Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Red Bank senior wide receiver Reco Trimble (6) catches a 51-yard touchdown pass from Joseph Blackmon in the first half of a TSSAA Class 4A quarterfinal against Upperman on Friday night at Tom Weathers Field.

Chris Brown will forever cherish his 2021 Red Bank Lions football team. After all, this year's senior class members were freshmen when he took over the program, which has been one of the most successful in the Chattanooga area during that time frame.

And despite Friday's heart-wrenching 42-28 home loss to Upperman in the TSSAA Class 4A quarterfinals, the Lions' leader is proud of their run.

"From the get-go, they bought in and believed in what we were trying to get done," Coach Brown said of a senior group that finished with 40 career wins. "They were committed and disciplined through the day-to-day grind we put them through. To see them mature over four years and watch kids follow their lead means so much. It's hard to say just how much it means. These seniors are the DNA of our program."

Red Bank had momentum heading into the fourth quarter at Tom Weathers Field as the Lions marched 95 yards on five plays to take a 28-21 lead.

A.D. Crutcher, a junior and a 1,000-yard rusher this season, exploded through a crowd of jerseys to race 62 yards down the left sideline, while senior captain and quarterback Joseph Blackmon did the rest. After his 14-yard run to the end zone without being touched, Blackmon threw a perfect ball to Reco Trimble for the 2-point conversion.

(READ MORE: Final scores and photos from Friday night's Chattanooga-area high school playoffs)

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Red Bank vs. Upperman on Nov. 19, 2021

Trimble had a monster night for the Lions (9-3) as the senior star finished with 108 yards on four catches, which included a 51-yarder on a deep slant across the right side as he outran several defenders to the left pylon in the second quarter.

However, the Bees (12-1) could not be stopped behind a massive offensive line that cleared the way all night for sophomore Jaxson Rollins, who produced his team's first four scores. Upperman, which rushed for 410 yards, will visit Elizabethton next week in the Class 4A semifinals.

Daniel Metzger produced the winning score on a 9-yard screen pass from Jonathon Rushing, who filled in nicely for starting quarterback Ty Dutchess after he left with a head injury in the first quarter.

After the Bees scored with 4:46 remaining to go up 35-28, they recovered the ensuing kickoff on a muffed fair catch. Rushing's 2-yard score with 2:09 left helped wrap up the win.

Blackmon was stellar for Red Bank as he finished 10-of-14 passing for 182 yards and rushed for 74 yards on 10 carries, including three scores. His first touchdown was a 29-yard strike across the middle to Tyler Wright in the first quarter.

"The hurt is there and has to be there because everyone was invested," Brown said. "But when the hurt passes, there is going to be an incredible amount of pride. I am already so proud of what these young men did

"This was the closest team I have ever coached. The hurt is to remind us how much we care about this season and one another. They played so hard all year."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.