In Oct. 22 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Sports Editor
The Russell County Lakers (4-4) dismantled the visiting Barren County Trojans (2-6) Friday at a muddy Finley Field winning 49-14 in a lopsided senior night affair in the rain.
The Laker defense was stout and caused seven turnovers in the game, five of them being interceptions, with two of those being returned for touchdowns in the third quarter, one be senior Jordan Best and another by freshman Barton Mann. The Trojans also only managed 104 rushing yards in the game against the Lakers.
"To be honest, I was totally shocked," said Laker head coach Bill Sharp after the game. "We watched them on film. They're a good football team. They beat Pulaski County and we know how good Pulaski is."
Barren County's last win came over Pulaski County, 35-34, which beat the Lakers earlier this season by a score of 50-26.
Offensive touchdowns by Best, Taylor Hutchison, Nick Britt, Jeron Hammond and Kriz Pickett also helped Russell County to thwart off any opposition from the Trojans.
Hutchison had three receptions for 76 yards and a score and senior Austin Hill had one reception for 30 yards. Fullback Nathan Irvin, Best and Hammond also caught passes in the game.
Leading the rushing attack for the Lakers were Hammond with 85 yards and two scores, Britt with 60 yards and a score, Irvin with 40 yards and Best with 15 yards and a score. Senior fullback Kriz Pickett also had a goal line touchdown run with freshmen Darrell Nealy and Angel Deck also getting carries.
The big Laker offensive line, led by seniors Daniel Black and Logan Clark, opened up holes all night and allowed junior quarterback Martin Cross time to throw the football as well. Cross completed seven of nine passes for 138 yards and a score and ran for 15 yards.
Hill and freshman Lucas Whittle also recovered Trojan fumbles in the game. Whittle also led the Lakers in solo tackles with four. Irvin had three solo tackles and five assisted tackles in the win.
"This was an impressive win," Sharp said. "They have played great competition and for us to come out here and put up 49 points on the board, I'm totally blown away."
He said his team was starting to execute well on the offensive side of the ball while the defense was continuing to make big plays to help them win.
"It was a great effort and I'm seeing this team grow up," he said. "Before your eyes you're watching them grow up and enjoy playing football."
The senior night send-off was a perfect way to go into this week's game at undefeated district foe Allen County-Scottsville.
"It is never a good thing to have a loss going into a big ballgame," he said. "Here's the thing, it is a big ballgame for us but for Allen County it doesn't mean a whole lot."
He said regardless of the result, Allen County-Scottsville has the district wrapped up.
"For us, we're going to be a number four seed about any way you cut it," he said. "So it really doesn't mean anything other than just playing for pride and getting better."
Sharp also spoke highly of this year's senior class, Codey Bell, Jordan Best, Daniel Black, Logan Clark, Jackson Evans, David Hamilton, Austin Hill, Kriz Pickett and Zac Scott.
"They keep amazing me," he said. "I don't mean this bad in any way but I sat down and looked at the schedule in February and I asked the coaching staff, 'who are we going to beat?'"
He said he and the coaches looked down the schedule and tried to figure out the wins and losses, but once the season started he began to see the heart and will of his players as they played their usual gauntlet of a schedule.
"They just keep getting better and accepting the young kids," he said. "We've got some seniors that hadn't played football before this year and they're getting better every week."
Sharp cited team football and his team coming together during the past few successful weeks.
"It is that family and commitment to each other and not being selfish and giving each other that love," he said.
The love also showed before and after the game as the team, and the seniors specifically, honored their fallen teammate Luke Burton, who passed away last November from injuries sustained in an automobile wreck and would have been a senior this season.
As the football and cheer seniors were honored before the game, the Laker faithful also honored the memory of Burton and recognized his parents, Erica and Royce Burton, who is an assistant coach for the Lakers. Burton's number 18 was also painted in the endzone for the game.