Tigers win ‘cat fight’ at Florala

Published 1:36 am Saturday, September 27, 2008

Five different Red Level players scored rushing touchdowns as the Tigers came away with a win at Florala Friday night to improve to 2-3 on the season. Florala fell to 1-3.

The game was tied 8-8 at halftime before the Tigers came out with a spark to start the second half.

D.J. Sankey returned the opening kickoff of the second half 74 yards to put the Tigers in excellent field position. One play later, Desmond Jones scored on a 20-yard run to put Red Level up 16-8 after Preston Ryce ran a successful two-point conversion.

The Tigers then scored on their next two possessions of the third quarter, taking advantage of a fumble recovery and blocked punt on the way to a 32-8 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“My assistant coaches just got with the kids at halftime and did a great job of making some adjustments,” Red Level coach Tim Grimes said. “We got some breaks there and we were able to take advantage of them.”

One key to the game for Red Level’s defense was stopping the Florala running game. In the first half, the Tigers held the Wildcats to just 40 rushing yards and Quarve Troublefield — who had 164 rushing yards in Florala’s previous game against Kinston — was held to just 2 yards in the first half.

“(Red Level) stymied us as far as running the football,” Florala coach Stan Gooden said. “We had to go to the air a little bit there and there were some things open. Really the big thing for us was the turnovers and miscues.”

The Wildcats had four mistakes in the second half — two lost fumbles, an interception and a blocked punt.

The teams played to a scoreless tie after one quarter before Red Level moved in front on a 2-yard touchdown run by Torey Cobb. Cobb also ran in the two-point conversion to put the Tigers up 8-0. A 62-yard reverse by Cornelius Calloway earlier in the drive helped put the Tigers on the doorstep.

Florala tied the score when quarterback Zach Fleming completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Hinson. Fleming then ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game with 2:11 left in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, with Red Level already up 16-8, Preston Ryce scored on a 3-yard run on a fourth-and-goal play. Calloway added the two-point conversion and the Tigers led 24-8 with 3:54 left.

On Florala’s next possession, the Wildcats could not get a first down and were forced to punt. The Tigers blocked the punt and the ball was recovered by J.R. Mahone on the Florala 11-yard line.

One play later, Shane Jackson scored on a 16-yard reverse. Ryce completed a pass to Sankey for the two-point conversion to put Red Level up 32-8 with 1:49 left in the second quarter.

The Tigers scored their final touchdown when Rahim Bullock scored on a 17-yard run with 11:02 left in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed.

Florala added a late touchdown when Troublefield scored on a 15-yard run with 52 seconds left in the game. Aaron McNeil completed a pass to Lavoris Ball for the two-point conversion.

“I’m proud of how our guys played,” Gooden said. “They played hard for 48 minutes and that’s what you want.”

Red Level’s Ryce attempted just one pass, a 30-yard completion to Sankey. Calloway was the Tigers’ leading rusher, finishing with 84 yards on six carries.

Fleming finished 11-of-16 passing for 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Wildcats’ leading receiver was Hinson, who had three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Troublefield was the team’s leading rusher with 12 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.