Red Bank opened up its season for a second time Friday night – or so it seemed after a 21-day layoff since its first season opener – and this one was a little more to head coach Chris Brown’s liking.
The Lions scored on their first offensive play, took advantage of five Soddy Daisy turnovers and ran the ball 37 times for 374 yards in taking care of business at Red Bank Community Stadium and Tom Weathers Field.
“I told the kids it was our second first game of the year, and there were some things that looked like a first game, but I liked our effort and enthusiasm, just not our execution at times,” Brown said on a night the program honored its 2000 state championship team.
“We lost some games last year to COVID so we had weeks where we had to get it done in practice to get better, but we have so many new kids who haven’t been in game situations, so this break was a little a different,” Brown added.
After dropping a tough season opener against Cleveland, and then losing a game to COVID coupled with a bye week, the Lions were itching to pop the pads, forcing a fumble on Soddy Daisy’s first play where an alert Kobe Smith recovered.
AD Crutcher busted through the middle and sped to the outside on the next play for a 27-yard scamper to paydirt and 24 seconds into the game it was 7-0.
“Our coaches preach to us to set the early tempo and that’s what we did. I told ‘em before the game I was going to score on the first play. It was good to be back on the field again,” said Crutcher, who scored a trio of TDs and rushed for 141 yards on 14 totes.
A year ago, it was Crutcher who provided the second part of a 1-2 running punch, and while he has moved into the lead role, one of the young ones Brown spoke of proved plenty able to shoulder the second punch. Freshman Daune Morris offer a different, but no less lethal dose with his slashing style, and wound up with 151 yards on 14 carries as Red Bank rushed for 374 yards on 37 attempts.
“We’ve always had a pretty good 1-2 punch in the backfield and Daune has stepped up. He is a better defensive player, but he showed a lot tonight on that side of the ball,” Brown said.
“We are a running team. AD has helped me a lot, and the line did its thing. We were looking forward to tonight,” Morris added.
Red Bank and Soddy Daisy almost always look forward to Friday Night Lights against one another in a battle of neighboring communities. Over the last 20 games coming in, each team has won 10 times and just one point has separated the battles.
The Trojans (0-4) like to sling it around and Slater Hickman came out hot. He completed six of his first seven passes after the Lion score, but came up short in the red zone when the Trojans’ turned it over on downs at the 13. Red Bank need just four plays to take it the distance as Crutcher got 34 of it and Morris the final 53, including a 25-yard burst. The extra point was bobbled, but an alert Josh Blackmon picked it up and hit Kobe Smith for the two-point conversion and a 15-0 lead.
Red Bank would go on to score 10 more points in the second period for a 25-0 halftime lead. An interception by Jaden Baccus, one two picks on the night for him, set the Lions up at midfield and Alricko Trimble took it the final 21 yards for a TD. Josh Blackman’s pick set up a 29-yard field goal with 29 ticks left to close out the half.
Red Bank added two more scores in the third to force the clock to keep running and the first one was a beauty by Crutcher. The junior tailback cut inside and then did a spin move to the outside before taking 47 yards to the house. Joseph Blackmon added the next score when he kept it from 14 yards out to make it 39-0.
Soddy Daisy battled to the end and got two scores in the fourth, both after Red Bank fumbles. Tanner Whittenbarger took a short field and scored from the seven, and then added an 81-yard run up the middle. Morris got the last laugh, though, picking up 47 yards on a 50-yard drive, slipping in from the six to end the scoring.
The Lions did have three scores called back for penalties and a long interception return, totaling 92 yards on 10 yellow flags. That, combine with the two late turnovers, were addressed by Brown after the game.
“We took 21 points off the board. We did that. We have to learn from it. It’s a rivalry game, and they’re a good football team, but we’ve got to clean it up. It was a good region win, but there are teams on our schedule we won’t beat doing that,” Brown said.
Whittenbarger led the Trojans with 107 yards on 14 carries, but aside from his long run and the Trojans’ first drive, the Lions adjusted and held them to a total of 46 yards otherwise.
Red Bank will jump right back into region play against Central next week, while Soddy Daisy hosts Sequoyah looking for its first win.
SODDY DAISY 0 0 0 14 – 14
RED BANK 15 10 14 7 – 46
RB – AD Crutcher 27 run (Jake Wright kick) (11:36, 1st)
RB – Daune Morris 25 run (Kobe Smith pass from Josh Blackmon) (5:55, 1st)
RB – Alricko Trimble 21 run (Jake Wright kick) (9:40, 2nd)
RB – Jake Wright 29 yard field goal (0:29, 2nd)
RB – AD Crutcher 47 run (Jake Wright kick) (7:40, 3rd)
RB – AD Crutcher 14 run (Jake Wright kick) (5:06, 3rd)
SD – Tanner Whittenbarger (Josh Davis kick) m(9:02, 4th)
SD – Tanner Whittenbarger 81 run (Josh Davis kick) (6:39, 4th)
RB – Daune Morris 6 run (Jake Wright kick) (3:39, 4th)
SD STATS RB
7 1st Downs 20
20-109 Rush 37-374
83 Pass 77
192 Total 451
10-20-3 Passes 6-10-0
220 Penalties 10-92
3-37.6 Punts 3-31.0
3-2 Fumbles 2-2
Rushing: Tanner Whittenbarger 14-107, Slater Hickman 3-(-3), Logan Coffman 3-6 (SD); Daune Morris 14-151, AD Crutcher 14-141, Joseph Blackmon 2-22, Rico Trimble 3-22,Cordell Howard 3-17, Devin Reviere 3-22 (RB).
Passing: Slater Hickman 10-20-3 83 yards (SD); Joseph Blackmon 6-10-0 77 yards (RB).
Receiving: Trevor Alexander 4-43, Gavin Lane 2-14, Tanner Whittenbarger 2-8, Drew Lewis 1-3, Braden Dodd 1-15 (SD); Alricko Trimble 5-40, Tyler Wright 1-35, Josh Blackmon 1-11 (RB).
Records: Soddy Daisy (0-4, 02 3-4A); Red Bank (1-1, 1-0 3-4A).
(Contact James Beach via email at email@example.com or Twitter @beachnut1134)