Red Bay snaps losing streak

RED BAY — The last few years have been rough for Red Bay when it comes to its rivalry with Belmont. Although the Tigers lead the all-time series against the Cardinals, Belmont has dominated in recent years.

Belmont has comfortably won the last three meetings by an average margin of 27.7 points.

Friday night the eighth-ranked Tigers took the opportunity to show the Cardinals how it felt, rolling to a 26-7 victory.

“When you play your cross-town rival and win it’s big,” said Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys. “They owned us the last two or three years. It’s good to get back on the winning side.”

This year it was the Tiger defense that owned Belmont.

Red Bay used a strong outing by its defense, which is becoming a trademark of this squad, to remain unbeaten on the season. The Tigers held Belmont to a meager 86 yards of total offense and allowed only six first downs during the game.

Red Bay forced five turnovers — four interceptions, including two by Taylor Ozbirn, and one fumble — to help stop the Belmont offense from sustaining any momentum. Steven Wood and Barry Reach recorded the other two interceptions while Bradley Patterson recovered the fumble.

Early in the game it looked as though Belmont might be in control. The Cardinals took the opening drive of the game deep into Red Bay territory before Patterson recovered the fumble on a fourth down play.

The Tigers responded by driving down the field and scoring on a 4-yard run by Matt Senkbeil with 3:47 to play in the first quarter. The PAT failed, leaving the Red Bay with a 6-0 advantage.

After both teams traded a series of punts, Red Bay extended its lead on a 5-yard run by Senkbeil. Hunter Childers hit Austin Belue with a pass for the 2-point conversion to put the Tigers ahead 14-0.

Belmont responded with a quick drive that was capped off by a long touchdown run.

Red Bay added another touchdown when Childers completed a 37-yard pass to Austin Humphries with 27 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Once again the PAT failed, leaving the Tigers with a 20-7 lead.

Belmont’s drive at the end of the half stalled and instead of letting the clock expire, the Cardinals called a timeout with 1.2 seconds remaining to draw up a play. Red Bay intercepted the pass attempt to end the half.

Wood scored on a 4-yard run in the third quarter, but was stopped short of the goal line on the 2-point conversion.

Neither team scored in the final quarter.

Wood led the Tigers with 155 rushing yards on 25 carries. Senkbeil had 11 carries for 48 yards and Matt Belue carried the ball 10 times for 43 yards.

Red Bay will travel to Hatton next week.

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