Raiders sting Huntland with 35-7 win

Senior Isaiah Petty (#81) outruns a Hornet defender to the end zone on Thursday in Lynchburg while Will Parker (#15) looks to block. Petty scored a touchdown, successfully defended two touchdown passes, and blocked a punt against Huntland. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Reed)

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — The Moore County Raiders (8-1) beat Huntland (2-7) for the fourth straight year Thursday night in Lynchburg. The last time the Hornets bested the Raiders happened in 2018 when the Raiders suffered a 34-19 loss in Franklin County to a top-ranked Huntland team. Thursday’s game played out like your typical rivalry game with lots of extracurricular activities happening on the field including multiple personal fouls, unsportsmanlike calls, and at least one “colorful” hand gesture

Thunder and Lightening strikes in first quarter

Moore County’s “Thunder and Lightening” – Raider option QB Dawson White and running back Logan Hegwood – put up 14 early first quarter points for Moore County.

The Raiders got on the board on their very first possession – an 11 play drive that ate up nearly five minutes off the game clock. Hegwood returned the opening kick off to near midfield then White completed passes to Alex Copeland, Will Baker, Isaiah Petty, and Keller Morey to earn four first downs. Then, on first and four, White fumbled the snap near the goal line but recovered. On the next down, he scrambled to the left pylon for the Raider’s first six points. Raider kicker Blake Bradford made the PAT to give Moore County an early 7-0 lead.

Huntland failed to get much going on their first possession. On first and 10, Moore County gave up five yards on an offsides penalty to hand the Hornets short yardage but their first pass fell incomplete. On the next down, Landon Jolley tackled the running back in the back field to make it third and 20. The Hornet QB overthrew his receiver on the next down and Huntland punted with 5:55 to play in the first quarter.

Moore County got their first turnover of the game on their next series when White completed a pass to Copeland but a Hornet stripped the ball as he ran for positive yardage. The Hornets gained seven yards on the next play but a Huntland block in the back turned their second and three to a second and 16. Raider Isaiah Petty swatted down the next Hornet pass before it could reach its intended receiver to make it third and 16. A Hail Mary pass fell to the ground on the next down – forcing Huntland to punt.

White returned the punt to the 18 yard line and then – taking a page from his game against Cornersville in which he scored three touchdowns on a first down play – Hegwood tucked the hand off on first and 10 and ran straight to the end zone. Bradford’s sucessful PAT made it 14-0 with 1:58 to play in the first half.

Huntland went three and out on the next series thanks in part to heads up defensive plays by Wes Clifton, Isaiah Petty, and Ayden Blair. The first quarter ended with Moore County driving near the goal line.

Turnovers plague Raiders in second quarter

Moore County suffered their third turnover of the game on the first play of the second quarter when White fumbled near the goal line and Huntland recovered. Two heads up plays by Raider defensive end Eli Brown kept them from turning the Moore County mistake into points and they punted on fourth and 10.

On their next series, the Raiders fumbled again. This time Hegwood coughed up the ball on a second and six play near the goal line. The Raider defense couldn’t bail out their offense this time and Huntland scored on a long pass to #9 Eli Wiggs for their first points of the night. With 4:24 to play in the first half, the Hornets cut the Moore County lead in half, 14-7.

Hegwood attempted to make up his losses on the next series. He returned the kick off to near the 40 yard line and got hit hard after the play on the Raider sideline prompting a personal foul for a late hit. White completed a first down pass to Baker on the next play then handed off to Hegwood who found the left edge for six more Raiders points. Bradford’s PAT gave the Raiders a 21-7 lead.

The Hornets managed third and two on their next series then an offsides call pushed it back to third and seven. On the next down, lineman Landon Jolley squashed the hand off before it could get started forcing a Hornet punt. Raider Keller Morey returned the punt to the 30 yard line to give Moore County a fresh set of downs with 3:16 to play in the half.

On first down, QB White hit a wide open Will Baker in stride for another first down. White then called his own number twice for short yardage before handing off to Hegwood on third and five. The Raider running back ran it down to the 11 yard line. White’s next pass fell incomplete and the Hornets sacked him on second and 10. Undaunted, he found Isaiah Petty in the end zone on third and 15 for six more points. Bradford’s PAT sent Moore County into the half time locker room with a 28-7 lead.

Back ups get valuable reps in second half

Huntland got a little offensive momentum going in the third quarter – managing a couple of first downs on their first series after the break. Stops by Eli Brown and Peyton Martin forced the punt, then Isaiah Petty blocked the kick to give the Raiders back the ball with great field position. QB White converted on the first down and watched his pass nearly get intercepted on the next down. On second and 10, he handed off to Hegwood who scramble to the left edge for six more Raider points. Bradford’s PAT made in Moore County 35, Huntland 7.

Part of making a successful playoffs run is depth and to acquire depth, your back ups need game reps. Following the score, Raider Head Coach Kris White substituted heavily – pulling QB White and sending in Morey to run the offense. Though they didn’t manage points, many Raider back ups earned valuable reps including Will Parker, Cole Taylor, and Landon Brann.

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter. At the final buzzer, and in front of a home crowd that didn’t leave early despite the cold temperatures and comfortable lead, the Moore County Raiders earned bragging rights for the next 364 days with a 35-7 victory over Huntland.

Logan Hegwood led for the Raiders on Thursday with three touchdowns. QB White and Isaiah Petty added a touchdown each. Raider kicker Blake Bradford was a perfect four for four on the night. {Editor’s Note: We’ll add complete stats once they are available.)

The loss drops Huntland to a 2-8 overall record and 0-6 in Region 5A play – essentially ending their season. Moore County ended their regular season 9-1 and in second place in district play with a 5-1 record. As one of the top two Region 5A teams, they earned a home game for the first round of the Class 1A playoff. Though Friday night’s game will need to be played before the bracket is set, the Region 6A third place team, Gleason (5-4, 3-2), will be the most likely opponent. They play Hollow South Fulton tonight. Should they fail to beat the 4-5 Red Devils then the McEwen (6-3, 3-2) Warriors would travel to Lynchburg. •

{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.}