In what was going to be a game for the ages unfortunately turned out to be “the game that never was” after star running back Eli Frost exited with a first-quarter injury. After a close quarter and a half, Russellville used big plays and turnovers to score 27 unanswered points to end the half to take a 34-14 lead that finished with a 41-14 win for the Golden Tigers.
On The opening drive, Frost suffered an injury that kept him out the remainder of the game. Despite his absence, the rest of the Aggies rallied in his absence and Barrett York and Jameson Goble began to take over. York carried the ball five times for 47 yards and a touchdown to put Fairview up 7-0. After a 65-yard touchdown for Russellville a couple plays later, York found Goble on a pair of long passes for 34 and 31 yards, with the second putting the Aggies up 14-7.
Goble then intercepted the next play from scrimmage and Fairview found themselves up 14-7 with the ball at midfield. Russellville was able to force a three and out and everything turned from there. Their first play they scored another long touchdown, this time from 68 yards out to tie it at 14 a piece. Unable to move the ball on the next drive, Russellville hit another big play, a 70-yard touchdown pass.
Trailing 21-14, the kickoff was fumbled, giving Russellville the ball on the Fairview 29. Four plays later it was 28-14. Another three-and-out led to a punt, where the snap went wild and Russellville recovered on the 9-yard line. After just a couple of plays, they scored again and stretched their lead to 34-14 after the missed point.
Russellville added the only score of the second half late to give the 41-14 final. While the scoreboard isn’t what Fairview desired it doesn’t tell the whole story. This was a game of adversity for the Aggies and as Coach Redding and his staff preach all year long, “Embrace adversity.” And embrace adversity is just what this team did.
Cheap shots led to several injuries and banged up players for the Aggies, yet they continued to fight to the final whistle. Several young players and lower-on-the-depth-chart players had to step up on the big stage, and despite the big plays Russellville had to fight for every yard they gained. The Aggies came up with several key stops throughout the second half. It was a team that was bent but never broke.
Coach Redding spoke about tonight’s adversity, “It wasn’t a new thing to talk about tonight because we talk about it all the time. It’s easy when things are going your way, but it’s overcoming adversity that you can build character, in football or life. I’m proud of the guys, especially the young ones that got in and contributed. And our coaches, who were able to make some adjustments.”
York finished 152 total yards with a touchdown rushing and passing. Goble finished with 81 receiving yards and a touchdown on 4 receptions. Carson Jones gained 51 yards on the ground on 12 carries.
Russellville tied up this new rivalry 1-1 all-time as they take the title of region champ of 5A Region 8. Despite the disappointing loss, Fairview finishes the regular season on the road against a very good Randolph team (7-2). They will return home however to host the first round of the playoffs on November 4th, where an old rival will be coming back to Dafford Smith, the Guntersville Wildcats (7-2).