SHEFFIELD — A strong defensive effort and a big night from running back Matt Belue paved the way for Red Bay to pull off a crucial region win Friday night as the Tigers beat Sheffield 21-14.
Belue carried the ball 36 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns to spark the Tigers.
Red Bay’s defense, meanwhile, gave up a big play early but then limited Sheffield (3-3 3-1 region) to one touchdown over the final three quarters.
“Our defense was outstanding tonight,” Red Bay coach John Ritter said. “We had a bust early and gave up a big play, but we played great after that. I’m just tickled to death with this win.”
The win put Red Bay (3-3, 3-1) in a tie for second place in the Class 2A, Region 8 standings.
“It was a good win for us and we needed it to hopefully get that second seed for the playoffs,” Belue said. “Now we have to keep working hard and stay focused each week.”
Sheffield struck first when quarterback Hunter Danley took a bootleg around right end and raced 70 yards to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 3:15 to go in the first quarter.
Red Bay, however, controlled the second quarter. Belue capped a long drive with a 1-yard scoring plunge to tie it at 7.
The Tigers took the lead just before halftime when Justin Payne found Michael Ramirez for a 26-yard touchdown pass to put Red Bay up 14-7.
The loss was the first in region play for Sheffield, which hosts No. 1 Tanner next week.
“We just have to pick up the pieces and move on,” coach David Hufstedler said.
“We need to get better in every phase of the game. We have good seniors and they will make sure we put this behind us.”