Just looking at the final score of Friday's game between Russellville and Ardmore, one might think Russellville dominated the game and took an easy victory. But that wasn't the case at all.
The statistics were similar, but Russellville took advantage of its scoring opportunities while Ardmore didn't, and that was the difference in a 41-3 Russellville victory.
“I told my kids after the game how proud I am of them and how well they played,” Ardmore coach P.J. Wright said. “We were outmatched physically with depth, numbers, speed and strength. But we played really well. We had a hard time tackling at times, which is to be expected when you're up against that caliber of an opponent. But 41-3 does not do that game justice on how we played.”
Ardmore had three opportunities inside Russellville's 20-yard line but could only come away with three points in those drives. Russellville, meanwhile, was able to use some big plays to get in scoring position and capped off each of those drives with touchdowns.
The Golden Tigers also had an interception return for a touchdown in the second half. Ardmore had four turnovers in the game, with three interceptions.
“We had our chances offensively, but did not make them pay like we should have,” Wright said. “Credit to them defensively. They played a bend but don't break philosophy. We got down in the red zone a couple of times, and would have a penalty or a negative play on offense, which would put us behind the sticks and we had a hard time converting from there.”
Russellville got on the board first with a 1-yard touchdown run by Airreon McCullough. Ardmore answered with a 25-yard field goal by David Jenrath to cut the Golden Tigers' lead to 7-3, but that was as close as Ardmore would get.
Russellville scored two more touchdowns in the second quarter, the first on a 15-yard run by Conner Warhurst and the second on a 4-yard run by Caleb Mathews.
Russellville put the game away in the third quarter with two more scores. Warhurst had a 1-yard touchdown run with just over a minute remaining in the quarter, and Ashaad Williams intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards for a score just a few seconds later.
Russellville (6-1 overall, 4-0 Class 5A, Region 8) added its final touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Gabe Amick to TJ King.
Chris Allen led Ardmore with 78 rushing yards, while Owen Doss had 86 passing yards for the Tigers. Luke Hogan was Ardmore's leading receiver with 46 yards.
Ardmore fell to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Class 5A, Region 8 play. The Tigers travel to East Limestone Thursday night.
“That's another big game, so there's no rest for us,” Wright said. “I'm thankful it's a short week because we can turn around quickly and go. It makes us work harder, but I'm ready to go again. Anytime you lose, you're ready to get back on the horse as quick as you can, and I'm ready to go.”