Tigers face Raiders in quarterfinals

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 20, 2003

It just keeps getting tougher. Every week the competition gets better as the Red Level Tigers advance in the high school football playoffs. Houston Academy (10-2) is the next opponent for the Tigers (10-2).

The game will be a home contest for the Tigers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Crystal Springs Park Stadium. Admission is $6.

Red Level whipped the Raiders 27-0 in the regular season, but the Tigers are not taking the quarterfinal playoff game lightly.

Red Level Head Coach Tim Grimes said the Raiders will be ready for the Tigers.

"They are a good football team. They are still winning and haven't lost since we beat them," Grimes said.

He said the Red Level game plan will remain about the same that it has been all season.

If the Tigers do run a similar offense to the one that led to a homecoming win on Oct. 3, senior running back Larry Hudson will be tired after the game.

Hudson paced the offense in October with 222 yards rushing on 18 carries. He also scored two touchdowns.

Running backs Princeton Ryce and Evan Kervin can also expect to get opportunities to run the ball against the Raiders.

Quarterback Russell Rigdon was 3-of-6 passing against Houston Academy in October for 43 yards. He did not have a touchdown pass, but also did not throw an interception.

Turnovers have been costly for the Tigers this season with several in a loss to Slocomb.

Turnovers during last week's playoff game against Oakman halted three drives in the "red zone" allowing the Wildcats to keep the score close to the very end.

The Tigers must eliminate turnovers this week and take the ball away from the Raiders like Chris Hendrix did in October with a late interception.

The Tigers' plan has worked so far and the only adjustment will be even more emphasis on concentration, focus and execution.

"We're not going to change anything, but we're going to try and do some things better," Grimes said. "Houston Academy has a fine football team. They lost to Slocomb (who defeated Red Level

34-8) by a score of 6-3 and beat the defending Class 2A State Champs (Southern Choctaw) last week.

"They have a great defense and a great offense and great coaching," Grimes added. "They are not the type of team to beat themselves."

Grimes said the win against Houston Academy in the regular season could be an advantage or a disadvantage for the Tigers this Friday night.

"It is an advantage because our kids know we are capable of beating them," Grimes said. "The disadvantage is they (the Red Level players) might think they can just show up and win."

Grimes said he and the rest of the coaching staff are making sure the Red Level players do not overlook the Raiders.

One extra bonus for the Tigers, if they win Friday, is a possible rematch with the Slocomb Red Tops in a semifinal game.