Russellville rattles Lawrence County early as Red Devils fall 27-18

Lawrence County running back Gage Dutton stiff arms a defender

It was strength vs. strength Friday night, and on this night Russellville's strength was stronger than Lawrence County's. 

Lawrence County (2-2) came into Friday's night contest averaging 35 points per game as Senior QB Brody Sparks continued to light up scoreboards. 

On the flip side, Rusellville  (5-0) hadn't allowed any points in three games and had forced 13 turnovers. 

The Golden Tigers didn't force any additional turnovers and their record of no points was broken, but they were able to hold Sparks and the Red Devil offense enough to get the win 27-18. 

"Give credit to Russellville they have a really good defense and some really great schemes," said Lawrence County head coach Rich Dutton. "I thought it was a very good job by them. They threw some things at us that we hadn't seen before." 

The line of scrimmage was key to the Golden Tigers picking up the win, especially early in the game. 

Russellville lined it up and ran it straight at the Red Devils the entire first half, scoring on three of five drives that all reached Lawrence County territory. 

Meanwhile on the flip side, Sparks was under duress for the first time all season, taking six sacks and several tough hits that included one that knocked him out of the game for a few plays. 

"They're strong up front. They got a good rushing attack and their defense is strong against the run," Dutton said. "We knew it was going to be a struggle all night. Thankfully we responded well, but they definitely put some pressure on Brody and he was taking some shots." 

Russellville opened the scoring with a long touchdown run from Caleb Matthews to make it 7-0. 

After that it was all Airreon McCulloch as the Junior rushed for three touchdowns, two in the first half. 

Lawrence County cut the lead to 13-6 in the second when Sparks rushed for a five yard touchdown, but that would be the last time they scored until Russellville made it 27-6. 

The Red Devils were able to move the ball, but it was always one step forward and two step backs for the first three quarters as they failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities. 

"Again you give credit to Russellville and the schemes they threw at us," said Dutton said. "They gave us a lot of things to work on and hopefully next time we see it we’ll be better prepared." 

Lawrence County did bounce back in the fourth quarter. Gage Dutton rushed for a score and caught another to make the final deficit 11. Sparks finished the night 18/30 for 228 yards and a touchdown. Dutton had 77 yards and a score and Kaden Edwards finished with 6 catches for 136 yards. 

"It was a tough loss, but we're not that far removed from the days of Lawrence County not competing with Russellville," Dutton said. "We fought back and I'm proud of them for that. Hopefully we can take that and turn it into a positive to work on."

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