Russellville's Swindall: Tigers will be a tough row for us to hoe
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
No. 9 Russellville brings a 23-game region-winning streak into Friday night's 5A, Region 8 battle with No.10 Hartselle. When describing the Tigers' team, however, Russellville coach Perry Swindall sounded like a politician giving a concession speech.
"From what I can see on film, they're much improved over last year," Swindall said. "They have a big offensive line and they've got three playmakers on offense. Numbers 37 (Justin Youngblood), 31 (Chris Wiley) and 14 (Seth Watson) can all take it to the house on any play. I don't think we've played a team with this much speed.
"Their running game is really going right now, but if we stop that it may not help us much. Their quarterback has been so accurate. He (Watson) can carve up a defense. He had two picks last week, but one was tipped. I think he's a very impressive high school passer."
Swindall wasn't only impressed with the Tiger offense. The Hartselle stop unit caught his attention also.
"Their defense reminds me of Deshler," Swindall said. "The whole defense runs to the ball well. They have the same speed as Deshler does and we didn't do too well against their defense (a Russellville loss)."
"I don't see us as the favorite in this game," Swindall said. "I think this game will be a tough row to for us to hoe. I hope we can keep it close until the fourth period and try to win it at the end."
Hartselle head coach Bob Godsey said he's impressed with the Russellville team.
"They have more tradition than just about anybody," Godsey said. "They've been in the state finals or semi-finals for the last four years. It's exciting to play a team with that kind of history."
Last season the Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Russellville. Hartselle trailed by three with the ball on the Golden Tiger one-yard line with one second to play. Then Nikita Stover was tackled in the backfield as time expired, sending Hartselle home with a bitter loss, but a measure of confidence.
"Some of our returning players from last year should have confidence," Godsey said. "We played well. We played hard, but they were a better team than we were last year."
Godsey believes the Tiger team is ready for this yerar's game.
"Our kids are excited about this game," Godsey said. "We feel really good about how we matchup with them this year."