PUNCH, COUNTER PUNCH: Tigers outlast Raiders in 46-34 loss

Dawson White (left) and Logan Hegwood (right) combined for nearly 400 total yards in the Raiders 46-34 loss at Fayetteville. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. — The number six Moore County Raiders gave the number two Fayetteville Tiger all they wanted Friday night in Lincoln County, but in the end a couple of missteps cost the Raiders their upset win. It was a gritty, physical affair that saw multiple Moore County injuries and a plethora of personal fouls and unsportsmanlike calls on the Tiger side of the ball.

Both Moore County and Fayetteville entered the game with perfect 4-0 records. Last week, Moore County traveled to Chapel Hill and handed the ranked Forrest Rockets a 46-21 loss. The win catapulted the Raiders into the number six spot in last week’s Associated Press Tennessee High School Football Poll. Fayetteville sat in the number two spot in the AP poll leading up to the game.

Tigers lead 24-14 at the half

The Raiders and Tigers paced each other in the first quarter. Moore County got on the boards first with a fourth and goal scramble into the end zone from Dawson White. Logan Hegwood, White, Wes Clifton, and Will Baker all earned valuable yardage to keep the eight minute drive alive. With 4:09 to play in the first quarter, Moore County led 7-0.

The Tigers returned the ensuing kick off to their own 43, then ran left for two first downs. On second and six, a Tiger snuck through the middle of the Raider defense for the touchdown. The two point conversion gave them a one-point lead. The quarter ended with Dawson White converting a fake punt on fourth down to keep the Raider drive alive.

Alex Copeland, Wes Clifton, and Dawson White then earned first downs to set up a White to Keller Morey pass to make it first and goal. On the next down, White threw again – this time to Will Baker – for the Raider touchdown. Blake Bradford’s PAT gave Moore County back the lead, 14-7 with 7:59 to play in the half.

The Tigers punted on their next offensive possession and then a couple of Moore County misstep handed the Tigers a chance at the halftime lead. Dawson White returned the kick off return all the way to the goal line then a Tiger defender broke through the Raider line for the sack on the next play. White then threw a pick six on the next down – handing Fayetteville back a 16-14 lead with 5:25 to play in the half.

Following the kick off return, the Raiders fumbled on their next down, handing the Tigers a fresh set of downs at their own 35. Two first downs later, the Tigers scampered up the middle for six points and made the two point conversion to give them the 24-14 lead headed into the locker room.

Raiders pull within four in the second half

The Tigers built a 12 point lead in the third quarter. Moore County forced a punt on the Tigers first possession. On the next Raider possession, they strung together three first downs before Dawson White ran it up the gut for six points. The two point conversion failed – pulling the Raiders back within four points, Fayetteville 24, Moore County 20 with 4:36 to play in the third.

The Tiger defense scored on the next series to make it Fayetteville 32, Moore County 20 with 1:29 to play in the third. Logan Hegwood powered forward to get Moore County within scoring distance as the third quarter expired. Two first and goal plays later, Dawson White ran in for the Raider touchdown to pull Moore County back within four points with 10:32 remaining.

The Tigers answered on their next drive despite the two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to pull ahead 40-28.

In their last Rocky Balboa attempt at a victory, the gritty and now banged up Raiders put together three first downs with positive yardage from Dawson White, Isaiah Petty, and Alex Copeland to earn first and goal. Then White ran it up the gut for six points. The two point conversion failed to make it Raiders 34, Tigers 40.

The Tigers managed one more score at the 1:29 for the final 46-34 score.

After the game, Raider Head Coach Kris White told his team he felt proud of their effort.

“We didn’t execute. That’s what got us beat,” he told his players. “You guys got punched and you punched back. You earned their respect tonight. Lack of execution on both sides of the ball is what got us beat. But we’re gonna learn more from this loss than if we’d have won it and you’re likely gonna see them again.”

Dawson White leads for the Raiders

Raider QB Dawson White led for Moore County with four touchdowns. He put up 161 passing yards and another 146 yards on the ground. Will Baker scored the only other touchdown of the night. Wes Clifton added a Raider two point conversion and Blake Bradford managed two of two PATs.

White led in rushing yards with 146 followed by Logan Hegwood with 39. Wes Clifton added four yards. Alex Copeland led in receiving yards with 52 followed closely by Hegwood with 47. Other Raiders with catches include Keller Morey (34), Will Baker (15), Isaiah Petty (12) and Will Parker (1).

On defense, Wes Clifton and Peyton Martin led with eight tackles each. Landon Smith followed closely with seven tackles. Other defenders earning tackles were: Bryson Carter (5), Logan Cashion (5), Isaiah Petty (4) Landon Brann (4), Eli Brown (3), Dawson White (2), Tripp Hammond (2), Dillon Sherrill (2), Alex Copeland (1) and Will Parker (1). White also managed an interception and Hegwood forced an offensive fumble.

Moore County moves on to the third of five straight away games this Friday when they travel to Wayne County for a district match up. The Raiders and Wildcats enter the game with a 4-1 record with wins over Hickman County (31-13), Summertown ( 14-7), Loretto (33-23), and Huntland (40-14) as well as a 56-12 loss to Fayetteville. •

{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.}