“It’s Near Crazy:” Red Bank Football Season Ends in Semifinals

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Red Bank striker had the ball and scored into the goal, he played in a shot. The clock was still a tenth of a second, and the same fans witnessed what came closest to football with a basketball buzzer-beater.

But the shot was almost unstoppable, only a few inches from the entrance. In their best season at Red Bank, the Lions came very quickly from their first trip to the state championship game and lost 0-1.

The players were worried, but coach Chris Tillett was very proud when asked to talk about the team and what they have accomplished.

“This is an amazing race,” coach Tillett said. “The seniors believe that this will happen at the start of the season, and they are living up to those dreams every day with practice.”

Page Patriots were dominant in every phase of the game outside of scoring. They took 17 shots and maintained the majority of their possession, while Red Bank tried to hit the counter and thus only took five shots. Red Bank goalkeeper Jake Wright was almost flawless, the only goal allowed was a curve shot that could have been aided by the element.

“It’s almost crazy close, it’s not,” Tillett asked about the close play. “It was a shot in the second half. He was supposed to shoot in the first half so the wind wouldn’t blow.”

The wind changed the game for both teams, as clearing became impossible, and the defenders were asked to play at the back with the highest stakes imaginable. Red Bank back line Giovanni Aleman, Cesar Salazar, Eddie Birdsong and Elijah Tillett all did well because of the situation. Substitutes Julio Andres and Estuardo Rabanales also provided energy when given the opportunity.

Although it wasn’t like Red Bank’s players, starters or subs, needed a shot in the arm. The senior -qualified Lions compete and have a chance of winning until the buzzer sounds. Coach Tillett said the senior player class, with studs such as Ramiro Vazquez and Darieun Ross, has set a new standard for the program.

“Yes, they are sick now, but when they get time to think about what they are doing this season, they will see that we have three and a half of winning the state championship,” coach Tilett said. “This is an incredible race, and it should have set a new standard, because all the little kids think we’ll be back next year.”

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