Red Bay defeats Marion Co.Published 11:01pm Friday, November 2, 2012
For the FCT
GUIN — One season ago the Red Bay Tigers went into the final game of the regular season undefeated only to see Marion County end that run with a 42-33 win.
The Tigers waited a year to enact their revenge.
Holding the high-powered Marion County Red Raiders to 293 yards, the Tigers came away with a 21-17 upset win over Class 1A’s top-ranked team.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Tigers, as Marion County’s first two plays netted 14 yards.
However, in a bit of foreshadowing, the Tiger defense held and the Red Raiders were forced to punt on their first possession.
Red Bay wasted little time in turning that into points, as a third-and-six run on a jet sweep to Austin Childers turned into a 46-yard touchdown run.
Clay McNatt’s extra-point made the score 7-0.
The two teams swapped punts on their next two possessions, before the Red Raiders found an answer.
Using the explosive Wing-T power option attack, Marion County used 11 plays to cover 60 yards, the last a seven-yard quarterback keeper from Sean Wallace.
On the original extra-point try, Wallace found an open receiver in the end-zone, but an ineligible receiver penalty forced a retry.
Ben Riggs nailed it to tie the score at 7.
Once again, the Tigers relied on a big play, this one from Matt Belue, as he took a handoff and raced 56 yards untouched for the touchdown.
McNatt’s extra-point gave Red Bay a 14-7 lead.
Red Bay looked to be in good shape on the next drive, as Austin Humphres intercepted a Wallace pass and returned it to the Red Raider 34.
However, a holding penalty on the return moved the ball to the 44, and Marion County’s defense stiffened, forcing a punt.
The Red Raiders then used a Wallace’s scrambling ability, as four rushes netted the signal caller 27 yards before a desperation heave to the end zone was hauled in by Ready Swanigan for a 43-yard touchdown with 4.2 seconds left in the first half.
Riggs’ extra-point tied the score 14-14 at intermission.
After a three-and-out on Red Bay’s first drive, the Red Raiders took over and moved the ball to the Tiger 47.
However, a quick screen pass that went behind the line fell on the ground, and the Tigers fell on it at their own 47.
The two teams then exchanged turnovers on downs, but on Red Bay’s ensuing possession, a Justin Payne pass was tipped and then intercepted by Deshawn Riebeschl, who returned the ball to the 44.
Powered by a 15-yard pass to Swanigan, Marion County moved to the 19, where Riggs nailed a 36-yard field goal to give Marion County a 17-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
Red Bay responded, however, by giving the Red Raiders a dose of their own medicine. Seven plays–all rushes–were all it took for the Tigers to regain the lead. Belue put the finishing touches on the drive with a 32-yard touchdown run. McNatt’s extra-point gave Red Bay a 21-17 lead.
Marion County drove the ball to the Tiger 36, but on fourth-and-nine from the Tiger 39, Wallace crossed the line while finding Riebeschl for a 19-yard gain, forcing a loss of down on the illegal forward pass.
Austin Childers looked like he had iced the game with a 58-yard touchdown run, but a holding penalty moved the ball back to the Tiger 48. With a third-and-short situation standing between the Tigers and the win, Belue got two yards. Payne knelt on three straight plays and Red Bay got the win.
The Tigers rushed for 217 yards on 35 carries. Belue had 127 of those yards, while Childers added 79. The Red Bay defense allowed 234 yards on the ground, but on 51 carries, while allowing only 59 through the air.
Red Bay (7-3) will return to action next Friday night for a first-round playoff game, as they will host Class 2A, Region 7’s third-seeded Westbrook Christian Warriors.