The Russell County Lakers moved to 11-0 on the season, a first for the football program, after defeating the Marion County Knights 52-0 at Lake Stadium’s Finley Field on Friday night, November 2, in the first round of the state 4A playoffs.
“It was a big win,” said Laker head coach Bill Sharp. “You’ve got to win this one to get to the second one.”
The win was the Laker’s third ever playoff win and the first on their home field and also set up a highly anticipated matchup last Friday night, November 9 at home with the 7-4 Boyle County Rebels, who defeated Clay County 72-20 last Friday.
The Knights were no match for the Lakers as Russell County scored on their first play from scrimmage, a 69-yard touchdown run by senior running back Nick Britt.
“It is a situation where we took care of business but we really didn’t play as sharp as I wanted to,” Sharp said, saying he would give his team a C+ or B- for the game. “We made some big plays but we weren’t really as good up front on either side of the ball as I wanted to be but we understand the task at hand next week.”
Russell County never looked back as they accumulated nearly 400 yards of total offense and held the 2-9 Knights scoreless as they finished their season with the loss.
Senior quarterback Barton Mann scored the game’s second touchdown on a 64 yard touchdown run on the Lakers’ second series. Russell County would score twice more in the first quarter to lead 28-0 heading into the second quarter. Russell County led 42-0 at the break, which included a 50 yard punt return for a touchdown by junior Blake Ellis.
Britt finished with 217 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns and junior Evan Fletcher finished with six carries for 48 yards. Mann finished with six carries for 61 yards and three touchdowns and was 3-6 through the air for 59 yards.
Ellis caught two passes for 52 yards and Britt hauled in one reception for seven yards. Senior kicker Lucas Williams also connected on a 45-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, junior Mason Short led the Lakers with six tackles, including one for a loss, while Ellis had five tackles and a 32 yard interception return.