Tigers claw out win against Wildcats

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2003

There was a heck of a catfight at Crystal Springs Park Stadium last night with the Red Level Tigers clawing out a 40-22 victory against the visiting Florala Wildcats.

Red Level went on top early with Larry Hudson scoring three consecutive touchdowns for a 20-0 lead. Hudson's first score came on a two-yard run with 7:59 left in the opening quarter. He set up the short three-play scoring drive from the six-yard line with a 44-yard punt return. Hudson's PAT attempt, however, was blocked by Johnathon Carnley.

The Tigers added to the lead when Hudson scored his second touchdown on an eight-yard run. He added a two-point conversion and the Tigers were out in front 14-0 with 4:42 left to play in the first quarter. The Tigers benefited from a low snap on a Florala punt to get good field position and made the most of it with the five-play scoring drive.

Hudson's next touchdown concluded a 12-play drive for Red Level. He capped off the drive with a 13-yard scamper into the end zone. The two-point play was no good, but Red Level held a 20-0 edge with 9:44 remaining in the second quarter.

Evan Kervin added another touchdown for Red Level just before halftime on a three-yard run. The two-point play failed with Red Level out in front 26-0 with 3:42 remaining in the first half.

Florala answered with a touchdown just before the halftime break when Corderus Smiley scored on a one-yard run. Quarterback Robby Evans added a two-point conversion with a run into the end zone.

Red Level was on top 26-8 with 12 seconds left in the half.

The Wildcats came out with claws bared in the second half. Vance Gettis jump started the Wildcats. He returned the opening kickoff of the second half 90 yards for a touchdown. Evans hit Mark Geohagen with a pass for a two-point conversion and the Wildcats were down by 10.

Florala held Red Level and got the ball back for the offense, but a fumble ended the drive. Red Level's Jermaine Jackson pounced on the pigskin to set up the Red Level offense.

Florala's defense once again came up big. Gettis stripped the ball away from a Tiger and went 70 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The two-point play failed, but the Wildcats had trimmed Red Level's lead to four points at 26-22 with 3:16 left in the third quarter.

Red Level answered with 14 unanswered points for a 40-22 victory.

Princeton Ryce capped off a long Red Level drive with a five-yard touchdown run. He was stopped on a two-point attempt, but Red Level had edged its lead back out to 10 points by a score of 32-22 with 22 seconds left in the third quarter.

Florala fumbled the ball on the first play from scrimmage after the ensuing kickoff.

The Tigers pounced on the opportunity and went 35 yards on five plays for a touchdown. Chaz Maloy scored the final touchdown of the night on a five-yard run. Maloy then added a two-point conversion for a 40-22 lead with 10:33 left in the game.

Red Level Head Coach Tim Grimes was happy to get the win, but sees room for improvement.

"We have to get better before Friday," Grimes said.

He said his squad played well early.

"I thought we were ready to play in the first quarter," Grimes said. "We got ahead of them and thought it was a cakewalk."

Grimes said Florala battled back and played hard.

Florala Head Coach Doug Vickery said his team was going up against a larger school and were the underdog. He said his players never gave up and played hard all night.

"We've started a little attitude that we play hard," Vickery said. "They are a 2A football team. They are supposed to win.

"We came out here and scratched and clawed," Vickery added. "We gave them a ball game."