Tigers gear up for final games
By Keith Ledbetter
For the FCT
Having an open week before you play your two remaining regularly scheduled games is something the Tigers have needed, according to Red Bay head football coach Michael Jackson.
The Tigers did not play this past Friday because scheduling their games for the 2014 season left them with an open date for Friday, Oct. 17.
“This past week gave us time to take care of ourselves and make sure our kids are getting well,” Jackson said.
“We’ve played eight games in a row, so it’s a good time to look back at our team and see what we need to do to move forward.”
The Tigers secured the Region Championship with their 28-21 win over Hatton on Oct. 10 and are now looking at concluding the region this Friday as they host Tharptown for their last home game of the regular season.
Jackson said the Hatton game was one of the hardest fought games they’ve played this year, but because of some adversities that happened during the game, he now knows his team can adjust where they need to.
“It was a very physical game that was back and forth in the first half,” Jackson said about the 14-14 tie at halftime.
Jackson said the coaching staff challenged their kids in the second half with a few things they had going on in the game.
“We had a couple of players injured and we had to move people around to play in positions where they have never played before,” he said. “We challenged them to come out and be physical and that’s what they did in the second half.”
Jackson said he knew it would take a lot of physical effort in the second half to ensure that they took care of the ball and added points on the board.
“I’m happy that game is behind us and we are the region champs and the number one seed,” he said.
“That puts us in the position of hosting the first game of the AHSAA 2A state playoff games.”
The Tigers will match up with Region 5 for the first round, and could face Woodland, who is currently in fourth place in their region standings.
This is the first region championship for Red Bay since 2011 when they defeated Phil Campbell 41-19.
Current Region 8 standings (as of Oct. 15) going into week nine for Red Bay has them at the top with Sulligent in the number two spot.
Number three Phil Campbell, who has not advanced to the state playoffs since 2005, secured a position in post-season play this year after they defeated Cherokee 13-6 on Oct. 10.
Hatton is in the fourth position, and currently Tharptown is in fifth place in the region.
Following the Tharptown game on Oct. 24, Red Bay will travel to play their final regular season game against Marion County on Oct. 31.
Looking at the end of Red Bay’s regular season, Jackson said he is proud of the support he, his staff and his players have received from the community.
“We have a great staff and a lot of support,” Jackson said.
“Our kids are taken care of really well, and that’s because the community supports our players.
“It’s a big deal to be a Red Bay Tiger. We have some chances to make some memories right now for this season. This team is on the verge of being able to do some great things.”