Red Bay still undefeated

TOWN CREEK — Red Bay made a few mistakes that led to a pair of Hatton touchdowns in the first half, but in the second half the Tigers took control and turned a 14-10 halftime deficit into a 23-14 victory.

The Tigers were called for four holding penalties in the first half, stalling several offensive drives.

With the win, seventh-ranked Red Bay improves to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in Class 2A, Region 8.

“We feel fortunate to come over her and win tonight,” Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys said. “Not every team can win on a night like tonight.”

Red Bay’s first touchdown of the night was set up on a bad snap during a Hatton punt attempt. With the Hornets facing fourth-and-11 from the Hatton 44-yard line, the snap sailed over the punter’s head and was recovered by Red Bay’s Ethan Blanton at the Hatton 9-yard line. Steven Wood scored on a 2-yard run to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

Hatton answered with 8:56 remaining in the second quarter on an 8-yard run. Red Bay stalled on the ensuing drive, but a roughing the kicker call on the punt play gave the offense a fresh set of downs.

The Tigers drove down the field and appeared to score, but a holding penalty took the points off the scoreboard. Red Bay had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Clay McNatt, which gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead with 1:35 remaining in the half.

Hatton did not stay down long. The Hornets scored on a 65-yard run on the first play of their drive.

Red Bay had an opportunity to regain the lead, but the drive stalled near midfield as time expired in the half.

The Tigers were able to capitalize on another snapping error by Hatton with 4:12 remaining in the third quarter. The Hornet offense was set up deep in its own territory when the quarterback was unable to handle a high snap. Red Bay’s Bradley Patterson fell on the ball in the end zone to give the Tigers a touchdown. McNatt’s point after attempt failed, leaving Red Bay with a narrow 16-14 advantage.

Hatton drove to the Red Bay 35-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. The Tigers picked up another holding penalty on the drive and it looked like Hatton would force another punt, but on third-and-15 quarterback Hunter Childers scrambled for a 40-yard gain.

“I wasn’t comfortable with the call to start with,” Jeffreys said. Fortunately for the Tigers, it worked better than anticipated.

Matt Belue then picked up a 22-yard gain on the ground and moments later Childers scored on a 2-yard run and McNatt added the PAT to extend the Red Bay lead to 23-14 with 5:48 remaining in the game.

After allowing a pair of Hatton first downs, the defense settled in and forced a turnover on downs. The offense was then able to run out the clock.

Red Bay returns home next week to play Sulligent for homecoming and an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth.

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