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Red Bay upsets No. 5 Tanner

By Staff
Stephen Moore
Franklin County Times
RED BAY – Red Bay's undefeated Tigers succesfully defended their home turf Friday night as region rival Tanner missed overtime by a single point in a grueling 21-20 game.
"I'm so proud of you tonight," said Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys immediately told his team after the victory. "This was a great game where y'all answered the challenge of a very talented team."
The host Tigers elected to receive as the humid evening settled on a packed Fred Bostick Jr. Memorial stadium. Senior wide receiver Joe McKinney returned the opening kickoff 20 yards as Red Bay began driving from their own 39.
Pablo Makepeace punted three plays later and Tanner's Rattlers started deep in their own territory. Three -and-out for the visitors led to a punt, which McKinney returned 53 yards to set up the game's first score, a five-yard surge by senior running back Josh Senkbeil.
Pablo Makepeace kicked the extra point to make it 7-0 Red Bay with 4:17 left in the initial quarter.
Tanner soon responded with a three minute drive highlighted by a 22-yard sprint by senior Rattler Jarquise Peoples. His 17- yard romp tied the game with 58.9 seconds left in the first period.
Red Bay began the second quarter with a clock-killing drive that overcame penalties and a determined Tanner defense. With 3:42 left in the half, senior quarterback Anthony Horton scored on a quarterback keeper play from four yards out.
The Rattlers struck Red Bay swiftly and painfully to open the third quarter. Peoples careened through a crease he discovered in the Tiger middle to score a 36-yard touchdown just over two minutes into the half. The PAT made it 14-all with 9:06 to go in the quarter.
Eager to answer, Red Bay began driving from their 40-yard line, fueled by Senkbeil's power running game. Then Horton showcased his passing potential by hitting McKinney for a 51-yard gain that thrust the Tigers deep into snake country.
Horton fought his way in from the one on second-and-goal to regain the lead. Senior Pablo Makepeace nailed the PAT to make it 21-14 Red Bay with 4:40 left in the third.
With the clock ticking, Tanner launched a long drive of its own but Red Bay contested every inch of ground. Linebacker Adam Henson led a Tiger defense that attacked Tanner's offense in the backfield and resolutely defended their flanks as Peoples and quarterbacks Derrick Malon and Dominique Randolph sought to get end runs around the home team. This Rattler drive finally ended with a 22-yard punt despite having gained nearly 60 yards and a first down.
Red Bay launched a sustained drive of its own, which took time off the clock, but time and humidity were taking a toll on both teams as the fourth quarter began. A holding penalty and an incomplete pass forced Red Bay to punt the ball with 7:57 remaining in the game.
Tanner then began the game's longest and most dogged drive, overcoming three third downs, one fourth down and a sack by DJ Elrod and Senkbeil to reach the Tiger 25 with 2:07 left to play.
Seconds later, Malon hit junior receiver David Adams with an undefended third down pass as Red Bay had stacked the line against the constant run threat. With precisely two minutes left to play, Tanner faced the choice of overtime or going for the win with a two-point conversion.
Opting for an overtime effort, the Rattlers shifted their line at the last possible moment, hoping to confuse the Tigers. This strategy apparently backfired as the PAT attempt went slightly wide left,
Refusing to submit, Tanner tried an onside kick but junior Terry Wilemon recovered for Red Bay, and Senkbeil showed the Tiger spirit as he charged for 16 yards and another first down on the next play. Three plays later time expired, when Horton took a knee.
"We've played two or three one-point games against Tanner in the last few seasons," Jeffreys recalled. "It's always a real achievement to win against such a high caliber team. We face another tough opponent next week, It's going to be a barn-burner then, too."
Red Bay hosts West Morgan next Friday night at 7 p.m.