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Russell Edges Republic County

Russell Bronco FootballIt took two days to complete the game after thunderstorms delayed the contest 20 hours to Saturday afternoon, but the Russell Bronco football team got back on the winning track October 7 with a tight 28-26 victory at Republic County in Belleville.

The game kicked off Friday, October 6 at 7 PM. However, at the 6:31 mark in the first quarter, the game was suspended to Saturday afternoon due to storms and lightning. The score was 0-0.

Once play resumed on Saturday, Republic County (0-6, 0-5 NCAA) scored the first touchdown at the 4:08 mark in the first period on an 80-yard run by running back McKenzie Cromwell. The Buffaloes were unsuccessful on the two-point conversion. Russell (4-2, 4-2 NCAA) answered with just 50 seconds left in the opening frame with a 42-yard interception return for a TD by defensive back Cole Schroeder. It was his third interception of the year and his first pick six. Bronco kicker Garrett Ewers hit the extra point and Russell took a 7-6 lead into the second quarter.

Republic County running back Nick Allsman responded with two rushing touchdowns to begin the second period, one for 55 yards and the other for 71 yards. Both two-point conversions were no good. At the 3:58 mark in the second, Russell quarterback Austin Price broke free and ran 50 yards for a TD. A trick play 18-yard touchdown pass from Bronco running back Chris Pummell to running back Rhett Pospichal again gave Russell the lead with only 14 seconds left in the first half. Ewers nailed both of those extra point attempts. The Broncos held a 21-18 lead at the break.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, but Russell extended its lead to 10 points with 4:45 to go in the game when Price scampered 39 yards for a touchdown, capping off a nine-play, 98-yard drive. Ewers' kick was good. However, just 12 seconds later, Buffalo kick returner Deon Dyke returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards for a TD. The two-point conversion was good, making it a two-point game. On their final drive, the Broncos fumbled the ball and gave Republic County a chance to come back for the win, but the Russell defense held tight and turned the Buffaloes over on downs with just a few seconds left.

Republic County outgained Russell 300 yards to 281 yards. The Broncos finished with 243 yards rushing and 38 yards passing. The Buffaloes totaled 278 yards rushing and 22 yards passing.

Price led Russell with 185 yards rushing on 23 carries.

Allsman led Republic County with 175 yards rushing on 19 carries.

The turnover battle was even. Russell forced one fumble and one interception. Republic County forced two fumbles. The Broncos are still plus-nine in turnover margin.

Penalties were costly for Republic County down the stretch. The Buffaloes had only three penalties for 25 yards at halftime, but they finished with 14 penalties for 135 yards. Russell finished with only four penalties for 25 yards.

With Saturday's win, Russell finished the 2017 league schedule in third place.

Next, the Broncos return home to begin district play Friday, October 13 against Norton. Catch the game on KRSL AM 990, 98.1 FM and KRSL.com with pregame coverage starting at 6:30 PM. Kickoff is set for 7 PM.

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