The Russellville High School Panthers Football team will host the Bethlehem Eagles this Friday night in the third round of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Gridiron Bowl playoffs.
Friday’s game against the 9-3 Eagles will be for the Regional Championship and for the right to continue the next week to the State Championship semi-finals.
The Panthers have played excellent football all year and the 10-2 record is the best in the Head Coach John Myers’ twelve years at the helm. With a win on Friday night, the Panthers will host either Beechwood or Holy Cross-Louisville next week. And the win will be the Panthers 500th victory.
In these playoffs so far, the Eagles have played through Fulton County and Crittenden County (teams in Division one that Russellville easily defeated) to get to Rhea Stadium for Friday’s game. In the regular season, the Eagles and Panthers shared opponents Fort Knox and Campbellsville and, as the Panthers did, the Bethlehem team dominated these teams winning by an average 39-6 score.
In the regular season, Campbellsville’s three losses were to Class 2A Holy Cross-Covington, Kentucky Country Day who lost in last week’s second round, and to undefeated Paris. In the bottom half of the Class 1A bracket, Paris will be playing their third round game at home versus undefeated Paintsville on Friday night.
I had the opportunity to get some insight about Friday’s game from Coach Myers. “I feel every Friday night presents a challenge, especially in the playoffs,” said Myers. “Bethlehem is playing with a lot of confidence; they have won 9 games, and are a very well coached football team.”
The Panthers have prepared all week for this game, and under the guidance of Coach Myers and his staff, the team has prepared for this opportunity along the while year. “When you get this far in the playoffs, everyone brings their A game. We have prepared very well this week and our kids are excited about this opportunity,” the Coach added.
There was some talk among the bloggers out there that some injury plagued some Panthers. Particular concern was expressed for Josh Bigbee and Johnny Drumgole. Coach Myers assured us that they will be ready and 100% at game time. “This will be our 14th game counting the scrimmage…you will always have some bumps and bruises at this point, it is just part of the game. Overall, though, we are in pretty good shape,” he said.
The Kick Off is scheduled for 7pm at Rhea Stadium. Admission is $6 and once again the only passes that will be accepted are KHSAA coaches and administrator cards and KSBA Board member cards.
Calvin Head, Athletic Director at Russellville High School and Panther fan passed along this comment: “Let’s fill the stadium on Friday night in support of our players and coaches as they look to not only win a regional championship and advance to the state semi-finals, but also to capture the schools 500th football win!”
With the forecast mid-forties temperature and clear skies, the night should be a good one for players and fans alike. Come early and get the best parking and best seats.