Highly anticipated games to end regular football season Friday
By Jim Turner

Posted on October 27, 2016 11:41 PM

 One of the most highly anticipated nights in local football history is almost here. Both the Logan County Cougars and the Russellville Panthers play huge games Friday night.


The Panthers will entertain their oldest rival, Franklin-Simpson, at 7 p.m. at venerable Rhea Stadium. Both teams have 9-0 records and both are ranked second in their class by the Associated Press.

On the opposite end of the won-lost column, Logan County goes to Todd Central. They both have 0-9 records. One of them is going to get a win!

The stakes are even higher for Coach Todd Adler’s Cougars. Logan has lost 42 consecutive games, the longest current losing streak in the state. The program’s last win came on Oct. 12, 2012 by 21-20 over Barren County. The streak has stretched out 1,477 days under three coaches—Dain Gregory, Steve Duncan and now Adler, who is in his first year on the job.

Two of the Cougars’ key offensive cogs, quarterback Tyler Ezell and running back Gary Hardy, are freshmen and were in the fifth grade the last time the Logan County varsity won a football game.

Russellville went into the Franklin game with an 8-1 record last year. Coach John Myers’ team had already clinched the district championship and may not have gone into the season finale with as much will to win as did the Wildcats, who needed this victory to seal a high seed in their Class 4A district. Coach Doug Preston’s Cats won that game 34-12 before losing to eventual state champ South Warren in the regional finals. The Panthers won three more times before falling to Beechwood in the state semifinals.

Winning Friday would be attractive to both teams. The 2016 Panthers could become the fourth RHS squad to finish the regular season undefeated. Coach Jimmy Haynes’ 1950 team went 10-0 in the time before classification and playoffs. They were ranked second in the state overall. Coach Stumpy Baker’s 1966 team reached the state finals, and Coach Ken Barrett’s 1984 team lost in the state semifinals ending a 24-game win streak dating back to a state championship season the year before.

Myers told sportswriter Brian Davis of the Franklin Favorite: “We want to win, we want to go out there and compete at a high level, but we want to be healthy heading into the playoffs next week. We’re going to head into the football game to win. We’re not going to hold anything back. We’re not going to hide anything, but we are going to put ourselves into a position to win the football game.”

Myers said the Panthers, who usually have the win put away along before halftime, need a challenge like this to show they can play an entire game.

Many super athletes will go against each other on Ken Barrett Field. Among them are the quarterbacks. Russellville’s Jaylin McMurry had a junior year that dreams are made of. He quarterbacked the Panthers to the state semifinals, was a key player for the district runner-up basketball team, and was named regional track athlete of the year. This year, he has rushed for 502 yards and 7 touchdowns while completing 20 of 37 passes for 402 yards and 8 TDs.

Franklin’s Jackson Caudill (pronounced CAW-dul) is a starter in four sports—football, basketball, baseball and golf.

Russellville leads Class 1A in both points scored (437) and fewest points allowed (83). That offensive production is 74 more points than the second highest scoring team, Beechwood, has put on the board. The Panthers are winning by an average margin of over six touchdowns per game. Six of their nine wins have been on a running clock and four of those have come on shutouts. The Panthers’ closest win was 50-42 against Butler County, accounting for over half the points they have allowed on the season. The second closest margin was by 19 over Murray.

Franklin-Simpson has outscored its opponents by a 345-82, an average margin of about five touchdowns an outing. Two of their wins have come by four points each, over Greenwood and South Warren, the defending state champs. Three of the wins have been by shutouts.

Franklin has played a much tougher schedule than has Russellville. The Courier-Journal’s Litratings make the Wildcats a three-touchdown favorite, 113.2-933.

Logan County has been outscored 388-133, an average of about 39-15. Although that seems high, their offense is vastly improved over recent seasons. They scored 52 points in 2014 while giving up 436 points. The totals were 77-365 last year and a staggering 79-590 in 2013. Logan has scored at least two touchdowns in seven of the nine games this year, the exceptions being a 41-0 shutout administered by Coach Adam Clark’s Hopkinsville team and a 47-7 loss to Apollo.

Todd Central has been outscored 381-109 (42-12). Four Class 2A teams have scored fewer points and three have given up more. Coach Les Broady’s team has been on the wrong end of three running clocks and shut out only once, that coming 54-0 to Russellville. The Cougars scored 14 points against the Panthers.

The Courier-Journal’s Litratings make the Cougars a three-touchdown favorite, 53.3-31.7.

Andy and Zack Woodall, the father-son team who have broadcast all 42 of the consecutive losses, will record the Logan at Todd game for airing at 2 p.m. Saturday on WRUS 610 and on the web at https://www.network1sports.com/station/wrus.

John Brett Reynolds and Alex Watkins will call the Russellville-Franklin game live on WRUS and its website.

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