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Tigers survive for 28-26 victory

RED BAY — For the second week in a row it looked as though Red Bay would let a comfortable halftime lead slip away, but the Tigers were able to hold on against LaFayette and preserve a 28-26 victory.

The Tigers (10-1) scored on all three of their first half possessions to build a 21-7 lead at halftime, but shaky play in the third quarter allowed the visiting Bulldogs to pull within two points twice in the final quarter.

Matt Belue opened the scoring with a 24-yard run in the first quarter. Clay McNatt added the PAT to give Red Bay a 7-0 lead.

The Tigers then forced a turnover on downs and put together another clock-eating scoring drive capped off with a 2-yard run by quarterback Hunter Childers. This time the PAT failed, leaving the Tigers with a 13-0 advantage.

LaFayette (7-4) finally got on the scoreboard with a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers appeared to have the Bulldogs stopped twice on the drive, but a roughing the punter penalty and a pass interference penalty kept the drive alive.

Red Bay answered with another Belue touchdown run. Matt Senkbeil’s 2-point conversion run was good to put the Tigers ahead 21-7 with 16 seconds remaining in the first half.

LaFayette took the opening possession of the second half and scored on a 21-yard pass. The PAT was blocked.

Red Bay’s offense struggled on its opening drive of the half, picking up three penalties and forcing the Tigers to punt. The offensive miscues continued throughout the third quarter.

The Bulldogs pulled within two points when the quarterback scrambled for a 26-yard touchdown run with 10:24 remaining in the game, but the 2-point conversion failed.

The offense was able to get the ball moving again, and Belue added another scoring run, this one covered 22 yards. McNatt hit the PAT to increase Red Bay’s lead to 28-19 and make it a two-possession game.

LaFayette added a final touchdown on a 65-yard pass. Hunter Childers recovered the onside kick for Red Bay and the Tigers were able to run out the clock.

With the win Red Bay advances to the second round of the playoffs. The Tigers will travel to Fultondale next week.