Russell ballcarriers combined for 57 rushes and 431 yards.
The entire Red Devils team had one last impressive rush, a collective 50-yard sprint straight to the showers.
Just moments after the final horn sounded in Russell’s 52-18 win over Fleming County, the Red Devil players raced off the field toward the locker room eager to get ready for the homecoming dance, which had already started by the time the game had ended.
“They said that I kept them too long,” Russell coach Ivan McGlone joked after the players rushed off the field in order to prepare for the dance. “(Fleming County) threw the ball some, and it just seemed like a long game. They wanted to get out of here.”
As impressive as the postgame sprint was, it paled in comparison to Red Devils’ dominant rushing attack during the game.
Russell used 15 different players Friday night to rack up those 431 yards, led by Bronson Korzep who carried it 12 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns.
Korzep, a powerful runner, scored on rushes of 1, 5 and 30 yards, respectively.
While Korzep did the majority of the scoring, he had plenty of help in the backfield. Freshman Nick Conley tallied 85 yards on 13 carries, including a 23-yard touchdown, and Jackson McKnight had nine rushes for 69 yards and a score.
“All of our backs are pretty good,” McGlone said. “All of our backs run really hard. They may not always run smart, but they always run hard.”
It wasn’t just he running backs who made an impact running the ball, however. Early in the first half with the Russell advantage at 14-6, the Red Devils were forced into their only punting situation of the game. Punter Joe VanDeren was set to punt the ball from his own 25-yard line, but after bobbling the snap those plans had to be altered. Upon securing the ball, VanDeren was able to scramble and pick up the first down.
“That could have really put them in good position,” McGlone said. “That was a big play. You don’t get very many of those.”
Instead of the Panthers having excellent field position, Russell used the new life to score two plays later on Korzep’s one-yard plunge, which was set up by his one 49-yard run.
Fleming County (0-6) tried to make things interesting, scoring on their first two possessions of the second half, but the Red Devils had an answer every time as they scored on each of their first three possessions after halftime.
The Panthers did most of their damage through the air, as quarterback Jacob Boyd completed 10 of his 21 passes for 149 yards and three scores, one each to T.J. Miller, Wilder Williams and Aaron James.
Williams was the game’s leading receiver with 40 yards on two catches.
Russell’s Jacob Pennington also had a receiving touchdown — his came on an 18-yard pass from Jacob McKee.
Something even more rare than a Russell passing touchdown happened at the end of the first half. Russell kicker Patrick Soucy connected on a 34-yard free kick field goal as the second-quarter clock expired.
After Ethan Thompson’s fair catch at the 24-yard line, the Russell coaching staff notified the officials that they wanted to take advantage of the rarely used rule that allows the offense to attempt a field goal without any obstruction. The alignment on such a play resembles that of a kickoff, with the defense setting up a possible return and the kicking team’s players behind the ball when kicked. A free kick can only be attempted on the play directly following the offense receiving the ball via fair catch.
“We have tried to do it a couple of times in the past,” McGlone said. “You have to fair catch it. Then you don’t have to hold it. You put it on a tee just like a kickoff, and if you make it, you get three points. We were happy to get it.”
Russell ballcarriers combined for 57 rushes and 431 yards.
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