The Russellville High School football team used a strong running game and a stout defensive effort to control the annual rivalry with Logan County to come away with a 28-13 victory.
“We really blocked and tackled well,” RHS coach John Myers said. “All the players just blocked great for each other. It was really just a total team effort.”
The game was postponed a day because of the heavy rains that came through the area Friday night, but that didn’t dampen the rivalry one bit.
With both teams having good overall seasons, it was a competitive game, with the Panthers leading just 14-7 at halftime.
It didn’t take Russellville long to gain control of the game in the second half, though.
The Panthers took the opening kickoff and drove deep into LCHS territory before turning it over on downs.
Russellville then held on defense, forcing a punt and starting off a drive on the RHS 30-yard line.
The Panthers then put together a nine-play drive that was capped off by a 15-yard touchdown by Davonta Bryant to go up 21-7 and firmly take command of the game.
Russellville ran the ball eight times during the drive, with Bryant leading the way with runs of 12, 16 and 15 yards.
It was the third touchdown of the night for Bryant, who also had two in the first quarter to put Russellville up 14-0.
Quarterback D.J. Quarles also had a big run on the drive, going for 16 yards on a third-and-7 play.
Logan County didn’t just go away, however.
Despite being down by three touchdowns, the Cougars came right back out firing.
Jonathan Barbee got LCHS started with a big kickoff return out to the Russellville 46-yard line.
Logan County then drove the ball down inside the RHS 10-yard line – thanks in large part to some long runs by Barbee and fellow senior Nathan Oberhausen.
It was Bryant who came up big for the Panthers again, however.
He intercepted a pass in the end zone to turn the Cougars away and keep the score at 21-7.
Russellville then went on another nine-play scoring drive to put the game away.
Damian Elam had a big 34-yard run on the series to get the ball down to the Logan County 27-yard line.
Another 5-yard run from Elam got the ball down to the 1-yard line and Quarles took it into the end zone for a touchdown to put Russellville ahead 28-7.
Logan County wasn’t quite done yet, though.
After taking the kickoff, Logan County got a 51-yard touchdown pass from John Logan Dockins to Reuben Rawlings-Watson to make the score 28-13.
The Cougars attempted an onside kick after the score, but Russellville came up with the ball and was able to run out the clock by picking up a couple of first downs on the ground – thus sealing the victory.
“I thought our clock management was a huge factor,” Myer said. “Logan County has got a heck of an offense and we were able to keep them off the field a lot by controlling the ball.”
Russellville jumped on Logan County early, getting two first half touchdowns from Bryant.
“Both teams were ready to play but I think when we got those two touchdowns, that really took a lot of wind out of their sails,” Myers said.
Despite getting down 14-0 in the first quarter, Logan County got a big play in the second to make it a one-score game.
Dockins found Rawlings-Watson on a fake punt for a 41-yard touchdown.
The tandem of Dockins and Rawlings-Watson accounted for a huge chunk of Logan County’s offense. In addition to scoring both touchdowns, Rawlings-Watson also had 114 receiving yards.
Both teams will be back in action this week for the first round of the playoffs.
Logan County (4-6) will play at Hopkins County Central in the Class 4A playoffs while Russellville (6-4) hosts Webster County in Class 3A.
“I feel better right now than I did this time last year,” Myers said. “We kind of hit a slump this time last year and now we seem to be peaking at the right time.”