In Oct. 15 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers (3-4, 1-2 in district play) destroyed the visiting Warren East Raiders (1-7, 0-3 in district play) 37-6 for their first district win Friday night at a soggy Finley Field, all but finalizing the team a spot in the playoffs.
“It is just huge to get a win,” said Laker head coach Bill Sharp after the victory. “It feels good to come back and execute an offense, be able to move the ball and pretty much have the playbook open.”
Sharp said his team’s arsenal wasn’t limited for the game, despite two district losses, and his team was still allowed their full offensive attack, albeit on a bit of a different note.
“We changed alignments, we didn’t change packages,” Sharp said of his team’s offense against the Raiders. “The only play that we ran tonight that wasn’t in the package previously was toss sweep.”
Both Laker tailbacks Jeron Hammond and Nick Britt tallied more than 100 rushing yards a piece, which took the early pep out of the Raider’s step.
Sharp said his offense did away with the motion and Wing-T alignments for the game and instead used the popular I formation with most of their Wing-T plays, to their advantage.
“We weren’t getting the ball in the tailback’s hands enough before,” he said. “We’ve got two good little running backs (in junior Jeron Hammond and freshman Nick Britt) and (fullback) Nathan (Irvin) has done a fine job for us so we decided to put us in an I.”
Sharp said the tailbacks would be rotated in and out and that both would get their share of touches going forward.
Hammond scored first on the night, scampering in on a 17-yard run late in the first quarter.Russell County tacked on another score early in the second quarter when Nick Britt scored on a 2-yard run.
Warren East then scored after a 60-yard drive, allowing the Lakers another shot at the end zone before halftime. Britt then capped off another successful Laker drive with an 8-yard touchdown run.
The Lakers would add even more points before the half when kicker Lucas Williams booted a 21-yard field goal through the uprights.In the second half, the Lakers put it out of reach as Britt tacked on two more rushing touchdowns, one from three yards out and one from 19 out.
Britt ended the game with 111 yards rushing and four rushing scores while Hammond tallied 168 yards on just eight carries. Russell County outrushed the Raiders 356-82 on the night, an impressive feat.
The Laker defense also forced three turnovers on the night, allowing the offense to capitalize and score points at crucial times.
“Defensively, we flew to the ball much harder and tackled much better,” he said. “I’m just proud of these kids, that we can take this win and come back home next week against Barren County and try and win again.”
“We made plays early and that helps,” Sharp said. “It was cooler and it is easier to play when it is cool. We don’t practice a lot in sloppy conditions but I told them at halftime to go out and have fun and play aggressive and I believe we did that.”
Sharp said the victory gave his team at least a 4 seed in the playoffs and with one district game remaining, that seed could possibly rise.
The Lakers host Barren County on Friday at 7 p.m. at Finley Field at Laker Stadium for senior night as Russell County’s senior class plays on their home turf one final time.