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Driving towards the playoffs

By Staff
Glenn Jackson
Franklin County Times
With just three weeks left in the regular season, the football playoffs are looming.
Russellville is still in the driver's seat for the No. 2 seed in Class 5A, Region 8, while No. 8 Red Bay – the only undefeated team left in Franklin County – can seize control of Class 1A, Region 8 with a win over No. 7 Addison tonight.
Tharptown and Phil Campbell are also hosting games tonight. The young Wildcats, who won't be eligible for the playoffs until next season, are playing for their sixth win this season, while the Bobcats are seeking their first victory against Class 2A, Region 8 rival Hatton.
No. 9 Russellville will be on the road tonight at West Point, while Vina will travel to Courtland to face R.A. Hubbard.
Red Bay Tigers
The No. 10-ranked Red Bay Tigers moved to 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Class 2A, Region 8 play Friday night with a dominating win over Cherokee 42-21. The Tigers jumped out to a 36-7 halftime lead and cruised the final two periods for the win.
The Tigers used a balanced attack that accumulated almost 400 yards of total offense and a strong defensive effort against an offense that had proven to be explosive the past few weeks.
Josh Senkbeil led the ground attack with 26 carries for 170 yards and three touchdowns. Anthony Horton finished the night 6-of-10 for 120 yards and two touchdowns through the air and one rushing touchdown.
Week 8 sets up the game of the year for the Tigers tonight as they play host to the Addison Bulldogs, who were ranked sixth in last week's AHSAA poll. Addison defeated Phil Campbell last Friday night 49-16.
Phil Campbell Bobcats
The Phil Campbell Bobcats fell to 0-7 overall and 0-5 in Class 2A, Region 8 play as they were defeated by the Addison Bulldogs last Friday night 49-16. Addison used a powerful ground attack to rush for 380 yards in the win.
The Bobcats were led by Jonathon Dill, who finished the night 15-of-40 for 166 passing yards and added eight tackles on defense. Phil Campbell was held to zero net rushing yards on the night.
Seth Brown and Dakota Damastus each had fumble recoveries for the Bobcats' defense. Brown led the Bobcats on the defensive side of the ball with 13 tackles.
Phil Campbell will host Hatton tonight, and both teams will be looking for their first win of the season. The Hornets lost last Friday to West Morgan.
Tharptown Wildcats
The Tharptown Wildcats, who are in their second year of football and awaiting their region assignments next year when they field their first senior class, has the community excited about their program. Tharptown is the fastest-growing school in Franklin County and could end up the largest school in the county school system.
The Wildcats moved to 5-2 on the season with a 20-6 victory over the Mt. Hope Yellow Jackets last Friday night. Tharptown also beat the Yellow Jackets 28-14 on the road earlier this season.
Daniel Scott rushed for 93 yards and had an interception on defense to lead the Wildcats, while Tyler Cagle finished 4-of-6 passing for 50 yards and added 62 yards rushing.
Tharptown will host Parkway Christian tonight.
Vina Red Devils
The Vina Red Devils fell to 2-5 overall and 0-5 in Class 1A, Region 8 play as they were defeated by No. 4 Hazelwood 48-7 last Friday night.
The Red Devils were led by running back Nash Creekmore, who had 26 carries for 100 yards and one touchdown. After Vina lost quarterback Brent Townsend a few weeks ago to a season-ending rib injury, eighth-grader Adam Pharr took over quarterbacking duties from Creekmore during the game and finished 2-of-4 passing with completions to Blake Thorn and Randy Barnes. Thorn led the defense with five tackles and one pass deflection.
The Red Devils will be looking for their third win of the season and their first in region play tonight at R.A. Hubbard, which handed No. 7 Addison its only loss earlier this season.
Russellville Golden Tigers
The No. 9 Russellville Golden Tigers hope history will repeat itself – the last time they lost a Class 5A, Region 8 game, they won 46 games in a row. The Golden Tigers suffered a 24-23 overtime loss last Friday night to the Decatur Red Raiders, who are ranked No. 6 in this week's ASWA poll.
Russellville coach Doug Goodwin stated that it was a hard-fought game and that neither team deserved to lose. This was the third overtime game for the Golden Tigers this season.
The Russellville defense held tough throughout most of the game and held the Red Raiders to just 43 yards rushing. Caleb Mitchell (interception, 40-yard punt return), Mike Abernathy (rushing touchdown), Kory Suggs (rushing TD, sack) and Trent Brannon (sack) all had standout nights with some big plays in the contest.
Coach Goodwin expressed to the team after the game that he was very proud of the team and the way they fought.
The Golden Tigers (6-1, 5-1) will play West Point tonight and will close out region play next week with their homecoming game against Muscle Shoals.
Glen Jackson is a guest columnist for The Franklin County Times. Jackson is president and CEO of Southeastern Athletics, Inc. He can be reached at (256) 332-5513.