In Nov. 4 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
It was a senior night to remember for 10 Russell County Lakers as they led their football team to a 63-7 thrashing of rival Adair County at Laker Stadium's Finley Field on Friday night.
Russell County, 6-4, totaled 293 offensive yards and nine touchdowns on the night while the stout Laker defense prevented the 1-9 Indians from getting any offensive game going whatsoever.
"A lot of emotion, a lot of tears before the game and then some after the game, even in all the ecstasy," said Laker head coach Bill Sharp. "It's a big game and it is one we always want to win, we wanted to be able to send our seniors off in the right way and they came out and did what we asked them to do early."
Sharp said his team came out strong early on, allowing him to pull his starters for nearly the entire second half.
"The older kids understood that," he said.
Evan Fletcher rushed five times for 59 yards and a score, Nick Britt tallied five carries for 36 yards and two touchdowns, Mason Short ran twice for 36 yards and a score, Martin Cross ran three times for 11 yards and a score and Lucas Whittle rushed twice for four yards and a score. Cross, the senior quarterback, completed four passes for 116 yards, a touchdown and an interception while Barton Mann completed a 40-yard pass for a score.
Senior Taylor Hutchison caught two passes for 71 yards and a touchdown while Brandon Bunch had a one-handed 40-yard touchdown grab. Seniors Justin Roy and Kerry Kingry both caught key passes in the game as well.
Defensively, the Lakers were led by Mason Shorts four tackles and senior Logan Smith's 31/2 tackles. Darrell Nealy and Fletcher both had interceptions in the game. Mann also had a fumble recovery.
Senior Todd McGowan tackled an Adair County Indian in the endzone for a safety late in the first half.
Following the ballgame, Sharp commended his seniors, calling them a "great group" of young men.
"They've worked hard all year long and they've led, great leadership on their part," Sharp said. "They're going to be missed … 10 good kids. They've all fit into roles and done the things we asked them to. We love them and care about them … it is said when you have to let seniors go."
The Lakers, led by the senior group of Martin Cross, Taylor Hutchison, Logan Smith, Daniel Ortiz, Ronnie Lawter, Todd McGowan, Brandon Stinson, Justin Roy, Kerry Kingry and Jeron Hammond, will next travel to Madisonville on Friday to take on the Hopkins County Central Storm, 3-7, in the first round of the KHSAA Gridiron Bowl playoffs. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
"We really gotta go to work," Sharp said. "We've got a big task ahead of us. We've only won one playoff game in the history of the school and we're shooting for number two next week and we think we have a shot."
He said by looking at how the Storm has played that his Lakers match up well against the team from Madisonville.
"You've still gotta play the game, you've still gotta work, its still gotta happen," Sharp said. He said the three hour bus ride over will not be an obstacle for his team as they will prepare mentally for that portion of Friday as well.
"We're tough," he said. "Our kids know how to handle that. It won't be a factor."