Raiders play home opener against Forrest on Friday

Raiders play home opener against Forrest on Friday
The Moore County Raiders will play their home opener against the Forrest Rockets on Friday night in Lynchburg. Kick off at Doug Price Field will be at 7 p.m. (Graphic Courtesy of Jeff Reed Photography)

LOCAL SPORTS NEWS | Lynchburg — The upside of a loss is that it offers coachable moments. That’s the silver lining message from Raider Head Coach Kris White who says his resilient good guys in Columbia blue have worked hard this week to prepare for the home opener against Forrest.

“They came in and watched two hours or film on Sunday,” says Coach White. “Then, they were back out here for practice on Labor Day. The is a young team but they are buying in. Teaching young player in a process.”

The Moore County High School Raiders will square off with the Forrest Rockets on Friday in Lynchburg at Doug Price Field. The Raiders come into the match up with a 1-2 record and tied for fourth place in Class 1A, Region 5. They lost at Cascade in Week 1 and Eagleville in Week 3. Bledsoe County forfeited their Week 2 match up against the Raiders due to COVID concerns. Forrest enters Doug Price Field with a 2-1 Class 2A, Region 5 record after wins at Eagleville and Loretto and a 16-6 loss to Cornersville.

Last September the Raiders got a scary, sloppy 35-14 loss over Forrest in a game that saw the Rockets commit five turnovers. It was a night that forever changed one Rocket football player’s life. With less than four minutes to play in the third quarter, the Raiders recovered a fumble. On the next play, Raider quarterback Kyler Parker threw to Joshua Parks and he took a big, head-leading hit from Rocket defender Micah McClendon. After the play, McClendon remained on the ground unmoving and paramedics eventually transported him from the field and into an awaiting ambulance. The hit broke his C-4 vertebrae and fractured his C-5 leaving Micah paralyzed from the chest down. {To read our complete coverage of that game, click here.}

Raider fans followed his journey to recovery online and McCLendon’s family became friends with many Raider fans over the weeks that followed. Raider fans should look for him on Friday night in his motorized wheelchair as the junior remains part of the Forrest team and shows up on Friday nights on the Rockets sidelines to support his teammates.

Raiders looking to produce more offense

The Raiders have only managed two offensive touchdowns and 21 points total through the first three games. Coach White says Moore County will give senior Connor Partin the start against Forrest on Friday. Sophomore Keller Morey who got the start against Cascade and Eagleville will move into the receiver position on offense against the Rockets. Morey currently leads the Raider receivers with two catches for 52 total yards.

Multiple players out with injuries

The Raiders will likely need to move several players around as Moore County finds themselves a little short staffed with injuries. Two starters – freshman Aidan Blair and junior Isaiah Petty – are both out with an ankle injuries. Freshman Landon Smith will also be sidelined following finger surgery. Coach White says we’ve had multiple players out this week with strep throat. The Raiders continue to dodge the COVID-issues that have plagued some high school football teams in the area.

“We’re kind of the walking wounded this week,” Coach White said. “But COVID really hasn’t hit us. If kids get quarantined, it’s usually been because of family members. We’ve been fortunate.”

Forrest plays physical and aggressive up front

Coach White says that the Rockets are a physical team that play aggressive up front on both offense and defense. Coached by Eli Stephenson, the Rockets run a Wing T offense and will look to run first.

“They are a physical ball club and they get after you up front on both sides of the ball,” says Coach White. “They’ve got a nose guard that most people would consider undersized but he’ll get after you.”

Forrest hasn’t produced a lot of offense this year either – scoring just 14 points in their win against Eagleville and touchdown each in their games against Cornersville and Loretto. If Partin can come in and give the Raiders a spark, they may just walk away with a W. They’ll also need to keep an eye on Forrest’s Tayton Swift. Sports writers have been tossing around the senior running back’s name as a Class 2A Mr. Football candidate.

Friday night kick off will take place at 7 p.m. There will be a special veteran’s recognition prior to kick off. The 2020-21 Raider Baseball State Runner Up team will also be recognized at halftime. If you can’t attend the game, you can watch live on the NFHS Network, listen live in the Moore County Sports Network app, or follow The Lynchburg Times Facebook page for live score updates. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. 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.}