Russellville needed one yard in overtime to pull off an upset of Class 5A, Region 8-rival and No. 10-ranked Cullman on Friday night.
Instead, it was the Bearcats that came up with the big play, stopping Russellville's 2-point conversion try by forcing a fumble to hold on for a 21-20 victory in a key region game.
Cullman (5-1, 3-1) trailed 14-0 in the second quarter but got a touchdown near the end of the half and then tied it in the fourth quarter. Russellville (4-2, 2-2) missed a field goal with three seconds to play, and the game went to overtime.
With the ball first in the extra period, Garrett Crider crashed into the end zone on a 2-yard run. Chris Grey's extra point gave the Bearcats a 21-14 lead.
Russellville also scored on its possession as Bud Coleman answered with a 2-yard run. The Golden Tigers decided to go for the win. An offside penalty moved the ball to the 1-yard-line, but Russellville fumbled on the conversion run as Cullman escaped with the win.
"We wanted to win it right there," Russellville coach Michael Jackson said. "We have a play that we wanted to run in that situation. When they got the penalty, we decided to go with a sweep. The kids gave a great effort tonight It was a great game between two good teams."
C.J. Posey bolted 30 yards as Russellville tok an early 7-0 lead. The Golden Tigers made it 14-0 on Posey's second touchdown, a 2-yard run.
Cullman scored in the final two minutes of the half on a 12-yard pass from Zac Crocker. The play came moments after the Bearcats converted a long pass on a third-and-10 play.
"That was a big play; they came down with a jump ball," Jackson said.
Crider's 2-yard run tied it with 9:47 to play before Russellville's field goal to win went wide right.
The victory was Cullman coach Mark Britton’s 100th with the program. It was also only the second time the Bearcats have beat the Golden Tigers in 13 meetings. The previous instance occurred in the second round of the playoffs in 1986 with a 3-0 decision in Cullman’s favor.
With a firm grasp on one of four playoff berths, the Bearcats will host Lawrence County for homecoming next Friday.
% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.