Red Level ends season with hard-fought homecoming loss to Samson, 54-32

Published 11:37 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

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Red Level battled back in the second half for its homecoming game but ultimately fell short to Samson, 54-32, and ended the season Friday night.

RLS Head Coach Kenny Skipper said this was his youngest team since he took over his alma mater in 2017.

“We played about as poorly as you can play in the first half but played our butts off in the second half. We had some calls that did not go our way, and I hate that for our guys because that ended up affecting them for the rest of the game. I’m proud of the way we played in the second half. There are some kids who will grow up to be really good football players, but they’re a bunch of ninth graders right now. I’m proud of my team, and we will continue to work and get better for next year,” Skipper said.

Red Level (2-8) began the game on offense and earned a first down when Koltin Barlow threw a 15-yard pass to Javen Poindexter. The drive stalled after that, and Samson (3-7) took over at the home 33-yard line. Brodey Mixon capped a five-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. The PAT was blocked and left the score 6-0 with 7:35 left in the first quarter. Devan Parker followed with a big kickoff return to the 38-yard line. Barlow connected with Poindexter again for a big gain across midfield before an interception.

Starting at its own 46-yard line, Samson received a 32-yard run from Kelin Hornsby. Mixon then scored on the next play from 22 yards and added the two-point conversion for a 14-0 lead. Malique Copeland sparked the return team with another huge kickoff return to the 45-yard line. The defense forced a three-and-out, but Red Level held serve and retook possession at the end of the quarter.

Barlow picked up two first downs through the air with a 13-yard completion to Poindexter and 15-yard pass to Copeland. Samson stopped the threat there and pushed the lead to 20-0 with a 1-yard touchdown run by Mixon. The PAT was blocked with 7:06 remaining until halftime. Red Level then went on a nine-play, 76-yard drive off the feet of Poindexter who had 64 yards including a 26-yard run into the end zone. Ben Carroll added the PAT and trimmed the deficit to 20-7 with 2:25 left in the first half.

Mixon returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown on just 14 seconds. The two-point try was good and built the margin to 28-7. Shambrian Mayes had a nice return across midfield to the visiting 41-yard line. Unfortunately, RLS fell victim to a backwards pass resulting in a fumble, giving Samson the ball back. Chase Ray threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Lamb, and the PAT was good for a 35-7 lead at halftime.

Samson moved the chains once on its initial second-half possession but punted and pinned Red Level deep. Poindexter needed only one play, a 93-yard touchdown run in just 15 seconds, and brought the score to 35-13 following a blocked PAT. Mixon finished off the next drive for Samson with a 2-yard touchdown run three minutes later and upped the cushion to 42-13. Once again, Red Level responded in three plays when Barlow threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Poindexter. Carroll’s point after made the score 42-20 with 4:02 left in the third.

Following a defensive stop, Red Level set up shop at its own 1-yard line. Poindexter took the second play from scrimmage 55 yards to the opposing 40. The third quarter ended, and Barlow connected with Copeland for an 8-yard gain and first down to start the fourth. Poindexter followed with a 1-yard run across the goal line. The PAT was blocked and kept the score 42-26 with 11:37 to go in the game. Samson started in opposing territory and reached the home 33 before punting. Red Level got another touchdown run from Poindexter and trimmed the gap to 42-32 at the 5:58 point.

Red Level was then awarded the ball following an onside kick, but the call was changed and resulted in Samson taking possession. Three plays later, a 1-yard touchdown run by Mixon took the lead to 48-32. Red Level was unable to answer after an interception ended a short drive. John Yarbrough capped the scoring with a 31-yard touchdown run and closed the game.