Red Bay wins alumni game

By Keith Ledbetter

For the FCT

All the practice and all the planning came together this past Saturday night as football alumni from Red Bay and Belmont high schools met for one more game.

As expected, it was near standing room only at Fred Bostick Stadium in Red Bay for the rematch of the cross state rival teams that saw Red Bay take a 28-0 win.

Both Tiger and Cardinal fans and families came out in large numbers to watch former players compete just one more time. The game’s pre-sell tickets also benefited both schools.

“For our first year, this was outstanding,” said Tiger head football coach John Ritter.

“The guys that played on the alumni team did a great job at getting the word out, and our kids did a great job at selling tickets.

“This was a fun atmosphere, the fans came out and supported the event and we do appreciate that.”

For many Red Bay alumni, it was the first time they had played at Tiger field since graduation.

The event, which has been in the planning stages for several months, was sponsored by Alumni Football USA, an organization that was started to help reconnect football players that longed to put on a uniform and play full contact football.

Almost 60 players suited up for the Saturday night contest that ended with no serious injuries and only some bumps and bruises on both sides.

Red Bay’s Jeremy Davidson and Belmont’s Paul Gattis were the oldest players. Both graduated in 1996 and each turned 36 this year.

The alumni Cardinals were the first to cross the 10-yard line. Belmont’s Trenton Gattis completed a long pass to Kirk Stidham at the four-yard line.

Belmont had four downs to score, but the Tiger defense held and forced a turnover on downs at the three.

Red Bay mounted their first scoring drive on a 33-yard pass from Kurt Kennedy to Randy Lowery for a first down.

Red Bay’s Brandon Colburn carried the Tigers to the 26-yard line, followed by a Josh Senkbeil run to the eight-yard line of Belmont.

After a delay of game penalty, Kurt Kennedy added the first TD of the night with a keeper run over the right side.

“It’s great to be out here with the guys,” said Kennedy, a Red Bay graduate of 2005.

“I was Jason Vinson’s and Bryant West’s ball boy when they played, so it’s kind of cool playing with those guys.

“Getting to see Randy Lowery and Brandon Colburn and the rest that I played with is awesome.”

Pablo Makepeace, a 2008 graduate from Red Bay, added the point-after kick for a 7-0 lead.

“It’s great to get to put a team together, not only with my teammates but with the guys that played before us,” Makepeace said.

“It’s something that you dream about, and thanks to these guys they made it happen for us.”

A touchdown pass to Lowery and an extra point kick by Makepeace gave Red Bay a 14-0 lead over Belmont in the third quarter.

Bryant West, a former quarterback, and a 1999 graduate, scored Red Bay’s third TD with a keeper run.

Chase Lindsey, a 2011 graduate, added the point-after kick that gave Red Bay a 21-0 lead in the fourth.

Makepeace pulled in a Kennedy pass, scoring Red Bay’s final touchdown. Makepeace also added the point-after kick for the final score.

“We talked to coach Ritter and he was thrilled with the turn out,” said Archie Letson of Alumni Football USA.

“The players got out here and sold tickets, and it’s a great fundraiser for both schools.

“It’s alumni players giving money back to the school and their programs.”

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