Red Bay, RHS facing tough games

For a pair of local football teams, the hard work they have put in this season has led to playoff berths for the two squads.

With their playoff positions secured, nobody could blame Red Bay or Russellville for being conservative heading into the final week of the regular season.

But that will not be the case Friday night as the Tigers and Golden Tigers face tough competition as they tune up for playoff runs.

Red Bay, which is the Class 2A, Region 8 champion, has a 9-0 record heading into Friday’s game against Marion County. Russellville, which is the third seed in Class 5A, Region 8, will host Florence.

Neither contest will be easy.

Red Bay is facing a motivated Marion County team. The Red Raiders are 8-1 overall and in a three-way tie for the Class 1A, Region 5 title.

Since wins against non-region teams in your class or higher is one of the tiebreakers used to determine playoff seeding, a win by Marion County could be the difference between a region title and heading on the road in the first round to play Addison.

The Red Raiders feature a potent offense that is averaging 52 points per game. While the Marion County offense looks impressive, the Red Raiders have not faced a defense as stout as Red Bay’s. The best defense Marion County has faced so far this season — in terms of points allowed per game —has been Hackleburg, which has allowed 15.4 points per game. The Panthers held Marion County to 35 points in the season opener.

Red Bay’s defense is allowing 12.4 points per game.

While the Red Raider offense has been impressive all season, the defense has been up and down. Marion County has held three opponents to eight points or less, but has also given up 28 or more points on three occasions, including a 68-50 loss to Berry. The Red Raiders are allowing 23.2 points per game.

Red Bay’s offense has scored at least 23 points in all of its games this season and is averaging 31.6 points per contest.

Russellville is facing a disappointed Florence team that is 6-3 overall and finished region play with a 4-3 record. That 4-3 record was good enough to force a three-way tie for the third playoff seed.

Once the tiebreakers were applied Hazel Green — which Florence defeated last week — earned the No. 3 seed while Decatur earned the fourth seed, leaving the Falcons with a great record, but no playoff berth.

The Golden Tigers finally got going in all three phases of the game during last week’s 54-6 thrashing of Columbia. Russellville got touchdowns from the offense, defense and special teams in the victory. To defeat a motivated Florence team, the Golden Tigers will have to continue to thrive in all areas.

The Florence offense is averaging 25.6 points per game while the Golden Tiger defense is allowing 22.3 points.

The Russellville offense is scoring 24.9 points per game while the Falcons are allowing 19.1 points.

Last year these teams were in a similar situation — Russellville had a playoff spot secured and the Falcons missed the playoffs. Florence played strong early, but play got chippy and the Golden Tigers were able to pull away for a 35-7 victory.

These teams have one common opponent this season. Florence defeated Muscle Shoals 27-22 in Week 5 while Russellville lost to the Trojans 24-0 in Week 7.

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