By Mark Clark
Winning the last game of the regular season is important to teams that do not make the playoffs. It gives the teams a special charge of excitement heading into the off-season and it sends its senior players off with a good final memory of their high school football careers.
Russell County High did both of those things last Friday night on the road at Booker T. Washington High with a 35-14 victory. The Warriors ended the 2018 season with a 2-8 record.
“We really needed that one,” Russell County coach Dwight Jones said. “We wanted our seniors to go out with a win and we wanted our returning players to have some excitement going into the off-season. Our young guys needed the momentum going into the off-season. We had several sophomores and juniors who started for us this past season. We need them to stay with the program and work hard for us to get better. We have to find some linemen before next year. We’re going to start looking for them right away and start working on next year. As for our seniors, they deserved to go out with a win. We had five seniors that stayed with us for three seasons. We had five more seniors who had played two years. We appreciate what they did for us.”
Russell County followed the game plan the coaches had prepared against Booker T. Washington. The plan called for the Warriors to get ahead early and remain there. Russell County took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Pint Lokey scored on a six-yard run.
In the second quarter, Booker T. Washington scored twice, but Russell County did as well and broke a 14-14 tie just before the half. Myrick Jackson had a 40-yard run for a touchdown for the Warriors to get the score to 14-14. D’Andre Hartwell scored on a 25-yard run to give the Warriors a 20-14 halftime advantage.
“We got them together at halftime and told them there was no way Booker T. Washington could beat them if they held them scoreless the second half. We wanted the kids to shut them out in the second half and they did,” Jones said.
In the third quarter, neither team managed to add to their totals. In the fourth quarter, the Warriors put the game in hand with a pair of touchdowns. First, Lokey scored his second touchdown of the night on a six-yard run. Jalen Mitchell then added a two-point conversion run to make the score 28-14. Later, Mitchell scored on an eight-yard run to make the final score 35-14.
Russell County’s offense produced 228 rushing yards with five touchdowns and added another 15 yards passing. The 228 rushing yards came on 43 attempts.
Jackson led Russell County with 80 yards on seven carries and Mitchell added 55 yards on nine carries. Lokey ran 14 times for 33 yards and had two TDs. Hartwell ran for 38 yards on six carries.
On defense, Kywan Woods had a career night for the Warriors with three interceptions, a fumble recovery and four tackles. Myles Byrom led Russell County with 12 tackles – one for a loss. Mitchell had nine tackles and Tank York had eight tackles for the Warriors in the win.