Raiders travel to Wayne County for district rivalry game on Friday

Last Friday, the Fayetteville Tigers keyed in on Raider option QB Dawson White. Despite their attempts to shut him down, the junior mounted 146 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the 46-34 loss. The 12 point margin is as close as anyone’s gotten this season to toppling the current Region 5A leader. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

WAYNE COUNTY, Tenn. — When most people think of Moore County football rivalries, many harken the storied shared history of the Huntland Hornets or the modern day match ups with the Fayetteville Tigers but once upon a time, Raider coaches circled the game against the Wayne County Wildcats as the key to the Region 5A crown.

It’s a series that’s pretty evenly matched. Since the rivalry began in the late 1950s, the Raiders and Wildcats have met under the Friday night lights a total of 38 times with Moore County earning the W 19 times and the Wildcats taking the victory 19 times.

The game harkens back to the glory days of Tennessee high school football, when Channel 4 sports report Rudy Kalis could be seen stalking the sidelines gathering clips for the 10 p.m. news cast. TSSAA renewed the series in 2021 with the regional realignment. Moore County won the first game of the renewed rivalry last year 26-13.

The two teams come into Friday’s game tied for second place in the Region 5 standing with a 1-1 district record behind Cornersville and Fayetteville, who are currently tied for first place. Both lost to the Fayetteville Tigers earlier in the season. Moore County lost to the Tigers last Friday night by a final score of 46-34 and the Tigers downed the Wildcats 56-12 on September 2.

Moore County comes into the game a little banged up. There were a total of five unsportsmanlike like conduct penalties against Fayetteville last Friday and multiple Raiders exited the playing field with injuries.

One key to a Raider victory will be a balanced run, pass ratio. With over 100 yards per game, Wildcat play callers are sure to key in on Raider option quarterback Dawson White but he’s got multiple weapons at his disposable including running Logan Hegwood, whose been his go-to running back so far this season.

Through the air, both Keller Morey, Logan Hegwood, and Alex Copeland average over 30 yards per game. Copeland in particular notched several clutch catches over the past few games.

On the defensive side of the ball, Peyton Martin, who moved to the line after a series of injuries early in the season, leads the Raiders in tackles with 51 tackles including 31 solo tackles. Raider coaches also depend on Landon Smith and Wes Clifton to make key stops in short yardage situations. Martin and Blake Bradford tie for total sacks on the season so far this season.

If you plan to attend the game on Friday, Wayne County High School is located 78 miles from Lynchburg in Waynesboro — about an hour and half drive. The GPS address is 707 South Main, Waynesboro TN 38485. The Moore County Sports Network student broadcasting team will also cover the game. You can watch on the NFHS Network or listen on The Lynchburg Times Raider Radio station for free. •

{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.}