Clutch defense earns Moore County a 34-25 win over Wayne County

Peyton Martin, shown here against Eagleville, got several keys stops to help bail out the Raider offense and win a key 34-25 district win over Wayne County. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

WAYNESBORO, Tenn. — It wasn’t pretty but on Friday night, the Moore County Raiders traveled to Waynesboro and handed their old Region 5A rivals a 34-25 loss. The win leap frogs Moore County to tied with Cornersville for the number two spot in the region standings after the Bulldogs dropped their Friday game to Eagleville 28-14. Fayetteville thrashed Collinwood 59-7 this week to remain perfect in Region 5 play.

Despite the Wildcats elusive triple option offense, the Raider defense — led by Peyton Martin, Eli Brown, Dillon Sherrill, Logan Cashion, Bryson Carter, and Wes Clifton — got crucial stops when necessary and the Raider offense put up just enough points to secure the win.

White scores twice in the first quarter

The Raiders got on the boards first with a quick score on their first possession. Dawson White returned the opening kick off to set up a pass play to Alex Copeland with less that a minute off the clock for Moore County’s first six points.

The Wildcats punted on their first possession after Alex Copeland broke up a third and six play to give the Raiders back the ball around the nine minute mark. The Raiders could not connect on the next three straight pass plays to punt on fourth and 10.

The Wildcats found some success on their next series with a handoff plays up the middle. On the third and one, the Wildcat QB fumbled but recovered. The forward progress gave them the first down. Wes Clifton stuffed the Wildcat QB on the next down. Wayne County managed four yards then, on third and two, ran it up the gut for the Wildcats first points of the night. The PAT made it 7-6 with 4:10 to play in the quarter.

The Raiders answered quickly. Logan Hegwood returned the kick off to the 35 yard line then QB Dawson White called his own number for the first down. White then completed a 13 yard pass to Will Baker for another first down. One play later, White ran right and broke a half dozen Wildcat tackles for six points. Isaiah Petty ran in the two point conversion to make it Moore County 14, Wayne County 7.

The first quarter ended with the Wildcats driving near the 40 yard line.

Raiders maintain lead in second quarter

Despite two uncharacteristic turnovers by Raiders, Moore County managed to maintain their lead in the second quarter.

The promising Wildcat drive that ended the first quarter fizzled in the first minutes of the second thanks in no small part to a punishing sack by sophomore Raider Dillion Sherrill. As the Wildcat QB dropped back, Sherrill burst through the O line and stuffed Wayne County for a mere one yard gain. It rattled the quarterback and his next pass fell incomplete. On second a nine, refs called a holding penalty that backed Wayne County up to the 45 to make it second and Lynchburg. The Wildcats then earned three yards on the next play but it wasn’t nearly enough.

The Raiders fumbled on the next possession to give Wayne County back the ball with short yardage. Their next series ate up nearly seven minutes off the second quarter clock but ultimately resulted in no points. On fourth and three, Peyton Martin and the Raider defense made a goal line stand — forcing Wayne County to turn the ball over on down.

The Raider coaching staff changed the cadence of the offense on the next series — catching the Wildcats a bit off guard. Their two offsides flags plus quality runs by Logan Hegwood got the Raiders second and five in Wildcat territory. On third down, a Wildcat ball hawk spotted a Raider pass under thrown due to pressure for Moore County’s second turnover of the quarter.

It took Wayne County five plays to manage first and goal — a perfect set up for the triple option offense. On second and goal, the Wayne County QB tucked the ball and ran in for six points but a heads up play by Eli Brown and Isaiah Petty blocked the PAT to make it Moore County 14 – Wayne County 13 with 1:23 to play in the half.

On the final series of the quarter. QB Dawson White and Keller Morey connected on three straight quick passes to the right side to set up first and 10 near the Wildcat 30. On the next down, Moore County called the exact same play but this time to the left to Will Baker for a seven yard completion. After a time out, White called his own number for the first down then threw to Morey again for eight quick yards. On second and two, White tucked and ran left for the Raider touchdown with just 20 second to play in the half. Peyton Martin — now kicking for the injured Blake Bradford — made the PAT to give Moore County a 21-13 halftime lead.

Eight minute Wildcat drive dominates third quarter

The first Wildcat possession of the third quarter took nearly eight minutes off the clock. The Wildcats used a combination of dive plays and pitches to the outside to piece together five first downs. In the red zone, Peyton Martin stuffed a QB option play to make it second and seven. Then, the Raider line stuffed Wayne County for a loss to make it third and goal at the 11. As the Wildcat QB dropped back to pass on the next play, sophomore Logan Cashion hit him hard as he released and the pass fell incomplete — bringing up fourth down. After a Wildcat time out, their QB completed a pass to the back of the end zone to a wide open receiver for the score. Looking to tie the game, the Wildcats went for two but a heads up play by Wes Clifton shut it down. With 3:55 to play in the third, Moore County led 21-19.

Dawson White returned the ensuing kick off to the 35 then connected with Will Baker on a 25 yard pass to earn a fresh set of down. Logan Hegwood then did the heavy lifting to earn three first downs and get Moore County down to the Wildcat five as time expired in the third.

Brown, Martin get key stops in the final seconds

It took Moore County exactly one fourth quarter play to earn their next six points. On first and 10 at the five yard line, Dawson White scrambled, looked left, and connected with Will Baker for the score. The PAT failed to make it Moore County 27, Wayne County 19.

Wayne County answered with the Wildcat QB calling his own number on four straight plays. He managed first and 10 at the 17 then scampered in for six points. Electing to tie the game again, Wayne County went for two but the Raider defense held when Peyton Martin sacked the QB on the attempt.

A series of flags, sacks, tackles for a loss, and other missteps left the Raiders fourth and 24 on the next possession — forcing a punt at the 7:45 mark.

Once again, the Raider defense bailed them out. They tackled the Wildcat QB on first and 10 and stopped him for no gain on the second down. On third and long, Dawson White wrapped the Wildcat runner again to make it fourth and five in four down territory. The Wildcat pitch to outside got close but Moore County tackled the runner short of the first down line and the Wildcats turned the ball over on downs with 5:07 to play.

Moore County put the nail in the Wildcat coffin on the next possession in a long, confusing series that included offsides, delay of game, and offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties as the two old rivals got a bit chippy. Runs by Logan Hegwood and completed passes to Will Baker set up second and three near the red zone with 2:13 to play. Dawson White then powered forward for the final score of the game. Peyton Martin’s PAT made it Moore County 34, Wayne County 25 with 1:58 to play.

The Wildcats made a run on their final possession and Moore County did their best to help them with not one but two unsportsmanlike penalties for 30 free yards. After a Raider time out, and we’re sure a few choice words fro Head Coach Kris White, Moore County forced a fourth and one but let the Wildcat QB power forward for a fresh set of downs in Raider territory with 30 second remaining .

On first and ten, Eli Brown stopped the Wildcat runner at the line of scrimmage for no gain then Peyton Martin got another key stop on second and 10 with 22 seconds to play. As time expired, the Raiders earned a crucial district win and advanced to 5-1.

Dawson White led for Moore County with three scores followed closely by Alex Copeland and Will Baker with a touchdown each. Isaiah Petty managed a two point conversion and Peyton Martin added three PATs.

On offense, Dawson White led in rushing yards with 125 rushing yards. Through the air, Logan Hegwood led with 72 yards followed by Will Baker with 60 yards. Keller Morey had four catches for 37 yards and Alex Copeland added three more.

On defense, Landon Smith led with 15 tackles followed by Bryson Carter with 12 tackles and Eli Brown with 10 tackles. Others making key stops were Dawson White (7), Wes Clifton (7), Peyton Martin(6), Logan Cashion (5), Dillon Sherrill (5), Alex Copeland (4), Isaiah Petty (3), Aydan Blair (2), Tripp Hammond (1), and Landon Brann (1). Martin also got a sack and Copeland also snagged an interception. Brown blocked a field goal.

Moore County enjoys a bye week this Friday followed by their fourth straight away game in Loretto on October 7. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently-owned, community newspaper located in Lynchburg, Tennessee the home of The Jack Daniel Distillery. We focus on public service, non-partisan, rural journalism. We cover the Metro Moore County government, local tourism, Moore County schools, high school sports, Motlow State Community College, as well as whiskey industry news and regional and state stories that affect our readers.}