Phil Campbell beats Red Bay for county glory
Phil Campbell and Red Bay had not played since 2019 – until Friday night. The renewed rivalry did not disappoint. The two teams were locked in an epic struggle for bragging rights, which Red Bay had owned since 2005. The Bobcats capped off a 30-24 double-overtime win with a late goal-line stand, a 97-yard drive, two overtime touchdowns.
Trailing 18-6 late in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats began their comeback with a defensive stand deep in their own territory. With a chance to put the game away, Red Bay drove all the way to the Bobcat 3-yard line before turning the ball over on downs with three minutes to go in the game.
To tie the game, the Bobcats would have to go 97 yards and get a two-point conversion.
Phil Campbell went to the air behind the arm of senior quarterback Kye Pace, who completed eight of 10 passes for 90 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Robinson with 45 seconds to go in the game to pull the Bobcats to within two points.
Gage Baker, who had been the workhorse for Phil Campbell on the night, carrying the ball 20 times for 120 yards, converted the two-point conversion to tie the game 16-16.
“Kyle made some big plays on that drive,” said Phil Campbell coach Kevin Barnwell. “Sage (Raper), Bryant (Hyde) and Robbie (Robinson) also made some big catches on the drive.
“It was a total team effort, from the defense getting the stop to give us a chance and the offense getting us down the field to score,” he added. “The effort at the end and in overtime was typical of this team this year.
“It was a character win. Their backs were against the wall, and they kept playing.”
In overtime, Phil Campbell got the ball first and scored on a 10-yard run by Raper. Baker added the two-point run to give the Bobcats a 24-16 lead.
Red Bay responded with Brady Hardin scored from seven yards out and converting the two-point play to tie the game.
Red Bay got the first shot in the second overtime but fumbled the ball, giving Phil Campbell an opportunity to win the game.
When the Bobcats got the ball back, according to Barnwell, the players wanted to go back to a play that worked previously. They gave the ball back to Baker, who went 10 yards for the score and the win.
“Gage has really matured as a player,” said Barnwell. “He’s a big kid and has some speed. There are not many teams on our schedule that can stop him once he gets going.”
Baker also scored the Bobcats’ first touchdown in the first quarter on a five-yard run.
Hardin scored for Red Bay in the second and third quarters. He ended the game with 39 carries for 172 yards for the Tigers.
Both teams finished fourth in their regions and will go on the road this week for the first round of the playoffs. Phil Campbell will travel to Madison Academy, and Red Bay will travel to Fyffe.