Red Bay opens season with region win

After having two unexpected weeks off, the Red Bay Tigers finally got to open their season. The Tigers had to jump straight into region play against the Lexington Golden Bears and came away with a 40-13 win.

“I thought there were a lot of positives in how hard we played,” said Red Bay Coach Michael Jackson. “We had a good balanced attack. Our defense really just gave up on play.

“I thought they had a great game tonight. I thought we had too many penalties and turnovers early in the game, but I think a lot of that was a byproduct of us playing our first game.”

Senior quarterback Jalen Vinson accounted for four of the Tigers’ five touchdowns on the night.

“It was pretty difficult having to wait that long to play,” said Vinson, “but we were excited to finally get back out there and play Friday night. The wait kinda brought a special energy to the game. I just went out and tried to lead my team and play my game. It took a little longer than I like to get settled in, but after we got going, there was no stopping us.”

Vinson scored with 7:41 to go in the first quarter on a one-yard run, capping off a long drive to start the game. Vinson also tacked on a two-point conversion run to give Red Bay an 8-0 lead.

The Tigers extended their lead to 16-0 on a four-yard run by Hunter King and a two-point conversion pass from Vinson to Hunter Burks with 4:22 to go in the second quarter.

Lexington responded on the ensuing drive with a 60-yard bomb to cut Red Bay’s lead to 16-7 with 3:24 to go in the first half, but the Tigers added two quick scores late in the first half: the first, a 16-yard pass from Vinson to Mason Holt with 2:32 to go, with a two-point conversion run by King, and the second, a 55-yard pass from Vinson to Elijah Luster. The two-point conversion by Aiden Quinn gave the Tigers a 32-7 lead going into halftime.

Red Bay tacked on another touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 69-yard pass from Vinson to Holt. Quinn’s second two-point conversion run of the night gave the Tigers a 40-7 lead.

Lexington added a final touchdown with 2:10 to go in the game.

Vinson completed 13 of 20 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 46 yards on seven carries and scored a touchdown.

Quinn carried the ball 16 times for 138 yards.

Holt caught four passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Luster had four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Red Bay is off again next week before traveling across the state line to Belmont, Miss.

“This has been as challenging a start to a season as I have been through,” said Jackson. “You have so many kids in and out of school and practice, missing so many games. It is hard to get any consistency.

“We just have to work on correcting mistakes from tonight and get ready for Belmont. That’s a very big game for us.”