Red Bay's hopes of region title in jeopardy after 41-14 loss to No.-4 Tanner
RED BAY – The Red Bay football team gave its fans everything they could hope to see at a high school football game except for a win Friday as the Tigers lost their first region game of the season to Tanner 41-14.
The Rattler rushing attack was too much for Red Bay (4-3, 4-1) as Tanner used several long runs to put the game away in the second half.
"They big played us to death," said Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys. "They were ripping us right up the gut."
Tanner (7-0, 5-0) had a pair of players rush for more than 100 yards on its way to amassing 419 yards of offense. Only 40 of those yards were through the air.
After neither team scored in the first quarter, they combined to put 35 points on the board in the second quarter.
Tanner opened the scoring on an 8-yard run nine seconds into the quarter. Red Bay answered midway through the quarter when Cody Tucker pulled in a 13-yard pass from Cody Palmer and Chase Lindsey added the extra point to tie the game.
The Rattlers reclaimed the lead 73 seconds later on a 17-yard run. Red Bay scored three plays later when Tucker raced down the right sideline for a 62-yard rushing touchdown and Lindsey added the point after.
Tanner started the ensuing drive at the Red Bay 45 and scored three plays later, leaving 2:57 remaining on the clock.
Red Bay had a chance to tie the game after driving to the Tanner 17, but an interception ended the drive.
Tanner fumbled on the next play and Red Bay recovered, but the Tigers could not regain the momentum they had on their previous drives and entered the half trailing 21-14.
"That (interception) hurt us a bit," Jeffreys said. "After halftime (their) offense came in a mauled us."
Tanner scored twice in the third quarter on runs of 45 and 20 yards and added another touchdown on an 11-yard pass in the fourth quarter.
Tucker led the Red Bay rushers with one carry for 62 yards and a touchdown. Palmer had 54 yards on 12 rushes and Cody Armstrong added 32 yards on 12 carries.
Palmer completed seven passes for 81 yards.
Tucker was also the leading receiver, grabbing four passes for 48 yards while Caleb Collins caught a pair of passes for 24 yards.
It was the first time since region play began that Tanner earned a win at Red Bay. With the victory, Tanner has all but locked up the Class 2A, Region 8 title.
Red Bay can claim the title if it can win against Clements and Lexington while Tanner loses to Cherokee and Hatton. Jeffreys does not think that will happen.
"I think they have very little chance of losing their next two games," Jeffreys said.
On paper the Tigers should defeat Clements and Lexington, but Jeffreys said he would not put victories in the win column yet. Red Bay has a few players battling injuries, and there are about five or six players that might not play next week.
For the Tigers to wrap up the second spot in the region and secure a home game in the first round of the playoffs, they will have to rebound from tonight's loss.
"I hope next week we get up off the mat," Jeffreys said. "We got knocked down tonight."