Football finishes for Golden Tigers

The Russellville football season came to an end Friday night as the Golden Tigers fell 42-21 to the Moody Blue Devils in the second round of the AHSAA Class 5A playoffs.

RHS traveled to Bill Morris Stadium, and supporters of both teams packed the stands to watch the battle. After the score was tied 14-14 at the half, the Blue Devils pulled away during the final two quarters to secure the victory.

Russellville fell behind 7-0 late in the first quarter on a six-yard Moody touchdown pass. The Golden Tigers evened the score halfway through the second period when Cam Phinizee ran for a seven-yard touchdown that was followed by the first of three Manny Martinez extra-point kicks.

The next Moody possession was short-lived when Russellville’s Malachi Duncan intercepted a Blue Devils’ pass. Phinizee then gave RHS the lead five plays later when he scored on a one-yard run with 2:49 left in the first half.

However, the following 14-play Moody drive that produced a 13-yard TD pass as time expired in the second quarter to tie the game gave the Devils momentum.

After receiving the second half kickoff, MHS went ahead on a 19-yard touchdown pass and later grew the advantage to 28-14 by blocking a Russellville punt and scoring a TD after a miscue on the snap.

The Devils added a five-yard touchdown run by the quarterback early in the final period to go ahead by three touchdowns.

Russellville’s Paxton Wray recorded a fourth down sack on defense to give the Golden Tigers the ball with almost three minutes on the clock. Then, Harrison Burch completed two consecutive passes to Michael Scofield with the second resulting in a 17-yard touchdown.

With the score 35-21, Moody recovered the following onside RHS kick and returned for a touchdown for the final points of the game.

“What a great season for our guys. I thought we did exactly what we were supposed to do,” Russellville head coach John Ritter said on the field after the game.

The season ends with the Golden Tigers going 9-3 and winning their fourth-straight region title.

“Now, obviously we wanted to win more but these guys played their guts out every Friday night. What a great group, and they played the game the right way,” Ritter added.