Gritty Raiders fall to Cornersville 35-14

Connor Partin throws a screen pass to Dawson White with two Bulldog defenders on their way. The Raiders gained all 280 yards of offense through the air last Friday, managing negative yards on the ground. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed Photography)

LOCAL SPORTS | Cornersville — Moore County travelled to Cornersville to take on the state-ranked Bulldogs in a Region 5A game last Friday. Despite the 35-14 loss, the gritty Raiders went into a hostile environment and managed to put more points on the vaunted Cornersville defense than any other team so far this season. Prior to the Raider game, the Bulldogs allowed an average of just five points per game. On September 10, #7 Clay County managed 12 points in their 38-12 loss to the Bulldogs.

The loss drops the Raiders record to 3-6 overall and 2-3 in Region 5A play. They currently sit tied for fourth place with Collinwood behind Fayetteville (8-1, 5-0), Cornersville (8-2, 5-1), and Eagleville (4-4, 3-2). According to TSSAA rules, the top four teams in each region qualify for the playoffs. Since Moore County beat Collinwood on October 15, a win in Huntland on Friday would snag the Raiders a playoff run.

Moore County scores on first possession

In Cornersville, Moore County won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball. After a kick off return to the 30 by Dawson White, the Raiders managed a five minutes series that ended in a Raider touchdown. Raider QB Connor Partin hit sophomore wide receiver Keller Morey for a 14 yard pass on the first play from scrimmage. Several plays later, Partin hit Morey over the middle again on third and 10 for a another fresh set of downs. On the next first and 10, White – with a little help from lineman Joseph Trice – lowered his head, pushed the pile, and gained nine more yards to set up second and one. Partin then called his own number and ran down the left hash to set up the Raiders first and goal at the nine yard line. On the next down, Partin rolled right and connected with Morey at the pylon for the first score of the game. Blake Bradford’s PAT gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 6:27 to play in the first quarter.

Cornersville then answered with it’s own sustained drive that ate up the rest of the first quarter. Led by back-up quarterback, Caden White, the Bulldogs took over first and 10 at around the 34 and proceeded to run 16 straight rushing plays for an eventual handoff on fourth and 10 for the Cornersville touchdown to tie the score at seven all with 11:12 to play in the second quarter.

Moore County could not get anything going on their next series and punted on fourth and nine. On the return, Cornersville got called for holding to make it first and 10 at the 19. They managed a couple of plays for chunk yardage before QB White fumbled the ball and the Raiders took over with great field position but couldn’t capitalize on the Bulldog miscue. They punted down around the 30 yard line. Then on the Bulldogs first down, White handed off to Ben Franklin who ran 73 yards for the score. With around eight minutes to play in the first half, the Bulldog led 14-7.

The first half ended with Cornersville leading the Raiders, 14-7.

Bulldogs pull away with 21 unanswered

Cornersville pulled away in the second half with 21 unanswered points. They got the ball first in the second half. They managed three first down before fumbling on second and seven. Moore County took over on the 32 yard line, then on second and goal at the 17 yard line, Partin connected with sophomore Alex Copeland for six Raiders points. Bradford’s PAT tied the score at 14-14 with 6:12 to play in the third quarter. The tie lasted less than a minute.

The Bulldog answered nearly immediately with hand off to Ben Franklin at the 42 yard line that ended in another Bulldog six points. Peyton Martin blocked the extra point to make the score 20-14 with 5:39 to play in the third quarter. Franklin scored again on their next possession to end the third quarter with a 28-14 edge.

Franklin would lower his shoulder an muscle free for his fourth touchdown of the night on the Bulldogs first possession of the fourth quarter. As the final stanza ground down, the Bulldog walked away with the 35-14 victory.

Raiders struggled on the ground

QB Conner Partin threw 15 or 34 on the night and put up 280 yards of offense. The Raiders experienced tough sledding in the running game. Dawson White led with seven carries for just 11 yards. Partin added four carries for five yards and Peyton Martin had a single carry for a single yard. After adjusting for negative plays, the Raiders were in the red on the ground. Through the air, Keller Morey led with eight receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown. Alex Copeland added 17 more yards and a Raider score. Will Baker and White added a catch each.

On defense, Dawson White led with 23 tackles including 15 solo tackles and an interception. Peyton Martin also managed double digit stops with 16 and Hayden Carter added another 12. Martin also got a blocked kick.

The Raiders will travel to Huntland on Friday for their final regular season game. A win would keep them in the playoff hunt. A loss would end their season. Kick off is at 7 p.m. The GPS address for Huntland High School is 400 Gore Street, Huntland, TN 37345. For those who can’t travel to the game, you can watch the Moore County Sports Network broadcast on the NFHS Network, listen live in the MCSN App, or watch the The Lynchburg Times Facebook page for live updates. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}