Panthers face unusual challenge from Fulton County tonight
By Jim Turner

Posted on October 4, 2019 10:57 AM

During most seasons, playing one of the Fultons has been a virtual lock for the Russellville Panthers. They usually have been able to count on two district wins—Fulton County and Fulton City.

That doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

In fact, it’s a cinch that there won’t be two victories from far western Kentucky this year, since Fulton City has dropped out of the playoff classification system and is playing as an independent. The Panthers aren’t on their schedule.

Meanwhile, Fulton County seems to be vastly improved this year. Coach Jeff Bridges’ Pilots come to Rhea Stadium tonight with a sparkling 5-1 record, tied for fourth best in Kentucky’s Class A standings. The Pilots have outscored their opponents 261-135.

It’s difficult to know how good they are, however, because three of their wins have come against Tennessee teams located near the state line. Their loss is also to a South Fulton, Tenn., by a 36-30 count.

Fulton County’s Kentucky wins have come against Fulton City (52-14) and Webster County (69-45).

The Pilots are a ground-oriented team. They’ve run the ball on 184 plays for 1,704 yards and 28 touchdowns. On the other hand, Jerome Warren and Caleb Kimble have only passed on 52 snaps, completing 26 of them for 379 yards and 5 TDs.

Kimble is the workhorse, rushing 102 times for 1,048 yards and 16 touchdowns. He’s averaging 175 yards per game on the ground.

Russellville has played one of the toughest schedules in the state and comes into the game with an 0-6 record. The Panthers have been outscored 285-55. The total yardage differential on offense is 2,260-936.

Coach Mikie Benton’s team has not yet played a Class A school, and opponents Glasgow, Logan County and Somerset are among the best in the state in their classifications. Another opponent, Franklin-Simpson, has reached the Class 4A state finals each of the last three years, winning two of them.

Quarterback Lennon Ries has completed 33 of 85 passes for 475 yards and 5 touchdowns. Josh Allen and Jovari Gamble have each caught seven passes for 137 and 126 yards, respectively. Gamble is the leading rusher with 261 yards on 62 carries. Chevis Elliott has accounted for 108 yards on 24 carries.

Elliott is the leading tackler with 25 total hits, 22 of them solo. The next highest tackle totals are 20 by Landon Bollenbecker and 19 by Ben Allen, who is also second in solo tackles with 14.

Game time at Ken Barrett Field is 7 p.m. This is RHS’ Homecoming.

The game will be carried live on WRUS with John Brett Reynolds and Chris McGinnis doing the honors.

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