To get into the playoffs, the Golden Tigers had to defeat visiting Colbert County, and Lawrence County had to lose to West Point. Neither of those worked out as Lawrence County defeated the Warriors 28-20 and the visiting Indians outlasted the Golden Tigers in a hard fought 23-16 showdown.
Colbert County got on the board first with a seven yard touchdown run. Junior kicker Kenner Perez cut the lead to 7-3 with a 42 yard field goal, which would be the score at halftime.
In the second half, the two teams would continue to go back and forth. After a Jeff Lloyd interception, Bernard Phinizee scored from 25 yards out, breaking several Indian tacklers. Perez missed the PAT, but RHS gained a 9-7 lead.
A few possessions later, the Indians gained great field position off of a Golden Tiger fumble and punched in a 1 yard touchdown on 4th and goal. They also connected on the following two point conversion.The Indians added another touchdown and a two point conversion on their next drive to push their lead to 23-9.
The Golden Tigers did not quit. On their next possession, Luke Barnwell sent a short pass out to Robert Hamilton, and he took it the remaining 19 yards to the endzone. Perez’s PAT was good, and the lead had been trimmed to seven–23-16.
The Golden Tigers had one more chance to drive down and tie the game, but the drive ended with a interception. The Indians kneeled on the ball to end the game.
The Golden Tigers finished the 2017 with a 3-7 overall record and a 3-4 record in Class 5A Region 8. After an 0-5 start to the year against a very stiff schedule, the squad won 3 of their last five games and gave themselves a chance to get into the Class 5A Playoffs.
Russellville had twelve seniors who played their final game in a Golden Tiger uniform: John David Palmer, John David Aycock, Ondre Armstead, Robert Hamilton, Bernard Phinizee, Jeff Lloyd, Calen Bragwell, Logan Jones, Connor Stults, Roman Cortez, Kevin Patrich, and Daniel Montiel. The coaching staff would like to thank this special group for gutting it out and leading this young team. Character is revealed more when your back is against the wall, and these young men are full of it.
The 2018 edition of the Golden Tigers will return 17 players who played significant roles in the 2017 season–many of which will be returning as starters. The 2018 schedule will look a little different as the AHSAA reclassifies all of its teams in February. As soon as that information is released, it will be published here on Golden Tiger Athletics.