Red Bank coach E. K. Slaughter had perhaps the easiest halftime speech of his coaching career Friday night. He simply needed to remind his Lions of what can become of four-touchdown leads.
The Lions raced to a 27-0 halftime advantage and then stepped it up a little more in coasting to an easy 47-7 District 6-AA blasting of Central on senior night for the Purple Pounders.
"You always want to finish a game strong. That's the name of the game," Slaughter said as rain poured down on the Lions' celebration. "We've had bits and pieces here and there, but tonight I think we grew up a little bit. There wasn't any letdown."
Red Bank (2-4, 2-1) had squandered a 35-8 second-half lead two weeks ago in a loss to Hixson but appeared to finally be over that hangover. The Lions scored three quick second-half TDs that took a total of eight plays to push it out to 47-0.
"We had it in the back of our mind, and that was a good thing. We weren't going to let up any tonight," tailback Darrius Akridge said after scoring three times and gaining 123 yards on 14 carries. "In fact, I think it pushed us a little harder. We've been working really hard at practice learning to finish plays. I think we got back to Red Bank football tonight."
Akridge had runs of 5, 10, and 15 yards for scores, and quarterback Hagen Wilkey threw two long touchdown passes before turning it over to the reserves for the fourth quarter.
After bolting to the early lead, Red Bank's first three second-half possessions went like this: three plays, 57 yards for a TD; two plays, 51 yards for a TD; three plays, 52 yards for a score.
The Pounders (1-5, 0-3) were fresh off a big win the previous week but never got untracked against a relentless defense led by Demetrius Williams, Vincent Gordon and Nick Burnette. Central was forced to punt five times, turned the ball over three other times and was held on downs twice in netting just 75 yards against the starters.
"We've played some good first quarters, and second quarters and third quarters, but tonight was our most complete effort," Slaughter said.
Sophomore Scout Morgan led Central's lone TD drive, but starter Dominique Dawson accounted for 98 of Central's 128 total yards. Dawson had 73 rushing yards and 26 passing.
Hagen was 4-of-8 passing for 102 yards and added 54 rushing yards. His TD passes covered 55 yards to Micheal Robinson and 42 to Quan Springs. Malik Davis added a 20-yard scoring scamper to close out the scoring. Gordon also returned an interception 44 yards for a Lions score.