Red Bank showed off an impressive running game Friday night, with freshman Daune Morris and junior AD Crutcher combining for 291 rushing yards and five touchdowns as the Lions beat visiting rival Soddy-Daisy 46-14 in Region 3-4A action.
Morris, in his first real showcase on offense, carried the ball 14 times for 156 yards and touchdown runs of 25 and 5 yards, and Crutcher gained 135 yards on 12 carries and scored on runs of 27, 47 and 14 yards in the victory. Senior Reco Trimble added a 21-yard rushing touchdown for the Lions (2-1, 1-0) in the second quarter.
"We've been planning on this for the past two weeks after the Cleveland game," Morris said. "We were looking forward to getting more rushing yards, we just focused on getting more rushing yards and following our blocks."
Soddy-Daisy (0-4, 0-2) began the game on offense, but running back Tanner Whittenbarger fumbled on the first play from scrimmage, setting up Crutcher, who scampered 27 yards for the score on Red Bank's first snap.
"I told my team before we even started that I was going to get a touchdown on the first play," Crutcher said. "That's all we worry about anytime we come into a game, is just to set the tone early."
Soddy-Daisy looked strong at times, and the Trojans put together an impressive 12-play series after Crutcher's opening score. Quarterback Slater Hickman completed six passes for 58 yards on the possession, but an incomplete pass on fourth down at the Red Bank 12 ended the threat, and the Lions took just four running plays — two by Crutcher and two by Morris — to march down the field and take a 15-0 lead after a 2-point conversion.
"We've been really blessed since I've been head coach to have had multiple guys at any point who can be threats with the ball," Red Bank coach Chris Brown said. "(Morris) adds that third running back presence that we've had the past couple of years, and that just grinds on other teams when they have to stop that."
Soddy-Daisy also had an apparent interception return for a touchdown wiped away by a penalty, and the Trojans gave up the ball to Red Bank on a muffed punt late in the first half to set up a 29-yard field goal by Jake Wright that gave the Lions a 25-0 lead at halftime.
A pair of touchdown runs by Crutcher in the third quarter gave Red Bank a 39-0 advantage and seemed to put the game away, but Soddy-Daisy responded with a pair of touchdown runs by Whittenbarger — the most impressive an 81-yard scoring run with 6:39 remaining in the game. Brown put his starters back in, and Morris sealed the win with a late 5-yard touchdown run.
"After they scored, we just had to get the momentum back," Morris said. "After the first half, we were just hoping to finish the game with a blowout. So we started focusing on just moving the ball down field after that."
Despite the convincing win, Brown was frustrated with his team's execution at times. The Lions have had an open date and didn't play on another Friday when Ooltewah forfeited due to COVID-19 protocol, and Brown said the lack of action showed at times.
"We've got a lot of kids who have just not played a lot of football," he said. "It sounds cliché, but this really is our second first game of the year. And it looked like a first game of the year. I'm proud of our effort, and I'm proud that we came out and showed excitement and enthusiasm and played hard for each other. But we just have to clean up like a lot of teams do."
Contact Jim Tanner at email@example.com.