No. 5 Red Bay picks up ninth win
For the FCT
HATTON – The Class 2A, Region 8 champion Red Bay Tigers shook off a slow start to down Hatton 30-8 in frigid and muddy conditions Friday night.
Senior running back Josh Senkbeil, who topped the 1,000-yard rushing mark in last week's win over Addison, led Red Bay with 98 yards and three touchdowns.
"Hats off to our kids for keeping their poise in the second half," said Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys. "I was frustrated until I got in the locker room at halftime, and then we calmed down and talked about what we needed to do in the second half."
The Tigers (9-0, 7-0) were uncharacterically sloppy with 12 penalties and two first-quarter turnovers, but their defense stifled the Hornets except for a 2-yard touchdown run by Hatton's Tevin Terrell and a 2-point conversion by Steadman Rutherford as time expired in the second half.
Senkbeil provided Red Bay's lone touchdown in the first half with a 2-yard run that capped an 18-play, 85-yard drive with 4:22 left in second quarter. Caleb Collins' 2-point conversion made it 8-0 Tigers before Terrell's score with no time left in the first half.
Red Bay engineered good field position to set up its second score. An Anthony Horton punt pinned Hatton at its own 3-yard line and Bradley Rhodes sacked Terrell to force a Hatton punt, and the Tigers started driving at the Hornets' 39-yard line.
After a 24-yard rumble on the first play, Senkbeil scored on the ensuing play with a 15-yard touchdown and 2-point conversion that put the Tigers ahead 16-8 with 7:28 left in the third quarter.
Red Bay struck again with an eight-play drive in the fourth quarter. Cody Armstong scooted 26 yards for the score, and after the 2-point conversion failed, the Tigers went ahead 22-8.
The Red Bay defense protected the lead with a D.J. Elrod sack and a Terry Wilemon blocked punt, and the Tigers' offense cashed in with a 10-yard run by Senkbeil. Horton found fellow senior Joe McKinney for the 2-point conversion to cap the scoring at 30-8.
The Tigers will look to close out their perfect regular season on the road against the 4A Wilson Warriors Friday night. Red Bay senior receiver and placekicker Pablo Makepeace, who pulled a hamstring in practice this week, is questionable for the regular-season finale after sitting out the Hatton contest.