BY RAY SCHAEFER
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
FLEMINGSBURG Three football games ago, Russell was frustrated.
The Red Devils are feeling fine now. The latest reason for their jubilation — Friday’s 47-7 mercy-rule win at Fleming County.
Russell (3-3) won its third straight and improved to 2-0 in Class 3A, District 5 — both of which are 20 or so marathons away from the 41-0 debacle Sept. 7 at Ashland.
“It’s a huge difference,” Russell receiver Reed Galloway said. “ … We just decided to stay together at that time, and we did. Us, as seniors, we had to take leadership of this team, and it needs to become our team.”
Russell coach T.J. Maynard remembered the Ashland loss for something he thought he’d never see.
“For the first time in my career, I felt like my football team quit after the Ashland game,” Maynard said. “After we had that letdown, we had a little meeting, a little heart-to-heart. Guys spoke their mind, and then we decided it’s up to us in the room — coaches, players — to get things turned around.”
It’s been some turnaround. Russell has scored 49, 49 and 47 points the last three weeks.
“Basically it goes back to practice and guys being focused on what they’re doing in practice,” Maynard said.
Friday, the Red Devils were as balanced as one of those levels you’d use to make sure a brick wall doesn’t lean.
You wanted passing offense? There were two touchdowns each from Charlie Jachimczuk and Grant Wilburn.
“They played off a little bit in their coverage, so we worked the seams, found our gaps, and we hit ’em when we could,” Wilburn said.
Were big plays what you desired? Jachimczuk’s first touchdown was a 26-yarder to Galloway just less than four minutes into the game (he also found Zaccheaus Snyder for another 14), while Wilburn found Nathan Conley for a 47-yarder. He added a 3yarder to Jacob Thompson.
But the Red Devils perhaps won because their defense erected a maroon-and-gold wall.
Fleming County gained just 125 yards altogether, and Russell cornerback Ethan Sharp’s two interceptions were part of Russell’s five.
It was fine with Sharp if Fleming County targeted him because he stands just 5-foot-7. He said he simply watched Panther quarterback Jonathan Maher’s eyes laser-focus at his primary receiver.
“(Maher) kind of focused on my side a lot and tried to pick on me,” Sharp said. “I like ’em picking on me. It gives me more opportunities.” Sharp’s first snag set up Russell’s third score — he took it 56 yards from the Red Devil 18yard-line to the Panther 26. Four snaps later, Malakai Anderson was in from 3 yards away.
“We’ve given the ball away too many times this year,” Fleming County coach Bill Spencer said. “I thought our defensive line would play a little bit than what we did.”
Fleming County’s lone highlight was a 23-yard touchdown pass from Maher to Cole Saunders late in the second quarter.