Tigers pull through with first game win
By Brannon King
For the FCT
The Red Bay Tigers claimed a thrilling 33-26 victory and extended their regular season winning streak to 19 games with a late fourth quarter touchdown against the Colbert Heights Wildcats.
Kolby Bragwell connected with Max Bullen on a 38-yard TD pass with just 26 seconds remaining in the game to give the Tigers the victory.
The Tigers looked to be in total control in the first half, which included a lightning delay early in the second quarter that sent both teams to the locker room for safety. Red Bay held a 13-0 lead before the Wildcats came roaring back in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the determined Red Bay team that found a way to win.
As time was winding down in the fourth quarter, it looked as though the two teams were headed to overtime before Red Bay head coach Michael Jackson went for the score and grabbed the win.
“We knew coming in that we were going to be challenged tonight. The only thing that we didn’t know was that we were going to make the mistakes that we made,” Jackson said. “We really made some crucial mistakes on third and long and fourth down and long and then that turnover that got them back into the game. We did just enough that I was proud of some of things that we did; we’ve just got a lot of work to do to fix some stuff.”
Jackson added, “I’m excited about finding a way to win. I’m excited about doing something at the end there; every time we put ourselves in a hole, somebody made a play to get us out, and that’s something to build on.”
Red Bay got on the board first when Tate Ozbirn scored from one-yard out, and then Abdullkarim Muzayad added the first of his three extra points in the game to give the Tigers the 7-0 lead.
Kaleb Burroughs then intercepted a Colbert Heights pass to end their first drive of the game. Two plays later, the Wildcats returned the favor with an interception of their own by Korey Saint.
Just before the half, Bragwell ran it in from five yards out on fourth and one to give Red Bay the 13-0 lead.
Colbert Heights got things going on their opening drive of the second half when Kevin Shaw completed a 33-yard pass to Austin Davis on third and ten down to the Red Bay seven. Two plays later, Joseph Alexander scored to make it 13-6.
It only took two plays for Red Bay to answer. Burroughs went 56 yards for a TD and the Tigers’ lead was 20-6. Then late in the third quarter, Shaw answered with a two-yard TD run for Colbert Heights. The try for two failed and Red Bay led 20-12.
Colbert Heights pulled even on the first play of the fourth quarter when Saint recovered a Red Bay fumble and raced into the end zone. Shaw’s two-point conversion tied the score at 20-20. The wild final period continued as Ozbirn scored on a 38-yard run on fourth and two for Red Bay. Colbert Heights then put together a long drive which ended in a halfback pass on fourth and four from the Red Bay 16 as Saint took the hand off and found Richard Thomas for the TD with 2:56 remaining in the game.
The following kickoff was short and went out of bounds near mid-field to help set up the game winning drive for the Tigers.
Red Bay will host Tharptown next in a battle of Franklin County schools.