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Central drops Red Bay

By Brannon King

For the FCT

The 2013 football season opener didn’t go as planned for the Red Bay Tigers.  The 2A Tigers fell 31-14 to the 4A Central Wildcats Friday night in Florence.

The Red Bay team had high hopes entering the season but got off to a slow start and never recovered in the opening game.

Central took the lead in the first quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run by Kyle Duncan capping a 10-play drive that covered 71 yards.  Matthew Bevis kicked his only successful extra point on the night for the Wildcats making the score 7-0.

The first Red Bay drive of the night ended in disaster.  On fourth down, the Tigers attempted to punt, but a mishandled snap resulted in the Red Bay punter being dropped after a 24-yard loss on the play.

It didn’t take long for Central to capitalize.  Senior running back Garrard Beasley took a handoff and ran 11-yards for his first of two touchdowns on the night.  The extra point was no good making the score 13-0 Wildcats.

Red Bay was able to move the ball late in the first quarter as quarterback Jesus Kelly connected with receiver Nick Thorn (who led the Tigers with 49 receiving yards) on a nice 39-yard pass play.  After a couple of running plays, Red Bay faced third and one at the Central two-yard-line.  The next two runs resulted in a pair of 3-yard losses and the Tigers were turned away.

The Tigers got a breath of life midway through the second quarter when a Red Bay punt touched a Central player and Red Bay fell on the ball keeping possession but couldn’t turn the good fortune into points.

The first half came to an end as a Red Bay pass by Troy Borden was picked off by Central’s Corinthian Graham.

The second half got off to a bad start as Red Bay’s first drive ended on a turnover that was advanced by Central’s Kannon Barkley.  The Wildcats capitalized on the mistake as Jonathan Hacker muscled in from 1-yard out to give Central a 19-0 lead.

Beasley opened the fourth quarter with a 61-yard gallop to the endzone making the score Central 25 Red Bay 0.

Central took advantage of another Tiger miscue as quarterback Patric Langston hit Matthew Brown on a 18-yard pass making the score 31-0.

Red Bay showed good effort from then on.  Running back Austin Childers, who finished the game with 175 yards rushing, raced 67 yards for a touchdown and also converted the two-point try to bring the score to 31-8 with 4:31 to go in the game.

On the following drive, the Tiger defense held the Wildcats to a three-and-out.  Reed Holt deflected a Central punt giving the offense good field position.  Red Bay’s Austin Childers took a third down handoff and went 40-yards this time for his second touchdown of the game with less than a minute to go.

Tiger coach John Ritter wasn’t pleased by the team’s performance in the first game.  “I’m disappointed because that’s not the brand of football that we want to be known for at Red Bay.”

Things don’t get easier in the next game for the Tigers as they host defending 2A state champion Tanner.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond to this because there were some bright spots.  We’ll come back next week at practice and have a great week and continue to get better each week,” Ritter said.

Tanner will be coming off a week one loss to Madison Academy.  The Red Bay-Tanner game will open 2A Region 8 play.

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