Tigers take advantage of turnovers in win
RED BAY – A slow start plus an interception and a fumble hampered Red Bay in the first half against Cherokee Friday night, but the Tigers came back in the second half to turn their 14-14 halftime tie into a 33-21 win to improve to 3-0 in the region.
Cherokee's Cody Berryman intercepted a Cody Palmer pass on the second play of the first quarter and the Indians scored two plays later to take a 7-0 lead over Tigers.
Cherokee (2-2, 2-1) was in position to add to the score, but what should have been a 36-yard touchdown run turned into a touchback when the Indians' Dominique Croom fumbled out of the end zone.
Following the turnover, Red Bay (3-1, 3-0) picked up the momentum with quarterback Cody Palmer connecting with Dustin McCarthy on a 16-yard pass to the 35. Cody Armstrong carried the ball in from the 20 and Chase Lindsey added the PAT to tie the game 7-7.
Red Bay recovered an onside kick at the 42 and Armstrong scored nine plays later on a 5-yard run to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead.
Following the kickoff, Croom atoned for his earlier mistake by scrambling out of the pocket and racing 65 yards to tie the game.
The Tiger defense broke the tie in the third quarter when Brooks McCeary intercepted an Indian pass and returned 70 yards down left sideline for a Tiger touchdown. Lindsey hit the PAT and Red Bay led 21-14.
Later in the quarter, Red Bay traveled 65 yards in 10 plays and Armstrong scored on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line.
With 8:05 remaining in the game, Red Bay's Joseph Reach intercepted a Kelvin Martin pass and returned it to the Indian 23-yard line to set up the Tigers' final score. Armstrong rushed three times before scoring on a 5-yard run. The two-point conversion failed.
Five minutes later Martin found Croom for a 47-yard touchdown pass to bring the Indians within 12, but Cherokee was unable to pull any closer as time ran out.
"We still haven't found the intensity to get going early," said Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys. "Our guys did a great job coming back in the second half. On defense we tackled a little better but we still have a ways to go."