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franklin county times

Red Bay keeps playoff hopes alive with 26-7 win against Bobcats

Red Bay’s Hunter Childers (12) picks up some rushing yards against Phil Campbell Friday. He had rushing touchdowns of 12 and 41 yards to help lead the Tigers past the Bobcats in a key region game. | Scot Beard/FCT

RED BAY — Phil Campbell traveled to Red Bay Friday night fighting to keep its chances of earning a playoff berth alive. The only problem was Red Bay was in the same situation as the Bobcats.

With both teams needing a win and knowing the losing team would be eliminated from playoff contention, it was the Tigers that emerged victorious 26-7.

“We played our worst game of the year,” Phil Campbell coach Bo Culver said. “Football is a collision sport and the more physical team wins. They were more physical.”

Neither team was able to seize control early. In the first quarter the Bobcats had a pair of drives stall before they could cross midfield and Red Bay (4-4, 3-3) could not get into Phil Campbell territory on its first drive.

The Tigers found more success on their next possession and drove to the Bobcat 7-yard line before a holding penalty and three incomplete passes set up a missed field goal attempt.

The Bobcats were held to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession and Red Bay put together a scoring drive.

It took the Tigers eight plays and 3:47 to move the ball into the end zone. Quarterback Hunter Childers ended the drive with a 12-yard scoring run and Chase Lindsey added the extra point to give Red Bay a 7-0 advantage.

Phil Campbell (4-4, 2-4) answered quickly, scoring on its next possession. The Bobcats drove the ball 65 yards and capped off the possession with a 10-yard run by Andy Landers. Craig Saint added the PAT to tie the game.

Red Bay struck again with 28 seconds remaining in the first half when Justin Payne took the hand off from Childers then hit Marco Bostick with a 27-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a 14-7 advantage at halftime.

“I knew we would run that play, I was waiting for the right opportunity,” Red Bay coach Dale Jeffreys said. “It was a big play and well executed. I’m proud of both of them.”

Red Bay extended its lead on the first drive of the second half when Lindsey took a pass from Childers 26 yards for the touchdown. Lindsey missed the PAT, giving Red Bay a 20-7 lead.

Late in the third quarter Phil Campbell drove to the Red Bay 25-yard line before a fourth-and-three play came up one yard short of picking up the first down to extend the drive. It was as close as the Bobcats would get to scoring the rest of the night.

Childers padded the Red Bay lead with a 41-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score at 26-7.

Phil Campbell had one more shot at scoring and drove to the Red Bay 31-yard line, but Kevin Hastings intercepted a Corey Alexander pass with 5:38 remaining in the game and returned it 50 yards.

A penalty on the Tigers negated the long return, but Red Bay held onto the ball and ran out the clock.

With the win Red Bay moves into a tie with Lamar County for fourth place in the Class 2A, Region 8 standings.

Since the Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 35-25 earlier this season they would hold the tiebreaker if those teams finished tied.

Red Bay hosts Cherokee (1-7, 0-6) next week while Lamar County visits Hatton (3-5, 2-4).

A win by Red Bay would clinch a playoff berth for the Tigers regardless of the result of the Lamar County-Hatton game.

If Red Bay loses, it would need Hatton to defeat the Bulldogs to clinch a playoff spot.

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