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Undefeated Red Bay, RHS face tough region foes

By Staff
Kim West
Franklin County Times
Two local teams can take control of their region races tonight as Class 2A Red Bay hosts No. 5 Tanner in a pivotal Class 2A game, and No. 3 Russellville travels to Hartselle in a matchup of Class 5A, Region 8 powers.
Red Bay (2-0, 1-0) has enjoyed the return of quarterback Anthony Horton and the emergence of Josh Senkbeil and Pablo Makepeace, who have each rushed for more than 200 yards in a game this season, on an offense that has scored 70 points. And the Tigers' defense, led by Terry Wilemon and D.J. Elrod, has allowed just seven points per game.
If Red Bay can keep all of its starters on the field, defending Region 8 champion Tanner (2-0, 1-0) could be in for a rude surprise tonight at Fred Bostick Jr. Memorial Stadium.
Russellville (2-0, 1-0) hasn't lost to Hartselle (0-2, 0-1) since 1981, and the Golden Tigers have won 43 straight Region 8 games.
Russellville, which defeated Hartselle 45-21 in 2006, can't overlook the Tigers, who dropped its first two games to highly-regarded Decatur and 6A Austin.
Hartselle needs a win to stay in the running for a playoff spot in a region that had four teams make it to the Class 5A quarterfinals last season.
"Hartselle has a very aggressive defense, and they're very big on offense," Russellville coach Doug Goodwin said. "Their backs are to the wall, and this game is almost do-or-die for them."
The Golden Tigers have been clicking on offense thanks to a strong running game powered by senior backs Mike Abernathy (359 yards, five touchdowns) and Kory Suggs and a passing game that features eight different players with at least two receptions from senior quarterback Cory Trapp (231 yards, two TDs), including senior wide receiver Caleb Mitchell (one rushing TD, two TD catches).
The Russellville defense has six players with at least one sack and a quintet of sure tacklers – Josh James (21 tackles), Kory Suggs (21 sacks, three sacks), Torey Baird (16 tackles, one interception), Ryan Romans (14 tackles, two fumble recoveries) and Kevin Vincent (13 tackles, one sack).
Phil Campbell traveled to West Morgan last night in a matchup of two teams that were searching for their first wins of the season and trying to keep pace in the region race.
Last week the Bobcats (0-2, 0-0) hosted Red Bay in a 29-7 loss. The Bobcats' offense hurt itself with penalties and turnovers, but they were able to move the chains and finished with more first downs (13) than the Tigers. And after allowing 26 first-half points, the Phil Campbell defense held Red Bay to only three points in the second half.
Phil Campbell senior quarterback Jonathan Dill has connected with Caleb Thompson for a touchdown in both games this season, but the Bobcats' ground game has struggled with just 118 total yards this season.
Tharptown (1-1) travels to Waterloo (2-0) tonight in a matchup of new programs – the Cougars re-started its program this season and is playing a combination of JV and varsity games, while this is the Wildcats' first season with a full varsity season.
Tharptown is coming off its first home win of the season after a 28-14 win against Mount Hope.
Junior running back Daniel Scott was the difference-maker for the Wildcats. Scott tied a state record last Friday night when he returned two kickoffs for 85 and 91-yard touchdowns – both in the first half. He now shares the AHSAA single-game record for most kickoff returns for a touchdown with Addison's Blake Turner (2006) and Caleb Parker (2002).
Vina (1-1, 0-1) must go on the road and face Brilliant (2-0, 1-0) in a Class 1A, Region 8 matchup.
The Red Devils lost at home last Friday to Shoals Christian 43-22 despite a 35-yard touchdown reception and a kickoff return for a touchdown by senior running back Nash Creekmore. After a shaky second and third quarter, the defense buckled down and was led by senior Bryan Darracott, who had several tackles, including two for a loss, and junior Cass White, who intercepted a pass to kill a Flame scoring drive.
Vina has a strong running game led by Creekmore, Darracott and quarterback Brent Townsend. The Red Devils need to control the clock and get a four-quarter performance by their defense in order to succeed against a team that beat region power R.A. Hubbard 14-13 last week.

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