RANKED RIVALRY: #6 Raiders take on #2 Fayetteville Tigers on Friday

Fayetteville play callers are likely to key in on Moore County’s option QB Dawson White (left) who leads the Raiders with 114 rushing yards per game but equally dangerous is junior running back Logan Hegwood (right) who averages nearly 128 all purpose yards per game. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

Not everyone watches the opposing team broadcasts after a Raider game, but we do. In the fourth quarter of last week’s Moore County at Forrest high school football game, the Rocket play-by-play guy made a prediction.

“I’m gonna be honest with you,” the Rocket announcer stated. “Fayetteville’s been a monster the last few years and I have not seen the Tigers play this season but after watching Moore County, the Tigers may have their hands full next week.”

In particular, the Forrest announcers were impressed with Moore County’s junior option quarterback Dawson White – even going so far as to suggest that he might be an early contender for a Class A Mr. Football nod.

Anyone who has watched Moore County film knows that QB #1 White is a dangerous, tenacious playmaker but he’s also got an arsenal of weapons at his disposal and simply keying in on him would be a Fayetteville misstep. Sure, he’s put up 114 rushing yards per game but coming in at a strong second would be running back Logan Hegwood, who also amasses over 128 all purpose yards per game. Also coming on strong in the last two games is junior running back Wes Clifton, who gained valuable yardage against Forrest.

The running game isn’t the only pathway to success for Moore County. Raiders receivers have developed hot hands over the past several games. Junior Keller Morey leads with 41 yards per game and two touchdowns on the year. Three other receivers, Isaiah Petty, Alex Copeland and Will Baker, have made clutch catches lately and will need steady hands on Friday.

Battle of the unbeatens

The two teams have clashed for the past several years for the top spot in Region 5A.

Both Moore County and Fayetteville will come into the game with perfect 4-0 records. Moore County beat Cascade 32-20 in the home opener and then knocked off Bledsoe County the following week 33-24. They notched their first district win with a 21-0 thrashing of Eagleville on September 2. 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 this week’s Associated Press Tennessee High School Football Poll.

To earn their perfect record, the Tigers beat Watertown 36-12 in their season opener and Lewis County 38-8 in their season home opener. Fayetteville travelled to Wayne County and managed a 56-12 victory on September 2 and beat Upperman in Baxter 29-6 last week. They currently sit at number two on the AP poll.

Moore County will need to play one of their best games so far this season and keep the mistakes to a minimum if they hope to beat a loaded Tigers team filled with experienced players. Many of this year’s Tiger roster have been playing and winning together since pee wee football. Last season, Fayetteville made it all the way to the quarterfinal round of the TSSAA state playoffs before losing 14-8 to McKenzie, the ultimate runner up. Moore County got knocked out in the first round last year – ironically to the same McKenzie team.

Of course, expectations are high down in Lincoln County, and the Raiders may have a shot at surprising the Tigers. To get the W, Moore County’s line – who are now missing two key players to injuries – will need to step up. Moore County play callers will also need an answer to Fayetteville always smothering defense. On average this season, they’ve allowed just 9.5 points per game.

In total, the Moore County Raiders and Fayetteville Tiger have played 10 total times with Fayetteville leading the series 6-4. Win or lose, tomorrow’s game will be southern, middle Tennessee Friday night lights at it’s finest. On the popular Coach T message boards this week, many referred to this weeks Raiders versus Tigers Class A match up as “the most entertaining game in the state this week.”

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Fayetteville City High School. The GPS address is 1800 Wilson Parkway in Fayetteville. If you can’t attend the game in person you can watch live video host by the Moore County Sports Network on the NFHS Network or listen to the game on The Lynchburg Times Raider Radio. •

{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.}