Anybody that knows anything about Red Bank football knows the Lions have had a great success running the ball this fall, alternating between Zay Brown and Calvin Jackson.
What you might not know is that they have a sophomore quarterback who is also playing pretty good football these days and has been amazingly accurate throwing the pigskin in recent games.
Madox Wilkey had an outstanding game a week ago when he completed all 10 first-half passes and finished with 13 of 16 for 206 yards and three touchdowns in a big win over Loudon.
The slender 15-year-old was even better this week in the first round of the playoffs against a tough Sequatchie County team.
The Indians were geared to stop the Brown-Jackson rushing attack and they did for the most part, but Wilkey had another field day as he completed his first 11 throws and 19 of 20 in the first half before finishing the game with 27 completions on 30 attempts for 244 yards and two more TDs.
“That was a hard-fought win for our football team, but we knew Sequatchie County had a good team,” Wilkey said after the game ended.
“I again have to thank my offensive line for another great job of blocking and giving me time to throw. I felt bad after the interception, but the time was getting away and I knew our defense would get the stop. I feel great that we’ll play here again next Friday night,” he added.
Red Bank played ball-control offense in the first half and scored on all three of its possessions for a 21-7 lead and they made it count as the Lion defense came through in the final 24 minutes to preserve a 21-13 victory.
Red Bank improves to 9-2 and will be at home again next week to face York Institute.
“We have a quarterback who can throw and he does a really nice job of distributing the ball,” said Red Bank coach Chad Grabowski about Wilkey, who has been starting this fall for the first time after being a sub last year.
“Madox is doing a great job and his growth this fall with all we’ve put on him has just been unbelievable. What he does throwing the ball really opens up our offense, but our offensive line has been doing a great job as well,” the coach continued.
While Wilkey completed 90 percent of his passes, it was an interception he threw in the fourth quarter that he’ll remember forever as it gave the ball back to the Indians with 8:41 to play and the Lions hanging onto a 21-13 lead.
“The pass was a little high and it bounced off Calvin’s hands, but it didn’t hurt us as our defense bowed up and stopped them on that next drive,” Grabowski smiled.
That interception by Sequatchie’s Cameron Weaver gave the Indians first down at their own 31. They were able to pick up two first downs as they moved to the Red Bank 40, but Collin Hudson was stopped a yard short on fourth-and-3 by Ivan Young and the Lions were able to run out the clock to preserve the win.
Sequatchie County coach Adam Caine wanted to second-guess his call on that fourth-down play, but the message he sent his team was that they played their hearts out against a really good Red Bank team and he couldn’t have been any more proud.
“That was bold and courageous and that’s what I’ll remember most about this football team,” he told his players shortly after the final horn had sounded.
“Everybody had counted us out this season, but we laid it on the line tonight. There’s nothing I can say that will make you feel any better, but all of a sudden, the season is over and that’s the toughest part about being in this business.
“We’ve experienced a lot of frustration this season with a lot of coming and going, but Red Bank just had some receivers we couldn’t cover. And their quarterback has never gotten enough credit, but he’s a fine player and he made our job tough tonight,” Caine concluded.
Red Bank took the opening kickoff and used seven minutes and 13 seconds to move 66 yards in 16 plays to take the early lead when Jackson scored on a keeper on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Braulio Velazquez booted the first of three extra points and the Lions were ahead 7-0 with 4:47 left in the opening quarter.
The Indians had an equally impressive drive as they marched 65 yards in 18 plays – using 8:09 to get the job done – before Adrin Jackson blasted into the end zone from the one on another four-and-goal situation.
Abraham Martinez booted the point after and it was all tied at 7-7 with 8:36 before halftime.
The Lions took the lead for good when Wilkey hooked up with Jackson on an 11-yard play with 3:57 left before intermission and the hosts added another TD right before the break when Wilkey completed a 19-yarder to David Cosby. Another extra point boot by Velazquez gave Red Bank a 21-7 lead at the half.
Sequatchie County made it interesting when quarterback Ethan Barker scored on a keeper from the 1 with 10:47 to play. The extra point bounced off the upright and was no good as the difference was 21-13 and still plenty of time remaining.
The Indians still had one final opportunity following Weaver’s interception, but Young’s heads-up play stopped the guests from Dunlap and the home team was able to run out the clock without further problems.
Brown had been averaging more than 168 yards per game, but was limited to just 53 yards on 14 carries. Jackson totaled 33 yards on 10 attempts as the Lions only had 65 net yards on the ground for the game.
Jackson had nine catches in the first half and four more in the second as he finished with 116 receiving yards. Cosby was equally as effective with 107 yards on eight grabs.
Barker was the leading rusher for the Indians as he finished with 76 yards on 18 carries.
Spencer Ables, Barker and Logan Campbell all had one catch apiece as Ables made a spectacular one-handed grab in the second half for a 25-yard gain. Ables also had a 14-yard completion to Barker on a flea flicker to end the first half. Campbell’s catch also netted a 14-yard gain.
Red Bank finished with 309 total yards and 21 first downs while the Indians countered with 208 total yards and 14 first downs.
The Indians, who advanced to the state semifinals last year before losing to Alcoa, finished this season at 6-5.
SEQUATCHIE CO. 0 7 0 6 -- 13
RED BANK 7 14 0 0 -- 21
RB – Calvin Jackson 1 run (Braulio Velazquez kick), 4:47 left in first;
SEQ – Adrin Jackson 1 run (Abraham Martinez kick), 8:36 left in second;
RB – Jackson 11 pass from Madox Wilkey (Velazquez kick), 3:57 left in second;
RB – David Cosby 19 pass from Wilkey (Velazquez kick), 0:26.4 left in second;
SEQ – Ethan Barker 1 run (kick failed), 10:47 left in fourth.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)