”

Russellville held a 28-3 lead over Boaz at the end of the first quarter. During the opening period, the Golden Tigers got a 64-yard touchdown pass from Burch to Johnson, two four-yard TD runs by Phinizee and a 73-yard TD pass from Burch to Johnson. Phinizee also recovered a kick-off fumble by BHS early in the game.

The second quarter featured a 30-yard Johnson touchdown reception from Burch that was followed on the next Boaz possession by an interception in the end zone of a Pirates’ pass by Banks Langston.

On the next play, Burch threw to Johnson for an 80-yard TD strike, and the Manny Martinez extra-point kick made the score 42-3.

BHS had a miscue on the next kick off, and Gunner Sappington recovered the loose ball for Russellville. Four plays later, Burch found Johnson open again for a 21-yard TD.

Boaz picked up its lone touchdown of the contest on a two-yard run with 1:11 remaining in the first half, and Russellville made the score 56-10 at the break on a 41-yard touchdown pass from Burch to Cash Crumpton.

Richard Scott of RHS recovered a Boaz third quarter fumble, and Burch completed a push pass to Johnson for a 19-yard TD with 10:17 to go in the game to finish the scoring.

Russellville (7-4) will host the Pleasant Grove Spartans in the second round of the playoffs. Pleasant Grove is 9-1 on the season and defeated Alexandria 43-14 in round one.

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