Raiders look to remain perfect against Forrest on Friday

Raiders running back Logan Hegwood jumps over the pile against Huntland on October 13.
Senior Raider running back Logan Hegwood jumps over the pile for a touchdown against Huntland last Friday night. Moore County moves on to a non-district game at Chapel Hill this week. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

CHAPEL HILL, Tenn. — On Friday, the Raiders clinched the Region 5A crown with a 49-7 win over Huntland. In that game, Raiders senior option QB Dawson White and senior running back Logan Hegwood – or as we like to call them Thunder & Lightening – combined for four touchdowns. On defense, junior middle linebacker Peyton Martin played a breakout game. He was the the lone double-digit tackler in the contest and made crucial stops for Moore County. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.}

The win may have secured the region top spot but the state media seems to continue to see the Raiders as an underdog in the state rankings. In the Week 9 Class 1A Associated Press poll, Moore County sits stalled at number three behind South Pittsburg and Dresden despite the fact that no team’s gotten closer than 17 points to the Raiders all season. That honor belongs to Class 5A Franklin County who lost to Moore County 41-24 in Lynchburg.

But the Pirates and Lions are also playing well.

South Pittsburg blasted Chattanooga Prep 41-14 on Friday night in Chattanooga – scoring all 41 points in the first half. State track star and senior running back Logan Hargis scored a 90-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff to set the tone for the Pirates. They move on to Sales Creek (6-2) this Friday night. That match up will be a slug fest as there is no love lost between these two teams.

The Dresden Lions enjoyed a bye week on October 13 but put a 62-12 beat down at South Fulton on October 6. Earlier this season, the Lions ended the McKenzie Rebel’s 16-game win streak with a 42-14 victory in McKenzie. The 2022 Class 1A State Champions haven’t lost a game since.

South Pittsburg, Dresden, and Moore County all remain unbeaten.

Raiders play at Chapel Hill on Friday

This week, Moore County will travel to Chapel Hill for their last regular season road game against the Forrest Rockets (4-4). The Rockets will face the Raiders fresh off a 21-12 loss to Marion County in Chapel Hill.

The Raiders beat the Rockets 46-21 in Chapel Hill last season. In that game, Raider QB Dawson White scored five touchdowns over the ranked Rockets. The Rockets faced an impossible decision that night. Key inside on Moore County’s White and get burned on the edges or spread the defense to stop elusive Raider running back Hegwood and leave the middle open. {To read our coverage f last year’s game, click here.}

So what do the Raiders need to do to secure the W on Friday night? Continue to do what they are doing.

Moore County came into the Huntland game laser-focus on Friday, but that’s easy to do against your lifelong rivals. The Raiders will need to keep up that same intensity in Chapel Hill. On offense, they’ll need to take care of the football. Moore County allowed two turnovers against the Hornets. On the season, they’ve allowed four fumbles and another four interceptions. If they want to enjoy a successful state playoff run, they’ll need to protect the football.

On defense, the Raiders need to keep that not-on-my-watch mentality going. Against Huntland, Moore County allowed just 36 yards rushing and another 30 through the air. A stingy Raider D will certainly be necessary down the stretch – especially when they eventually face off with another high octane offense.

They also need to embrace their underdog status. Everyone enjoys a David and Goliath-inspired story – especially in high school sports. The state media may not be giving the Raiders the love, but the home crowd is 100 percent behind them. More importantly, this year’s Raider’s team seems to have each other’s collective Columbia blue backs. That’s an elusive X factor that can lead to a state championship title.

The Raiders at Forrest game will tip off in Chapel Hill at 7 p.m. on Friday night. If you can’t travel with the team, the Moore County Sports Network will broadcast the game live on the NFHS NetworkThe Times will also post live score updates on our Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is a nonpartisan, independent community newspaper serving Lynchburg, Tennessee and the surrounding counties. We are dedicated to public service journalism for the greater good of our community. You can support us, by clicking here.}