Region title on the line as ninth-ranked Red Bay hosts No.-4 Tanner
RED BAY – The best way to enter the high school football playoffs is with home-field advantage and the only way to do that is by finishing the season as one of the top two teams in a region.
Tonight the top two teams in Class 2A, Region 8 will meet in Red Bay for a game that will likely determine which team will win the region and which team will finish as runner-up.
Red Bay is currently ranked ninth while Tanner enters the contest ranked fourth.
"If we can hold up our end of the deal it's going to be a good game," said Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys.
The winner of this game has won three of the last four Region 8 titles.
The Tigers were victorious last season, pulling out a 21-20 win when Tanner missed an extra point late in the game.
"We were fortunate to win last year," Jeffreys said. "We played an almost perfect game."
Neither team had a turnover in last year's game.
This year's Tanner team is much different from the squad that visited Red Bay last season.
The Rattlers are 6-0 overall and are averaging 32 points per game while holding opponents to 17 points per game.
The offensive success can be attributed to junior Dominique Randolph – who Jeffreys describes as the best running quarterback the Tigers will face – and running back Trey Cosby.
Cosby has filled in for departed running backs Derrick Malone – a University of North Alabama recruit – and Jarquise Peoples, who signed with Jacksonville State University.
Last week Cosby rushed for 272 yards and three touchdowns against Westminster Christian Academy in a 42-21 Rattler victory.
The defense is anchored by Amos Draper, who is ranked as on of the 60 best defensive ends in the nation by Rivals.com and has drawn interest from a handful of Southeastern Conference programs.
"You have to keep your eye on where he's at," Jeffreys said of Draper's ability to disrupt offensive plays.
After struggling in games earlier this season, Jeffreys said he is pleased by what he has seen from his team during practice the last few weeks.
"We have had two really good weeks back-to-back," Jeffreys said. "If you want to make a move, you have to have really good practices."
This is the week the Tigers will have to make their move if they want to win their second-consecutive region title.
Both teams are 4-0 in region play and the winner of tonight's game will be the region champion if both teams win the remainder of their region games, which they are expected to do.
Red Bay travels to Clements and hosts Lexington to end the region schedule while Tanner will host Cherokee and visit Hatton.
The only way the loser of tonight's game could earn the region title is by winning the rest of its region games and the winner of tonight's game losing the rest of its region games.
"We hope we can keep it close," Jeffreys said. "They are a physical team and they have good speed."