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Red Bay falls in second round

FULTONDALE – Red Bay’s trip to Fultondale for a second-round playoff tilt provided great plays, controversial calls and an exciting fourth quarter, but when the final seconds ticked off the clock, it was the host Wildcats celebrating a 27-15 victory.

The visiting Tigers, however, were left wondering what might have been had a series of penalties on two second quarter drives not stalled the drives.

Fultondale scored midway through the first quarter on a 13-yard pass.

Red Bay (10-2) answered by driving inside the Wildcat 10-yard line before three consecutive penalties transformed a third-and-three into a fourth-and-24 situation. The Tigers failed to convert, and Fultondale put together a back-and-forth drive.

Fultondale picked up a quick first down on a 25-yard scramble by the quarterback. The next play lost 15 yards due to a bad snap. The next play Fultondale’s quarterback threw a perfect pass into coverage and the receiver outraced the Tiger defenders for a 68-yard touchdown reception with 9:13 remaining in the second quarter.

Red Bay picked up a first down on the ensuing drive, but was then forced to punt. Clay McNatt’s punt rolled to a stop at the Wildcat 7-yard line. On the first play of the drive, Red Bay was able to tackle the Fultondale running back in the end zone for a safety to cut the score to 14-2 with 5:47 remaining before halftime. Fultondale had to kick the ball to Red Bay and the Tigers drove to the Wildcat 3-yard line, but once again penalties hurt the Tigers. After setting up first-and-goal on the 3-yard line, officials called a timeout for an injury. Red Bay took a delay of game penalty on the first play after the timeout. A few plays later an apparent touchdown run by Steven Wood was called back on a holding penalty.

Red Bay turned the ball over on downs when a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

“Two or three things hurt us,” Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys said. “The holding call in the end zone was a killer.”

Red Bay came out fired up in the second half and took the opening drive 63-yards and cut into the Wildcat lead when Wood scored on a 5-yard run to cut the deficit to 14-9. Ethan Blanton recovered an onside kick for the Tigers, but the drive stalled. Red Bay called a fake punt on fourth-and-five, but the Wildcats stopped Hunter Childers one yard short of the first down.

The defense stopped Fultondale and forced a punt. Unfortunately Red Bay’s punt returner could not handle the kick as the ball bounced off of him and a Fultondale player recovered.

The Wildcats later scored on a 16-yard touchdown pass.

Red Bay answered with a 65-yard drive capped off with a 1-yard run by Wood. The Tigers attempted another onside kick, but the Wildcats recovered.

On the first play of the drive, Fultondale’s quarterback broke loose for a 68-yard touchdown run to put the game away.

Red Bay’s final drive ended at the Fultondale 20-yard line. The Wildcats were able to run out the clock.