RBHS Tigers take down Belmont Cardinals

By Slade Gilmer

For the FCT

 

Red Bay used a high-powered running game and a stingy defense to earn a 35-0 win over the Belmont (Miss.) Cardinals in an interstate matchup Friday.

The Tigers took a while to get going, but once they did, the Cardinals had no answer on either side of the ball, and the Tigers ran their record to 6-0.

The Cardinals received to start the game and got a first down but stalled and punted. The Tigers responded with a long drive of their own, with a 33-yard pass from Troy Borden to Jesus Kelly getting the ball inside the Belmont 15. However, a holding penalty knocked Red Bay back, and a fourth-down run fell short, giving Belmont the ball on downs.

After another Cardinal punt, the Tiger offense got back on the field. This time, the Tiger offense cashed in, as eight straight runs garnered 57 yards, the last one coming on a Borden sneak, giving Red Bay a 7-0 lead with 11:56 left in the first half.

The two teams traded punts on the next three possessions, and a Red Bay fumble gave Belmont the ball on the Tiger 47. A pass interference moved the ball to the Tiger 31. However, the Red Bay defense responded, with Colby Knoblock and Andrew Richardson recording back-to-back sacks to force the Cardinals to punt.

On the first play on the ensuing drive, Tate Ozbirn broke loose for 50 yards, with a horsecollar penalty moving the ball to the 16. Ozbirn’s next two runs covered 15 yards, and Borden got his second sneak touchdown to push the lead to 14-0 with 1:45 left in the half.

Belmont tried to get a drive going before halftime, but Josh Wilson intercepted to take the game into halftime at 14-0.

The first three drives of the second half ended in punts, but on the Cardinals’ second drive of the second half, Andrew Ray picked off a pass and returned it to the Cardinal 22. Ozbirn took a handoff on the next play and raced 22 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 21-0 with 4:20 left in the third stanza.

Belmont got a good drive going, pushing the ball to the Tiger 39. However, after a pass completion, Red Bay forced a fumble and recovered on their own 34.

A 30-yard run by Reed Holt on the second play of the drive moved the ball to the Belmont 34, and on the next play, Borden found Kelly for a 34-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a 28-0 lead.

Belmont’s next drive got to the Red Bay 48, but on fourth down, the punter’s kick hit the upback, and the return went to the 23.

Five plays later, Holt scampered around right end for the final points of the night for a 35-0 lead and final score.

On the night, Ozbirn led the way with 172 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Holt added 68 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Borden had 36 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns and three completions in six attempts for 80 yards and a touchdown. The Tiger defense held the Cardinals to 206 yards of total offense and came up with three takeaways.

Red Bay, the sixth-ranked team in Class 2A, will be back in region play on Friday, Oct. 2, with a road trip to Florence to take on the Mars Hill Panthers. The Tigers won that meeting 54-0 last season.

 

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