Red Bay ends region play in top spot
By Keith Ledbetter
For the FCT
One of Red Bay head coach Michael Jackson’s goals was met this past Friday night when his Tiger team ended Region 8 play at number one and undefeated in region play.
Red Bay (8-1) turned in over 450 yards rushing in their 54-7 gouging of Tharptown, the Tigers’ final 2014 region opponent.
“Going into this game we expected our guys to execute really well and they did,” Jackson said.
“We’re going to challenge them next week and correct things we did wrong in this one and get ready for Friday night.”
Jackson said offensively they wanted to do some different things they may need later on down the line and they also wanted to get everybody involved.
Friday night marked the end of the regular home season for seven Red Bay seniors and it was also a night that senior Tyler Reach hit the 1000-yard rushing mark for Red Bay.
“I’m proud of Tyler,” added Jackson.
Friday night Reach gave credit to the offensive line for his accomplishment over the season.
“The group that’s improved the most from day one till now has been our offensive line,” Jackson said following the game.
Jackson added that it might be because they have some younger players that have improved as the season progressed.
As expected, the Tigers had little trouble against Tharptown, who are still working on getting their football program competitive.
Red Bay scored three TDs in the first and two in the second to take a 34-0 lead going into halftime, and finished with two more in the third and one in the fourth.
Tharptown’s only score came as the result of a 56-yard kickoff return by Allen Gaston which set up a one-yard TD run by Wildcats’ quarterback Hatton.
Red Bay’s first score of the night came following an intercepted Tharptown pass by Nick Thorn. Reed Holt scored around the right side on a 50-yard run. Dekota Hester added the point after kick.
Senior Jade Pounds was next on a nine-yard TD run to give the Tigers a 13-0 advantage over the Wildcats.
Pounds also set up Red Bay’s next score after he blocked a Wildcat punt with 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Tate Ozbirn picked up the ball and returned it to put the Tigers up 20-0 going into the second quarter.
Reach added a 74-yard TD run with eight minutes remaining in the second quarter to extend Red Bay’s lead to 27-0.
Reach came back at the three-minute mark of the second to add a 54-yard scoring run to end the half with Red Bay leading 34-0.
Pounds’ third quarter 54-yard TD run, Hesters’ completed point after kick, along with Tiger quarterback Kolby Bragwell’s connected 26-yard TD pass with Kaleb Burroughs near the middle of the third took Red Bay into the fourth with a 48-0 lead.
Red Bay senior Daniel Wooten’s 70-yard TD run capped off the Tigers’ final region game of the season.
“We have continued to build every week,” Jackson said.
“We’re hoping that’s going to pay off in the future as far as our guys getting more confidence and playing better at the end of the year.
“Two weeks from right now it’s for real,” Jackson said about the upcoming AHSAA 2A state playoff game.
“You win, you go on. If you don’t, you’re out.”
This Friday, the Tigers are on the road to Marion County for the final regular season game before they start their run for state at home against Woodland on Nov. 7.