BY BOBBY ALLEN
THE DAILY INDEPENDENT
RUSSELL Generally speaking, it was a Russell rout.
Russell did not disappoint the home fans in a 42-13 win in a Class 3A playoff game at Henry R. Evans Stadium on Friday.
The Red Devils got a Nathan Conley 5-yard rushing touchdown on their first possession.
The Generals had no answers until late when the game was well in hand.
The remainder of the first quarter saw Russell force a three-and-out before a fumble of its own gave Thomas Nelson a drive that started on the Devils 29. Jacob Thompson would say no. On the second play of the drive, Thompson grabbed his first of three interceptions.
The first Thompson pick set up Nathan Conley for his second rushing score of the contest from 14 yards away. Not more than three minutes later, Thompson collected his second interception and made sure this one counted. He ran it back for the score which gave Russell a 21-0 lead at the end of one quarter.
Thompson returned a punt 45 yards to paydirt for his second score after the Devils forced another punt.
Russell’s defense answered the bell again later when another punt led to a one-play Russell drive. Senior quarterback Grant Wilburn threw a perfect pass to Reed Galloway for a 42-yard TD.
Gabe Floyd notched another extra point. He didn’t miss one on the night.
Malakai Anderson scored from 5 yards out after Thomas Nelson’s fourth punt. Russell held a 42-0 lead at intermission.
With a running clock on its side, Russell’s defense was fast and furious, as was the second half. Thompson collected his third pick, which led to a field-goal attempt. Floyd missed.
The Generals finally found some offense on a direct snap to Noah Cecil. He recorded a 92-yard TD run, making it 42-6.
They scored again on a 23-yard end-around by Dale Satterly.
Russell will host Waggener next Friday in the second round. Waggener eliminated West Carter on Friday.
“I am so proud of my team,” Russell coach T.J. Maynard said. “We have settled in for the last seven weeks and played to the potential I knew we had.
It’s tough when you play a team that you aren’t that familiar with. We had film, but it’s hard to tell what level of opponents they are playing week-in and weekout.
“Home-field advantage is something that every team strives for,” Maynard added, “and we are fortunate that if we keep taking care of business, we keep playing in our house.”
Russell's Jacob Thompson reacts after scoring his second touchdown of the evening against Thomas Nelson on Friday.
MARTY CONLEY | FOR THE DAILY INDEPENDENT