It was a tale of two halves at Red Bank’s Community Stadium Friday night.
The Red Bank Lions were hosting the Sequatchie County Indians in the first round of the Class 3-A football playoffs and the Lions were able to advance with a 21-0 victory, but it wasn’t because of anything spectacular they did in the opening two quarters.
It was almost like an extension of last week’s 24-7 loss to Loudon where the Lions played uninspired football for the first half.
The third quarter was a different story as Lumiere Strickland scored two touchdowns in a 65-second span to give Red Bank a 14-0 lead while quarterback Madox Wilkey tossed a 38-yard TD pass to Lucas Brown to conclude the scoring on the first play of the final stanza.
Red Bank coach Chris Brown wouldn’t speculate on the message he had for his team at intermission, but the Lions were a totally different football team in the final two quarters.
“A win is a win and we just had to stay focused,” Brown began his post-game comments after his team improved to 9-1 for the season.
“We had to adjust to what a good football team was doing to us in the first half and that’s basically what we talked about during the break. We had the answer, but it was hard to adjust at times. We played much better in the second half.
“I’m just pleased that our season is still alive. I’m proud of our defensive effort as we really got after them in the second half,” he added.
The Lions had nothing to show for the opening 24 minutes other than a lost fumble, a turnover on downs and a 37-yard punt.
It wasn’t the same team that took the second-half kickoff and moved 60 yards in nine plays, taking just 3:35 to take the 7-0 lead after Strickland scored on a sweep from the 7 and the first of three point-after kicks by Kyle Smith.
Eli Massengale recovered a Sequatchie Co. fumble on the kickoff and it took just five plays and 63 seconds to move 65 yards with Strickland sweeping left again for a 25-yard TD run.
Reco Trimble’s interception on the final play of the third quarter gave the ball back to Red Bank at the Indians’ 38.
Wilkey found Brown for the 38-yard catch-and-run on the first play of the fourth quarter and that was basically the ball game.
The Indians never threatened again as the Red Bank defense buckled down in the second half.
Sequatchie County coach Mark Wattenbarger knew that his team was in one of those “David vs. Goliath” contests against a better team, but he was evermore proud of the effort his team put forth.
“We should have won that game, even though Red Bank was much more talented than us,” he told his kids shortly after the final horn sounded.
“We battled our tails off for the entire game and I couldn’t be any more proud of our effort, but we just made too many mistakes and that was the difference,” he added.
The Lions, who will travel to Baxter next week to face the Upperman Bees, finished the game with 214 total yards, including 54 on the ground and 160 through the air.
Sequatchie Co. finished with 141 total yards, including 134 on the ground and seven through the air after holding an 84-40 advantage in the first half.
Strickland was Red Bank’s leading rusher with 39 yards on eight carries while Trimble had 34 yards on five trips.
Wilkey, who lost 19 yards on a pair of sacks, completed a dozen passes for 160 yards, including five to Kel Eddins for 71 yards. Brown had three catches for 31 yards while Lavelle Coffey had two for 11 and Trimble one for nine.
Austin McCurry was Sequatchie’s leading rusher with 53 yards on 18 carries. Walt Jones had 44 yards on 10 attempts while Edgar Veracruz had 22 yards on a dozen attempts.
Red Bank is now 9-1 while the Indians finish at 6-5.
SEQUATCHIE CO. 0 0 0 0 -- 21
RED BANK 0 0 14 7 -- 21
RB – Lumiere Strickland 7 run (Kyle Smith kick), 8:19 left in third;
RB – Strickland 25 run (Smith kick), 7:12 left in third;
RB – Lucas Brown 38 pass from Madox Wilkey (Smith kick), 11:51 left in fourth.
YARDSTICK SEQUATCHIE CO. RED BANK
First Downs 11 9
Rushes-Yards 55-134 15-54
Passing Yards 7 160
Total Yards 141 214
Passes (Comp-Att-Int) 2-5-1 12-23-1
Penalties-Yards 9-52 8-95
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Punts-Avg. 2-18.0 1-37.0
SEQUATCHIE CO. RUSHING: Austin McCurry 18 for 53 yards; Walt Jones 10 for 44 yards; Edgar Veracruz 12 for 22 yards; Harley Meeks 9 for 10 yards; Ryan Johnson 4 for 6 yards.
SEQUATCHIE CO. RECEIVING: Edgar Veracruz 1 for 8 yards; Gabe Gibbons 1 for minus 1 yard.
SEQUATCHIE CO. PASSING: Austin McCurry 0 for 2 with 1 interception; No. 16 was 1 of 2 for 8 yards.
RED BANK RUSHING: Lumiere Strickland 8 for 39 yards; Reco Trimble 5 for 34 yards; Madox Wilkey 2 for minus 19 yards.
RED BANK RECEIVING: Kel Eddins 5 for 71 yards; Lucas Brown 3 for 31 yards; Lavelle Coffey 2 for 11 yards; Reco Trimble 1 for 9 yards.
RED BANK PASSING: Madox Wilkey 12 of 23 with 1 interception for 160 yards.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)