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franklin county times
PHOTO BY BART MOSS / Red Bay running back Aaron Lewey makes a play for the Tigers in their 24-7 win over Belmont.

Caging the Cardinals: Red Bay beats rival Belmont

By Bart Moss / For the FCT

The stateline rivalry between the Red Bay Tigers and the Belmont Cardinals is probably the biggest game on both teams’ schedules each year. Families and close friends live in each community. Businesses and employment overlap. It’s a pride game. And this year, the Red Bay Tigers earned bragging rights with a 24-7 whipping of the Cardinals.

The Tigers used a strong running game and opportunistic passes to dominate Belmont. Red Bay ran the ball 53 times for 259 yards. The Tigers threw only three passes all night, two of which were touchdowns – both to leading receiver Luke Rooker.

“We played the most complete game of the season,” said Red Bay coach Michael Jackson. “We did a good job on defense of making them make plays.”

Jackson said he was very pleased with his line play on both sides of the ball. Red Bay had 18 first downs and held Belmont to just seven.

“Our offensive line did the best job of the year in the run game, and we made the most of our passes,” Jackson said.

Red Bay closed the first quarter with a strong drive to the Belmont three yard line. Aaron Lewey closed out the Tigers’ drive on the first play of the second quarter with a touchdown run, and the two-point conversion gave Red Bay an 8-0 lead.

The Tigers scored again late in the second quarter on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Kolby Bragwell to Rooker. The two-point conversion gave Red Bay a 16-0 halftime lead.

Red Bay scored a final touchdown midway through the third quarter on a 13-yard pass from Bragwell to Rooker. The two-point conversion gave the Tigers a commanding 24-0 lead.

The Cardinals scored their lone touchdown with just a few seconds left on the clock in the game on a 29-yard run.

Rooker caught two passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Lewey ran the ball 29 times for 154 and a touchdown. Bragwell completed all three of his passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

Red Bay improves to 3-2. The Tigers are still 1-1 in region play.

The Tigers do not play Friday night.

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