The streak has continued but the pressure mounts.
Red Bank, which has been a league champion six of the last eight seasons, improved to 6-1 overall with a 42-20 home victory Thursday against Brainerd. More importantly, the Lions moved to 4-0 in the District 6-AA race.
There is little time to celebrate, though, with games ahead versus Howard, East Hamilton and Tyner. Howard is winless but Tyner is 3-1 in the league and East Hamilton is 2-1 going into its game tonight at Hixson.
"We'll celebrate briefly, but we still have a ways to go," Red Bank coach Tim Daniels said. "We'll get back to work Monday. We've had peaks and valleys, and what we need to do is eliminate those valleys."
The visiting Panthers scored the first and last touchdowns of the game -- on runs by quarterback Sam Caffey -- but Red Bank did a whole lot of damage in between. In particular, Lions quarterback Niquia McDuffie was on his game, rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns and completing a 48-yard TD pass to Kameo Watson.
The passing score with just 64 seconds till halftime knocked the wind out of the Panthers. They had just scored on one of McDuffie's few miscues, a 48-yard Maleek Rooks interception return, and had cut the Lions' lead to 21-14.
"I had a pretty good game against Walker Valley (317 passing yards), but I have to give all the credit for my play tonight to the offensive line," McDuffie said. "They blocked well all night long."
Red Bank, which lost running back Randall Lee to a broken ankle Wednesday, got the only third-quarter score on a 3-yard Demarcus Bynum fumble return. The Lions pretty much iced the game in the fourth quarter, going up 42-14 on Jake Parker's 40-yard interception return. It was the junior linebacker's first career touchdown.
"I made it to the [training table], but I was done," Parker said when asked if he had time to celebrate. "I had to get ready to go back out on defense."
Parker, Bynum, McDuffie and the rest of the team got some unexpected praise from Daniels in their postgame huddle.
"That's probably your most complete ballgame," he said. "You played hard the whole night. We had a lot of big plays from a lot of people. Enjoy the game briefly, but know we have to move on and grow."
Ward Gossett is an assistant sports editor and writer for the Times Free Press. Ward has a long history in Chattanooga journalism. He actually wrote a bylined story for the Chattanooga News-Free Press as a third-grader. He Began working part-time there in 1968 and was hired full time in 1970. Ward now covers high school athletics, primarily football, wrestling and baseball and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling. Over a 40-year career, he has covered ...