5 keys to a Raiders win over Franklin County

Raiders Dawson White, Eli Brown, Logan Hegwood, and Aydan Blair
Raider starters Dawson White, Eli Brown, Logan Hegwood, and Aydan Blair will all need to bring their A game tonight if Class 1A Moore County hopes to get a win over 5A Franklin County on homecoming. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Traditionally, high school football programs schedule cupcakes for their homecoming game – you know, an easy win to keep things festive and light. On Friday, the Class 1A Moore County Raiders will take the exact opposite approach when they face off with the Class 5A Franklin County Rebels in Lynchburg.

Franklin County will come into the game fresh off a narrow one-point victory over regional rival Tullahoma last Friday night. The Rebels scored the go-ahead touchdown with one minute left to play when senior running back Eric Jones went up the middle on fourth down for the score. A Loius Arellano extra point gave them the win. It would be the Rebels first win of the 2022-23 season with losses over Coffee County, South Pittsburg, and East Hamilton to start the season. They currently sit with a 1-3 overall record and 1-0 is district play.

Moore County traveled to district rival Wayne County on Friday and handed the Wildcats a 40-0 thrashing. In that game Raider QB Dawson White and running back Logan Hegwood combined for four touchdown and Will Parker and Alex Copeland added one more each.

The real stars of the show; however, were the Raider defense who pushed, harassed and hurried the beleaguered Wildcat offense all night. By the fourth quarter is seemed clear, Wayne County just wanted to get off the field. Peyton Martin led with 12 tackles followed by Wes Clifton with 10. Eli Brown added another five tackles and a sack. White managed a interception and Martin snagged a fumble recovery. Both Buddy Qualls and Dillon Sherrill caused a fumble each.

Here are what our staff thinks are five keys to a Moore County homecoming victory:

1| Play time of possession. Despite how it looks on paper, the Rebels are likely to give Moore County all they want on Friday night. A larger school equals more athletes, and many of Moore County’s playmakers play on both side of the ball. The traditionally quick-scoring Raiders need to play slow and steady and be sure to give their defense plenty of rest.

2| Spread the ball around. Moore County climbed up the AP High School Football poll this week from #5 to #4. The more success they experience, the bigger the target on their collective Columbia blue backs. The Rebels will likely key in on Moore County’s top scorers Raider QB Dawson White and running back Logan Hegwood. Coach White needs to spread the ball around and keep the Rebels guessing. He’s got the talent to do it.

3| Keep the pressure on defense. The Moore County defense just keeps getting better week after week. If they can keep up the intensity they found in the Wayne County game, they’ll give their offense the best shot at a win. Eli Brown in particular just flies all over the field looking for bodies to collide into. And the Columbia blue wall of Peyton Martin, Landon Smith, Tripp Hammond, Dakota Christian, Dillion Sherrill, Sawyer Parks, Coleman Phillips, and Aydan Blair needs to keep making those tenacious goal line stands.

4 | Come out aggressive. Football seasons play out in a familiar script and one of the tropes is a let-down game after a narrow victory. With nothing to gain by beating the Raiders, the Rebels could come into Doug Price Field overlooking them. If QB Dawson White and his arsenal of offensive weapons could come out early and get ahead by a couple of touchdowns before the Rebels have time to adjust, it just might pay dividends in the fourth quarter.

5 | Contain Jones and Baker. Rebel’s Eric Jones not only scored the winning touchdown against Tullahoma but he put up 147 total yards of offense including 22 carries for 39 yards and another seven catches for 108 yards. He’s a wile, versatile player. The Raiders – especially our ball-hawking corners – need to also keep a close eye on Kai Baker. He averages 54 receiving yards per game. He may not score as often as Jones but he picks up key yards when necessary.

Kickoff at against Franklin County takes place at 7 p.m. If your can’t attend in person, the Moore County Sports Network will broadcast the game live on the NFHS NetworkThe Times will also provide live score updates on our Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We also provide news and information for the 350,000 folks who come to Lynchburg to visit The Jack Daniel’s Distillery each year. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. You can support us, by clicking here.}