Tigers scalp IndiansPublished 12:13am Saturday, October 13, 2012
RED BAY — One popular football line says that offense wins games, defense wins championships.
Fortunately for Red Bay, they had a good showing by both in last night’s 41-15 trouncing of the Cherokee Indians at home.
“We played well on both offense and defense,” Red Bay head coach John Ritter said.
The Indians returned the game’s opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown just 14 seconds into the contest, but Red Bay did not take that insult lying down.
The Tiger defense did not allow Cherokee an offensive first down until the 9:30 mark of the fourth quarter, well after Red Bay had its second defense on the field.
“We have to shore up our kicking team,” Ritter said.
Two and a half minutes after the returned kickoff, Red Bay answered with a 14-yard touchdown run by senior running back Stephen Wood.
Junior Clay McNatt put the PAT through the uprights, and the Tigers would not trail again on the night.
It took just over four minutes later for the Tigers to take a 13-7 lead after a 2-yard run for a score by Wood and a missed PAT.
The Indians were held to a three and out, and the snap on the punt sailed over the kicker’s head, giving Red Bay excellent field position.
This led to a 9-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Matt Belue with 34 seconds remaining in the quarter. The Tigers picked up a two-point conversion and a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Belue scored again four minutes into the third quarter, this time on a 12-yard scamper.
The Tiger defense would have held Cherokee to yet another three and out, but a personal foul for roughing the passer gave the Indians their first first down of the night with 3:46 remaining in the third.
Red Bay’s next score came through the air instead of on the ground via a 22-yard touchdown catch and run from senior quarterback Justin Payne to Belue. Payne ducked two defenders before dropping off the ball to Belue, who made his was past the goal line.
“We wanted to come out and throw the ball a little more and earlier on this week,” Ritter said.
Red Bay began making subs after picking up the 35-7 lead, and it would be sophomore running back Tyler Reach that would get the next score for the Tigers on a 2-yard run.
The last score of the night, and only the second one for Cherokee, came on a 16-yard touchdown run with 3:50 left in the game. The Indians ran in the two-point conversion to produce the final score.
The Tigers (4-3, 4-1) will travel to Lexington next week.