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Red Bay defeats state-line rival despite shaky start

The Red Bay Tigers had to overcome another inconsistent start Friday night to beat the Belmont Cardinals 22-13.

Red Bay turned the ball over three times, including twice inside the 10-yard line.

“We gave up some points,” said Red Bay coach Michael Jackson. “We have to be better at protecting the football. We had to adjust our game plan a bit. We had some of our skill position players out, forcing us to run the football more.”

Red Bay had two players rush for more than 100 yards. Aiden Quinn had 199 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown. Quarterback Jalen Vinson had 138 yards on 14 carries and a score. Vinson completed two of seven passes, one of those for a touchdown.

“We have had guys in and out of practice and games, and it has been really inconsistent,” said Jackson. “I hope we will be at full strength this week when we play Sheffield.”

Belmont got on the board first on a 17-yard run, taking a 7-0 lead. Red Bay responded on the next drive, with Vinson running the ball in from nine yards out. The Tigers’ two-point conversion attempt, however, failed, leaving Red Bay trailing 7-6 with 4:26 to go in the first quarter.

Red Bay didn’t get on the board again until late in the second quarter on a 34-yard run by Quinn. This time the two-point conversion was successful, giving the Tigers a 14-7 lead with 2:59 to go in the first half.

Red Bay extended that lead to 22-7 late in the third quarter on an 18-yard pass from Vinson to Hunter Burks. Quinn ran the ball in for the two-point conversion.

Belmont added a late score on a Hail Mary pass with 2:10 to go in the game.

Gavin Edgmon led the Red Bay defense with 19 total tackles. Cam McKinney and Alex Kennedy had 10 tackles and nine tackles, respectively.

The Tiger defense limited Belmont to 137 total yards of offense – 82 on the ground and 55 through the air.

“Our defense has played well for us so far this year,” said Jackson. “We just have to continue to get better each week.”

Red Bay will host Sheffield for homecoming Friday night. The Tigers haven’t lost a home game in three years – but their last home loss was to Sheffield.

“Sheffield is very athletic and skilled at the quarterback position and at wide receiver,” said Jackson. “We are going to have be alert and physical Friday night.”