No. 4 Red Bay hosts No. 9 Piedmont
Franklin County Times
RED BAY – No. 4 Red Bay is only two wins away from a berth in the Class 2A championship game Dec. 7 at Legion Field in Birmingham.
To get there, the Tigers must beat the ninth-ranked Piedmont Bulldogs tonight at home and the winner of the Fyffe-J.B. Pennington game in the semifinals.
Third-ranked Leroy, the defending 2A champion, will have to defeat Lanett tonight and beat the winner of American Christian-Cottonwood to return to the title game.
Red Bay (12-0) is one of four undefeated teams remaining in Class 2A, including No. 5 Cottonwood, No. 2 Lanett and No. 1 Fyffe.
The Tigers reached the third round by rolling past Pleasant Valley 45-14 at home in the first week of the playoffs and stopping Sand Rock 26-7 on the road last Friday.
Red Bay slid Caleb Collins into the middle linebacker slot to fill in for injured starter DJ Elrod, who is expected to play at defensive end tonight. Sophomore quarterback Cody Palmer, who was 8-of-12 passing for 102 yards last Friday, will make his second career start in the place of injured senior Anthony Horton.
Jeffreys rated Palmer's performance against Sand Rock as "A-plus" and said the Tigers ran their full offense last week and expects to do the same tonight.
Red Bay leading rusher Josh Senkbeil, who has rushed for more than 1,500 yards this season, leads the Tigers' rushing attack with 204 yards and five touchdowns in the past two weeks.
The Bulldogs (10-2) advanced to the quarterfinals by beating West Morgan 29-10 in the first round and Woodland 37-13.
"Piedmont has two good running backs – No. 9 Eric Jackson is their speed guy and really elusive, and No. 14 Wesley Minton plays both linebacker and running back, and he's a really good player," Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys said. "Their quarterback, Chase Childers, is a sophomore, and he's having a good year. He can run and pass."
Childers and Jackson combined for 221 rushing yards and four touchdowns last week, and Minton added 73 yards on only five carries.
"Piedmont has speed and power, and we're going to have to tackle them – most teams haven't been able to do that. And we can't give up any big plays," Jeffreys said. "Offensively, we can't turn the ball over and we have to move the ball against them."