Mark Russell wasn’t about to let his senior-year home opener go astray.
Stagg High football rallied to tie Russell’s Lincoln Trojans 14-all late in the third quarter. It took a miraculous play, in fact, as quarterback Lavante Bushnell hurled up a prayer for wide receiver Lester Williams, who caught a TD on that 4th-and-goal from the 17.
Russell responded, though, along with stud tailback Ronald Walker, taking in a 10-yard sweep for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, that would be the eventual game winner.
All-in-all, Russell finished with 13 carries for 134 yards and a TD (that’s just over 10 yards per carry), with one catch for 27 yards. He’s a great energy behind this team, and although Walker and Chris Cannady also had spectacular nights, Russell is my weekly Player of the Game for our Game of the Week: Stagg at Lincoln.
Plenty of kudos should go to the Trojans’ fantastic offensive line work, because without them, sweepers like Russell and Cannady wouldn’t have the space to operate and break off big plays like they did Friday.
Russell battled through some back stiffness Friday, which put him on the medical cart on the sideline for a couple minutes, but stretched out and returned to thrive.
Congratulations, Mark, and here’s a look at some more big-time performers:
RONALD WALKER (Lincoln, RB)
Trojans coach Brian Gray told me Walker had been battling injuries, and they’ve been easing him back in.
Yet there was nothing cautious about the way he ran Friday night.
While Russell danced around the outside with sweeps, Walker pounded the ball up the middle on hard-hitting dive runs, smartly finding his blocks and cutting when he needed to. He finished with 19 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown. Kudos to him for Friday’s show.
CHRIS CANNADY (Lincoln, WR)
Cannady was kind of the third option, but a potent one for the Trojans. On just five carries, he totaled 82 yards and was the only player with two rushing touchdowns. The first came early on, on a 16-yard sweep, and the latter came on a 45-yard explosion in the fourth quarter.
LESTER WILLIAMS (Stagg, WR)
Williams was heroic, even if the Delta Kings couldn’t finish off their comeback.
After Lincoln dominated the first half-and-a-bit of play, Williams scooped up a funky punt, juked two Trojan tacklers out of their cleats and sprinted down the left sideline for an 85-yards-or-so touchdown.
And that 4th-down play with Bushnell was nothing short of heroic. I mean, Williams seems to be about 5-5, and he not only went up and got the ball (That’s what 6-foot-4 receivers like Randy Moss usually do), but did it with multiple Lincoln players doing the same thing.
Williams has already done big things in his prep career, and I see more of it coming.
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