With the offense struggling early in the season, Russell’s defense has been forced to play near flawless football to give the Red Devils a chance to win.
Friday night, the Red Devil offense finally had the opportunity to return the favor to their defensive counterparts. The offense was in fact flawless in the first half, going a perfect three for three on scoring drives before the intermission. Russell would also score on its opening drive of the second half en route to a 34-6 win over Boyd County at Tom Scott Field.
The Red Devils 34 points matched their total production for the first three weeks combined.
“Our defense has played pretty decent for most of the year. We have had a few breakdowns here and there, but we have played pretty decent,” Russell coach Ivan McGlone said. “Sometimes it is all for naught, when you don’t put it in the end zone. Tonight we put it in the end zone.”
Talented freshman Nick Conley got the Red Devil offense rolling, scoring two times in the first half on runs of 11 and 15 yards. Conley led all rushers with 100 yards on 17 carries.
McGlone doesn’t want to overuse his young running back, but Conley is giving the coach no option but to give him the ball the way he has played.
“We usually like to spread it around. With Conley being a freshman, we only want to give him so many carries,” McGlone said. “But with his play, we are giving him more than we normally would give a freshman.”
While Conley got plenty of work the Red Devils still had plenty of others who contributed on offense. Ethan Thompson and Jacob McKee each accounted for 65 yards, while Bronson Korzep tallied 61 yards on the ground.
Thompson and Korzep each added a score as well — Thompson a 2-yard plunge in the third quarter and Korzep a 27- yarder in the second period.
“That’s just the way we like it,” McGlone said. “We like to spread the ball around.”
On defense, Russell maintained its high level of play. The Red Devils allowed just 280 yards of total offense to Boyd County and limited the Lions to a mere three first downs in the second half.
Boyd County receiver Drew Wilks finished with two catches for 106 yards. Quarterback Billy McCoy was 6 of 12 for 144 yards.
The Lions (0-5) moved the ball on several other occasions, but negative plays or penalties caused them to stall.
One example came late in the third quarter. The Lions needed just about a foot to convert a third down and keep the chains moving, but after a bad pitch a third-and-one quickly became fourth-and-10, which they were unable to convert.
“We were trying to yell out there and tell him to go with the quarterback sneak, instead of the play we originally called,” Boyd County coach John Gilliam said. “We just couldn’t get his attention and he went with the pitch and it just didn’t work out.”