Darren Doyle, story:
The Edmonson County Wildcats were close to a comeback but couldn't overcome Russellville after trailing most of the game on the 2020 homecoming night.
The Cats were able to strike first as Clay Walden connected with a 28 yard field goal with 2:24 in the 1st quarter for a 3-0 lead. Edmonson County held the Panthers scoreless through the remainder of the first quarter.
Sophomore Daren Alexander intercepted a Russellville pass for a huge run, which set up quarterback Jon Smith for a 1 yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but the Wildcats led 9-0 with 11:20 left to go in the 2nd quarter.
The Panthers showed some explosiveness on their next possession as Jovari Gamble broke free with an 80 yard touchdown run for Russellville. Their extra point was good, which cut the Wildcat lead to 9-7 with 11:05 left to go in the 2nd quarter.
With 3:23 left in the half, the Panthers scored on a 13 yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good and Russellville took a 14-9 lead over the Cats.
Russellville's speed was again a problem for the Wildcats, and a couple big runs put them in position to score again. They put 6 more on the board with a 7 yard touchdown and an extra point which extended the Panthers' lead to 21-9 with :35 left in the 2nd quarter. The score would remain the same at the half.
The Wildcats answered in the third quarter as Logan Davis scored on a 3 yard touchdown run. Clay Walden's extra point attempt and the Cats cut the lead to 21-16 with 3:16 to go in the third.
It was another explosive play by the Panthers as they scored on a big 75 yard TD run. The Wildcats blocked the extra point and with 2:56 left in the 3rd quarter, the Wildcats cut the Panther lead to 27-16, which would be the score at the end of the quarter.
The Wildcats kept pushing as Clay Walden scored on a two-yard touchdown run on a pitch from Jon Smith. The Panthers stopped Edmonson's two-point conversion attempt and the Cats trailed 27-22 with 11:55 left in the game.
Russellville's big plays continued as they scored on a 55 yard touchdown run. The extra point made it 34-22 with 4:39 left in the game.
A big run by Logan Davis put the Wildcats in good field position and Jon Smith connected with Isaiah Johnson on a 21 yard touchdown pass. The extra point was good and with 4:18 left to go in the 4th, the Wildcats cut the Panther lead to 34-29.
The Panthers got into the red zone on their next possession and were able to push through over the goal line with 1:27 left in the game. Russellville's extra point was good for a 41-29 lead, which sealed the deal for the Panthers.
Head Coach Nathan Smith said too many big plays from the Panthers proved to be more than the Cats could handle tonight.
"It's amazing that we gave up that many big plays but were still in the game for the whole time," he said. "But I'm proud of the boys for the way they came out in the second half, not keeping their heads down, and kept fighting. They put us in a chance to win this football game, but we made too many mistakes. Russellville deserved the win."
Smith said now the focus is Green County.
"We'll get back to work. We got Green County next week, a big district game for us," he said. "I told the boys we'll take two days off and we'll get back to it on Monday. I see a lot of good things we ran, we put in some different stuff for this game that I liked, that we did. (Logan) Davis is separating himself from the rest as the one 'back in the backfield making big plays for us, but mistakes, mistakes, mistakes, but we'll get it cleaned up."
The Wildcats fell to 2-3 on the season. They are scheduled to travel to Green County next Friday night at 7PM.