By Chad Dixon
The Russell County (0-5, 0-3) offense continues to improve each week, but its defense also continues to struggle to keep points off the scoreboard from its opponents. The Warriors fell to 0-5 overall on September 21 when they lost 38-23 to the Northview Cougars (2-3, 1-2) on the road at Rip Hewes Stadium in Dothan.
Northview’s Malachi Harvey reached the end zone with 7:13 remaining in the first quarter to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead after the PAT. His 21-yard run was his first of three touchdowns. He gained a total of 216 rushing yards on 17 carries against the Warriors’ defense. Northview kicker Jack Martin kicked a successful 53-yard field goal two minutes later to extend their lead to 10.
Two possessions later, Cougar quarterback Jamal Lane scored on a 1-yard sneak behind center Joseph Khalio on Northview’s fourth possession early in the second quarter. The drive was sparked by a 59-yard run down off a sweep play by Jabre Barber.
During the final play of the quarter, following a Cougar penalty, the Warriors’ D’Andrew Hartwell intercepted a Cougar pass and returned it 57 yards to the end zone, working through traffic inside the five and diving into the end zone. The extra-point kick was good by Carlos Sampedro to cut the lead to 17-7.
Sampedro came in to kick a 35-yard field goal for Russell County with two and a half minutes left in the half to cut the lead to 17-10. Northview had its third turnover of the first half during the next possession. Two plays into the ensuing series on a fumble at the 42, but Cougar linebacker Nathan Cobb intercepted a Russell County pass at the 16 with 27.5 seconds left before halftime.
The Cougars would shutout Russell County in the third quarter and score a pair of touchdowns to extend their lead to 30-10. Barber scored his second TD of the evening with a three-yard rush with 7:32 remaining in the third. Harvey added a two-yard touchdown rush to complete a six-play, 55-yard drive with 81 seconds left in the third. The PAT was missed leaving the score 30-10.
Warriors’ Azayview Lokey cut the lead to 30-17 with a five-yard touchdown rush with 5:37 remaining in the game. The drive consisted of eight plays and 59 yards. Northview would immediately respond with a 96-yard by Harvey. After the PAT, Northview sat comfortably with a 38-17 advantage.
Russell County scored on the next series on a Lamont Brown Jr. 14-yard run with 2:09 left. Northview, though, blocked the extra point, leaving the score at 38-23. Quon Pritchett was 3-for-10 with 29 passing yards and 42 rushing yards on 12 carries for Russell County. Pint Lokey led the Warriors with 58 rushing yards on 15 carries. Myles Byrom and Larry Upshaw led the defense with eight tackles each.
The Warriors, in search of their first win, will play a non-region game against Harris County (Ga.) (1-4) on September 28 at 8pm ET. This will be a homecoming for Warriors’ coach Dwight Jones. He coached at Harris County for two years before accepting the Russell County position in February of 2016.