Panthers record some pluses in lopsided loss to East
By Jim Turner

Posted on September 11, 2022 6:10 PM

Look at the score of Warren East’s 60-12 win at Rhea Stadium Friday, and it doesn’t seem possible that Russellville fans could find any positives for their 0-4 Panthers.

Yet there were some pluses for the young Panthers in what may be the most challenging rebuilding season in RHS’ football history which began 87 years ago this week.

Warren East is a very good football team. The 4-0 Raiders came into the game leading the state in Class 4A in points scored, points allowed, and scoring margin. They were also third in passing yardage allowed and 12th in rushing yards allowed.

The Panthers were able to surpass the Raiders’ average in points scored (12 over 2.3 average), rushing yards allowed (162-to 107 average), passing yards allowed (36 to 25 average) and total offense (198-132 average).

Of course, the Raiders were remarkably efficient and effective again, but for a young team returning almost no meaningful experience from last year’s Class 1A state finalist team fueled by 14 seniors, these are mini-steps to build on.

Another bright spot for the Panthers came when the offense scored a touchdown early in the second period on a 12-yard run by quarterback Tutu McKeage against the Raiders’ starting defense. That pulled the Panthers to within 21-6.

East scored four more touchdowns in the half to go up 48-6 at the break. The running clock started with over five minutes left in the second quarter on an interception return by Trayton Price.

McKeague scored again on a one yard run late in the game. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 36 yards and ran for 67 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns.

Labryan Nourse was the top rusher with 71 yards on 9 carries. Monti Williams picked up 13 yards and Nick Woodard 11. Woodard caught 3 passes for 12 yards and Caleb Harper pulled down a 19-yarder. Nourse and A.J. Woodard also caught a pass.

The top three Panther tacklers were JyRese Harris with 7 (6 of them solos), Harper 5 (3 solos) and Justin Bigbee 4 (3 solos).

The Panthers play host to their oldest rival, Franklin-Simpson, this Friday.


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