Under a bright yellow harvest moon on Friday the 13th, the Moore County Raiders lost to the Forrest Rockets in a game with enough miscues to make even the least superstitious person think twice. There were intercepted passed, fumbles at the goal line, and unsportsmanlike penalties … oh my.
Despite these bumbles, the game was much closer than the final 14-35 score might lead those not in attendance to believe. In the end, turnovers and missed opportunities resulted in the Raiders second loss of the season.
Forrest got on the boards first by piecing together short gains on three consecutive plays before scrambling into the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point was good to make the score Raider 0, Forrest 7 with less than two minutes off the clock.
Forrest intercepted the Raiders first pass from the line of scrimmage to regain the ball around the 50 yard line. After failing to make a first down, Forrest went for it in fourth and four. The gamble paid off and with less than seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, the Rockets managed a two touchdown lead.
On the next Raider possession, Brayden Cashion and Dylan Scruggs connected on consecutive plays to get the Raiders into the end zone with a little less than four minutes to play in the first quarter. The first quarter ended Raiders 7, Forrest 14.
The Rockets started the second quarter with their own gamble, going for it on fourth and four. But the Raider line got a big stop and the ball turned over on downs at the 46.
Scruggs then got loose for a 15 yard and six yard gain to set up a Cashion to Bryson Dobbs pass for a first down. Two plays later, the Raiders managed third and one at the goal line but Scruggs lost his footing on the next running play losing two yards to make it fourth and three. The Raiders went for it on fourth down but Forrest brought Scruggs down just short of the goal line to take over at the three yard line.
On the first down play, a Rockets ran forwards for long yardage before Tyler Sanders made a touchdown saving tackle. It didn’t matter. Four plays later, the Rockets scored again to make it Raider 7, Forrest 21 with 3:23 left in the first half.
The Raiders then managed four first downs to march down the field before Cashion once again connected with Scruggs for a Moore County touchdown. The boys in Raider blue headed into the locker room at halftime trailing by two TDs.
After the break, the Raiders went three and out before Forest converted a pair of third downs — connecting on a second and 21 pass into the end zone to make it Raiders 14, Forrest 28.
One the next Raider possession, the Raiders suffered an incomplete pass, an unsportsmanlike penalty and a bumbled punt snap.
But the boys in Columbia blue never quit fighting. The Raider defense stiffened on the next Rocket possession forcing a punt on fourth and long. Scruggs blocked the kick to help the Raiders regain possession with 2:41 to play in the third quarter.
Tyler Smith managed positive yardage on two consecutive run plays to set up first and goal. The Raiders then fumbled at the goal line for another turnover.
The Rockets went three and out to start the the fourth quarter and the Raiders got the football back around the 47 yard line. Forrest intercepted the first pass to regain possession. Four plays later, Hayden Carter returned the favor intercepting a Rocket pass on third and 16 but the Raiders couldn’t manage positive yardage.
With 3:26 remaining, Forrest managed a pair of first downs before breaking free for once last touchdown to make the score Raiders 14, Forrest 35.
The Raiders ended the game by turning over the ball again with 40 seconds left to play.
The loss gives the Raiders a 2-2 regular season record. They’ll play Fayetteville at home next Friday.