The Russell County Lakers fell behind early, trailing 14-0 with just over a minute remaining in the first half, but rallied by scoring 27 unanswered points to defeat the Adair County Indians in front of a large crowd at Finley Field Friday night in the season opener.
Russell County Lakers Head Coach Lucas Ford, in his first game at the helm of the Laker program, watched his team rally and win in an unconventional manner, scoring two touchdowns on offense, a fumble recovery, and a punt return.
After a scoreless first quarter and a 30-minute lightning delay early in the second, the Indians struck first with a 68-yard touchdown pass on a blown coverage with about 5 minutes remaining in the half.
A botched punt attempt gave the Indians a short field after the Lakers offense stalled, and the Indians capitalized, extending the lead to 14-0 with about 90 seconds left in the half.
But Russell County’s offense found some momentum and Owen Loy connected with Kinnett Wills on a 35-yard touchdown just before halftime that trimmed the lead to 14-6 going into halftime.
The second half belonged to Russell County, as the Laker defense came up with a stop on the first drive of the half, and Mayes Gosser returned the punt for a touchdown. Owen Loy connected with Parker Riggins in the back of the end zone on the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14 about midway through the third quarter.
The Indians offense found some momentum and were able to pick up yards in the run game, but with the Indians threatening to score in the red zone, the Indians botched a toss play and Russell County’s Aydan Hardwick scooped the fumble and ran more than 80 yards for the touchdown, giving the Lakers their first lead of the game.
The Laker defense continued to come up big with Wills intercepting a pass to start the 4th quarter that thwarted another Indians drive, and the Lakers were able to put together a solid offensive drive, chewing up about four minutes which was capped off by a 20-yard touchdown run by Tony Noyola.
Russell County was able to hold Adair County on their final offensive drive and come away with a 27-14 win.
Sophomore QB Owen Loy finished the night 13-23 passing with 160 yards through the air with one touchdown and one interception. Loy also had one carry for six yards.
On the ground, senior Tony Noyola led the way with 53 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Trystan Bennett finished with three carries for 27 yards.
Mayes Gosser caught six passes for 94 yards and Jack Shearer caught six passes as well for 31 yards.
Kinnett Wills had one catch for 35 yards and a touchdown.
Larin Coffey led the defense with 17 total tackles, followed by Ashton Leclercq with 12 total tackles and Luke Popplewell finished with 10 tackles.