In Sept. 3 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers opened the 2009 season in a big way last Friday night as they traveled to Campbellsville High School and defeated the homestanding Eagles 39-20.
Laker Head Coach Bill Sharp said it was his team's tenacity to keep playing hard that willed them to victory in the season opener.
“They got after it defensively and tried to make plays offensively,” Sharp said of his team. “We let them back in it during the third quarter but we battled back and made plays and didn't quit and got a really good win.”
The Laker defense was stout throughout the game and only allowed the Eagles 24 total rushing yards while rushing for 302 yards and five touchdowns themselves.
“I can't be more proud,” Sharp said of his defense. “We give up 20 points and they made some plays but they couldn't run the ball on us.”
He said his defense stayed in the Campbellsville quarterback Aaron Schwoebel's face the entire game and, despite a few big plays to Eagle wideouts, tackled well.
“I was tickled to death at how we got after them defensively,” he said. “Despite giving up 20 points, I thought we played a good defensive ballgame.”
Offensively, Sharp said his team had to adjust to the Eagles' shifted 50 defensive scheme before finally finding their groove.
“It was kind of a chess match,” he said. “We would give them a two tight end set and run some stuff and have some plays going and then they would adjust.”
Sharp credited offensive coordinator Brad Crowe for choosing the right plays at the right times for the Lakers.
“We were able to execute well enough to put 39 points on the board,” he said, saying the team would look sloppy on film due to several missed blocks and assignments.
Russell County scored first with just under three minutes left in the 1st quarter when junior playmaker Taylor Hutchison returned an Eagle punt 91 yards for a touchdown.
Campbellsville would go on to score in the second quarter but failed on their point after attempt.
Laker freshman tailback Nick Britt would later score on a 20-yard scamper to put Russell County up 14-6.
On defense, junior safety Martin Cross picked off a pass to set the Lakers up in good field position. Just a couple of plays later, fullback Nathan Irvin rumbled 15 yards for another Laker score just before halftime and Sharp's team went into the break with a 21-6 lead.
As the second half of play unfolded, the Lakers managed to put up another six points when Cross, the Laker quarterback, scored on a one-yard goal line push to put the Lakers up 27-6.
The Eagles would battle back, scoring twice before the third quarter of play ended to get them back in the game, 27-20.As the game's final quarter began, the Lakers again found paydirt on an 85-yard Britt run to put the Lakers up 33-20. The Lakers padded their lead as the fourth quarter wound down when Irvin scored again, this time on a 23-yard run. The Lakers did allow 361 yards passing from the Eagles but managed to shut down the Eagle rushing and red zone attack.
The Lakers had two running backs garner more than 100 yards rushing on the night. Junior Nathan Irvin lit up the Campbellsville defense for 133 yards on 16 attempts and two touchdowns and freshman Nick Britt tallied 127 yards rushing on just six attempts, scoring twice.
“We feel really good about all of our backs,” he said.
Junior Jeron Hammond also rushed for 25 yards on five carries and had 43 kick return yards while Cross ran nine times for 12 yards and a score. Cross also completed two of his five pass attempts for 47 yards, both to Hutchison, who had 47 yards receiving and a 91-yard punt return touchdown. Cross and fellow Laker Jamison Meece also both tallied interceptions in the game.
On defense, the Lakers were led by junior Logan Smith and senior Austin Hill with four solo tackles each. Hill also recovered an Eagle fumble.
The Lakers will host the Somerset Briar Jumpers this coming Friday night at Laker Stadium at 7 p.m.