Home sweet home win for Red Level

Published 2:01 am Saturday, October 11, 2008

Friday night, the Red Level Tigers picked up their first home victory and region victory in the last two seasons with the help of a little trickery, defeating Mobile Christian 30-14 on homecoming night.

Leading 6-0 and facing a fourth-and-9 from the Mobile Christian 41-yard-line late in the second quarter, the Tigers (3-4, 1-4 in Class 2A, Region 2) went with a punt fake where punter Tory Cobb completed a short pass to D.J. Sankey, who then ran into the endzone for an apparent touchdown. The play was called back, however, on a block in the back penalty, and the Tigers suddenly were right back to a fourth-and-8 from the Mobile Christian 39.

Once more, Red Level elected to try a punt fake, and this time was successful as Sankey took the ball on a reverse and ran for a 13-yard gain. Two plays later, quarterback Preston Ryce hit Raheem Bullock for a 20-yard touchdown and the Tigers increased their lead to 12-0 heading into halftime.

“We hesitated but we went ahead and did it again any way,” Red Level coach Tim Grimes said. “We were on their end and if we’d punted it into the end zone we’d have only picked up 10 yards or so.”

The Tigers also moved the ball more conventionally on offense, finishing with 279 rushing yards and 43 passing yards. Desmond Jones rushed 13 times for 160 yards and two touchdowns and Ryce was 3-of-4 passing with two touchdowns.

“We’re proud of our kids; this is our first region win,” Grimes said. “We’re awfully proud of the win. I don’t think (Mobile Christian) punted that whole game. They went for broke every time, but our defense played well.”

Red Level led 18-0 at one point but had to hold off the persistent Leopards (0-7, 0-5), who cut the Tigers’ lead to 24-14 with 7:12 left in the fourth quarter. On Red Level’s next possession, the Tigers failed on another punt fake and it seemed like Mobile Christian had momentum as the Leopards took over on their own 43-yard-line.

But the Tigers’ defense stepped up, as Lamonte Peacock and George Fowler sacked Mobile Christian quarterback Jonathan Redd for an 8-yard loss on first down. Facing fourth-and-10 later in the drive, Redd was again pressured by the Red Level defense before throwing a desperation pass that was caught by Brett Walley. But Walley was not an eligible receiver on the play and the Tigers took over again on offense.

“I believe we had them wrapped up defensively on that series, we sure did,” Grimes said.

Four plays later, Cornelius Calloway rushed for an 8-yard touchdown to stave off Mobile Christian’s comeback attempt.

Red Level scored its first points of the game with 10:10 left in the second quarter when Jones broke away for a 56-yard touchdown run. A two-point conversion attempt failed and the Tigers were 0-for-5 on two-point conversion attempts.

Jones also scored a 56-yard touchdown run just 1:22 into the third quarter that gave Red Level a 18-0 lead. Mobile Christian answered on its next drive when Redd connected with Drew Thompson for a 3-yard reception.

Ryce completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Sankey with 9 seconds left in the third quarter to put Red Level up 24-6. In addition to catching a touchdown, Sankey also rushed seven times for 66 yards.

Mobile Christian’s final touchdown came on a 33-yard reception by Peyton Wasden from Redd. Redd finished the night 13-of-27 for two touchdowns and an interception. Bullock made the interception in the third quarter, after Sankey initially tipped the ball.

Red Level stays at home and will face No. 1 Leroy next Friday.