In Oct. 28 Issue
The Laker football team battled hard against undefeated district foe Allen County -Scottsville on Friday night but came up short in the end, falling to the 9-0 Patriots 50-33.
The Lakers, 5-4 on the season and 2-2 in the district, are now set as the 3 seed in the state high school playoffs where they will travel to Hopkins County Central on Friday, Nov. 5th for the opening round.
"We're looking forward to going there and playing," said head coach Bill Sharp.
In the game last Friday, Russell County went into halftime down by just one, 15-14, and was in a prime spot to take down the Patriots when the district power came out of the break and scored three unanswered touchdowns.
Russell County was unable to score any touchdowns in the third quarter as the Patriot offense got on a roll. While Russell County did outscore ACS 19-14 in the game's final frame, it wasn't enough for the battling Lakers to overcome the visitors.
"We were all in it," Sharp said. "I couldn't ask for anything more in the first half. We did a lot of the things we wanted to do offensively and defensively and made some plays."
Sharp said other than letting the Patriots score on a two-point conversion late in the first half he was pleased with that half of play.
"We were right where we needed to be to come back and win it," he said. "We just didn't get it done."
He said his team's struggles in the second half doomed them from knocking the state power from the ranks of the unbeaten.
"We couldn't keep momentum and we let them score a couple of times," he said. But he said he was proud of the resiliency his team showed by not laying down and continuing to fight.
"You can say what you want but on that last drive (of the game) he still had most of his kids on the field," Sharp said. "He pulled one or two but we took the ball down the field against his kids."
He said while Allen County-Scottsville was a terrific team, he commended his players for not being intimidated and giving the Patriots one of their tougher games of the year.
"That's what I'm proud of," he said. "We're going to get better."
Offensively for the Lakers, Nick Britt rushed for 127 yards on 27 carries with two scores, Martin Cross carried the ball seven times for 29 yards and 2 scores and Taylor Hutchison ran once for 10 yards.
Cross completed 11 of 20 passes for 165 yards with one score and one interception, Hutchison had four catches for 76 yards and 1 touchdown while Britt had four receptions for 65 yards. Lucas Whittle had two receptions for four yards and Blake Ellis had one catch for 20 yards.
Defensively, Russell County was led in tackles by Evan Fletcher with seven and Logan Smith with six. Both Whittle and Ellis had five each while Jalen Bennett and Barton Mann each had three. Cesar Prudente' Cody Polston and Todd McGowan had two while Daniel Ortiz, Mason Short, Cross, Hutchison and Kennedy McFarland had one each.
Jeron Hammond and Steven McCormack, two key players for Russell County, missed the ACS game with injuries.
Russell County has one regular season game remaining against rival Adair County this Friday at Finley Field at Laker Stadium for senior night.
"We're not going to overlook Adair, I promise you that," Sharp said. "We're going to look at Adair County as a serious opponent and we're going to prepare and game plan for Adair County.
He said he and his coaching staff and team are going to look at this week's game as a stepping stone to where they want to ultimately be, making a deep run in the state playoffs.
Sharp noted how he wants to face the Patriots again in the coming weeks.
"We've still got a few tricks in the bag," Sharp said. "We didn't show them everything."