In Oct. 14 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
The Russell County Lakers (4-3, 2-1 in district play) assured themselves of at least a 3-seed in the state high school football playoffs after dismantling the host Warren East Raisers (2-6, 1-2 in district play) 52-20 on Friday night.
The Lakers scored 35 second quarter points en route to the big district victory that puts them in good shape with only one district game remaining, an Oct. 22 matchup with powerful Allen County-Scottsville.
"We did things in the first half about as well as we could have for the most part," said Laker head coach Bill Sharp. "We had a couple of balls in the air defensively that we didn't play very well and that seems to be our storied history."
But for an overall half, Sharp said he was greatly impressed with what his team accomplished. He wasn't quite as happy with the second half of play as the Raiders went on to score twice, which prompted Sharp to leave his starters in longer than anticipated.
"We just lost our focus," he said. "It's hard but young kids got to overcome that, they've got to learn to keep that intensity and string four quarters together. That's the challenge."
Russell County did force six turnovers, three of them Jeron Hammond interceptions, on the night along with a blocked punt by freshman Evan Fletcher, which Sharp was extremely proud of.
Freshman Nick Britt had a huge first half rushing the ball and finished with 14 carries for 164 yards and two touchdowns while Hammond finished with four carries four 117 yards and two scored. Senior quarterback Martin Cross totaled seven yards rushing and one score on the ground while garnering 59 yards through the air for two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Senior wideout Taylor Hutchison caught both of Cross's passes for two scores and finished with 59 yards receiving.
Lucas Whittle and Evan Fletcher both tallied positive yards rushing for the Lakers while sophomore kicker Lucas Williams had the only score in the third quarter, a 36-yard field goal to push Russell County's lead to 45-12.
Russell County travels to Barren County for a 7 p.m. matchup Friday night for a non-district tilt against the 1-6 Trojans whose lone win came against Metcalfe County in the first game of the season.
"They have played a super tough schedule," Sharp said. "Anytime you walk into somebody else's territory, it's going to be tough."
Following the Barren County game the Lakers will return home for the final two games of the regular season, against Allen County-Scottsville on Oct. 22 and against rival Adair County for senior night on Oct. 29.