CNHI News Service
Russell head football coach Ivan McGlone was upset.
McGlone watched his offensive line blow some assignments in his single-wing offense, and with six minutes, 38 seconds left in the first quarter of Friday's game at Fleming County, he called a time out.
Whatever McGlone said, the Red Devils listened. Senior running back Bryant Cathey's career-high 145 yards rushing on 18 carries led Russell to a 35-6 win in the Class 3A District 6 game at Panther Field.
“We (weren't) blocking it correctly,” McGlone said. “...We did a little bit better job later on.”
Cathey also scored a touchdown, but he wasn't the only contributor to Russell's 346 yards rushing, as the Red Devils out-gained the Panthers, 390-158 altogether.
Senior Gage Stevens ran 12 times for 91 yards, and the defense held the Panthers to minus-1 yards on the ground, thanks to Fleming County's 19-yard loss on a fumble.
“I thought Cathey ran well, Gage ran well,” McGlone said. “Both of them are fullbacks mostly. They kind of alternate with each other because both of them play linebacker.”
Cathey said he or Stevens are usually lead blockers for halfback Troy Huffine, who was out with a separated shoulder. Friday, Cathey and Stevens ran away from the wingback most of the night.
“We busted out, and it's the weak side always, and the running back hits the end,” Cathey said. “We just find a seam.”
Fleming County coach Bill Spencer remembered Russell's timeout, too.
“From that point on, they controlled the line of scrimmage,” Spencer said. “Early in the game, it was kind of a defensive battle.”
Almost as much as what Cathey and Stevens did, Friday was about who didn't play.
Senior quarterback Desmond McAdams, who had thrown for 1,544 yards and 15 touchdowns, served the first of a two-game suspension after being ejected late in the second quarter of last week's win over Lewis County.
Problem was, the ejection shouldn't have been called because McAdams merely pushed aside a Lewis County player following his interception instead of throwing a punch. Officials tried to change the ejection to a 15-yard personal foul at the time and looked at game video from both sides, but state rules prohibit a reversal.
Which meant, the player with the most stressful job last night was Fleming County sophomore Jake Boyd, who replaced McAdams.
“Jake's a smart kid,” Spencer said before the game. “The (junior varsity) is undefeated with him.”
The Red Devils (4-2, 2-0 in district) mostly contained Boyd. Except for an 80-yard touchdown toss to Maverick Burnett early in the third quarter, Russell limited him to 79 more yards and picked two passes.
“It was probably the biggest game we could have thrown him out in,” Spencer said. “... Stats-wise it may not have been great, but I'm just proud of the way he handled himself.”
After Russell's timeout, the Red Devils took 11 plays and a little more than four minutes to open the scoring. Credit Cathey — 66 rushing yards by halftime — his six carries for 48 yards, including the final one for the score, led his team.
Russell out-gained the Panthers for the half, 164-3. Fleming County's (4-3, 2-1) biggest bobble was Burnett's fumble that ultimately became a 19-yard loss midway through the second quarter.
After Fleming County's deepest first-half penetration to its own 48, Russell's single-wing offense held the ball nearly seven minutes. Senior Dylan Howard capped the 11-play, 81-yard drive with a two-yard plunge with 6:49 to go before intermission.
Russell quarterback Lance Evans threw for just 44 yards, but seven of them were a touchdown pass to Googie Hayes a little more than four minutes into the third quarter.
After Boyd-to-Burnett for the score, Russell blunted the Panthers' momentum on Stevens' two-yard run and interceptions from Howard and Cathey. Evans finished the scoring with a five-yard run with 7:34 left in the game.