Red Devils fizzle after hot start, drop heartbreaker at home

Malik Strickland tries to shake a defender after catching a pass Friday night 

The stats said Lawrence County, however the score said Russellville

The Red Devils dropped a heartbreaker to the Golden Tigers at home Friday night 22-14. 

Statistically, the Red Devils outplayed the Class 5A No. 5 Golden Tigers, outgaining them 321 to 214. But in the end it was special teams that costed them to win. 

Rusellville scored three touchdowns in the game, but only one came on an actual sustained drive. The other two came on special teams miscues from the Red Devils. Rusellville scored on drives of just 18 and 29 after a shanked punt and failed fake punt respectively. 

Mistakes on the offensive side of the ball also hurt the Devils' cause. Two turnover on downs and two turnovers all inside the Rusellville 25 and farther kept them from gaining the win in the hard fought battle. 

"That's not a high school kid's problem, it's a coach's problem," said Lawrence County head coach Rich Dutton. "These kids played as hard as they could and it's up to me to help them minimize mistakes." 

The Red Devils got off to a flaming start, rushing out to a 14-2 lead. Cameron Gholston picked off a pass and returned it 27 yards for a score on Russellville's second drive. 

After a snap over the head that resulted in a safety, The Red Devils added to their lead with a 90 yard strike from Ty Hutto to Garrett Lee. 

The first half went about as good as it could go for LC until the final four minutes. 

Russellville's only sustained drive of the game resulted in them going 71 yards and cutting the lead to 14-8 with a two yard touchdown from Airreon McCulloch. 

Their second touchdown, a five yard QB keeper from Jacob Bishop, came after receiving the ball at the Lawrence County 18.

Russellville led 15-14 at halftime and pushed their lead to 22-14 early in the fourth with another Bishop score after getting the ball at the LC 22-14. 

The Red Devils almost made the comeback in the final period. The Devil's two drives both ended deep in Russellville territory. 

The first was a turnover on downs after the Devis dropped a touchdown in the endzone. The second an interception at the 2 yard line with .43 second s left in the game. 

People will remember the Devil's last second interception, but take away his only bad play and quarterback Ty Hutto played marvelously. The senior masterfully engineered the Devils' last drive before the unfortunate interception. His play in the game will be a strong building block as the Devils still look to secure a  playoff spot. 

"You can't say enough about Ty," Dutton said. "He's the kind of kid that 's going to take this loss on his shoulders, but he's going to come back stronger from it." 

Last year after a tough loss to Russellville, the Red Devils fell apart afterwards, resulting in them missing the playoffs. 

With a stronger group of seniors, the Devils hope that isn't the case this year. 

"We have to understand what's ahead of us because we still have a lot to play for," Dutton said. "The next opponent is tough, but we've got a  chance to finish strong and secure a spot in the playoffs." 

Lawrence County will travel to Jasper next week. 

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