Red Bay’s defense suffocates Sulligent

RED BAY — Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys would have liked to see his team execute a little better against Sulligent Friday night, but in the end his team had a win — and a playoff berth.

This will be the 13th year in a row the Tigers have earned a spot in the postseason.

“We’ve had a lot of pretty losses, I’ll take one ugly win,” Jeffreys told his team after the game.

While the Tigers (7-0, 5-0) did have a few miscues, they dominated on stat sheet and the scoreboard in the 38-6 victory.

The story of the game was the performance of the defense, which limited Sulligent to 49 total yards and three first downs.

The Blue Devil offense never put together a drive that crossed midfield. Their only score of the night was set up by a Red Bay turnover at the Tiger 30-yard line late in the third quarter. That scoring drive was also aided by a pass interference call against Red Bay.

Both teams struggled in the first quarter. Red Bay turned the ball over on its first drive and Clay McNatt missed a 29-yard field goal on the Tigers’ second possession.

Fortunately for Red Bay the defense prevented Sulligent from capitalizing on the mistakes and the quarter came to a close with the score tied 0-0.

“We have to do a better job out of the gate,” Jeffreys said.

Once the Tiger offense got going, it didn’t slow down.

Red Bay got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Steven Wood punched the ball in from the 4-yard line and McNatt added the point after.

Sulligent appeared to fumble on the ensuing drive with Red Bay recovering near the Blue Devil 25. The head official signaled the Tigers had possession, but another official who said the Sulligent ball carrier was down before the fumble overturned the call.

Barry Reach sacked the Sulligent quarterback a few plays later to force the Blue Devils to punt. Red Bay wasted no time scoring, as Matt Belue broke loose for a 24-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead.

Red Bay closed out the first half scoring when McNatt hit a 35-yard field goal as time expired.

The only scoring in the third quarter was a 15-yard touchdown pass by Sulligent.

Red Bay answered by marching the ball 71-yards down the field and ended the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run by Matt Senkbeil. Senkbeil scored on the Tigers’ next offensive series on an 18-yard run to extend Red Bay’s lead to 31-6 with 6:18 remaining in the game.

Sulligent’s next drive ended when Bradley Patterson recovered a Blue Devil fumble for the Tigers.

Red Bay began its final scoring drive at the Sulligent 31-yard line. A 22-yard run by Austin Childers set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Justin Payne to round out the scoring for Red Bay.

Now that Red Bay has secured a playoff berth it can turn its attention to wrapping up the Class 2A, Region 8 title. The Tigers need to win one of their remaining two games to clinch the top seed.

Red Bay travels to Phil Campbell next week and Cherokee the following week.

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