Raiders looking keep playoff bid alive against Huntingdon

Raider QB and Mr. Football semi finalist Kyler Parker celebrates as he runs for six points against Wayne County. (Photo Credit: Emily Black for the Moore County Sports Network)

HUNTINGDON — In post season play, the Raiders have been there and they’ve done that. But this year, the Raider playoff bid feels different and Friday night that road … like years before … goes through Carroll County.

The Moore County Raiders will travel tonight to take on the Region 6A Huntingdon Mustangs in a TSSAA Class 1A round two playoff game. The Raiders enter the contest with a 10-1 record. Their only loss of the season happened at Fayetteville in week five of the regular season.

The two teams are no strangers in post season play. Huntingdon put a stop to Moore County’s playoff bid in 2017 and again in 2018. On Friday, the Raiders will be looking for a little bit of revenge and to prove that they’ve got what it takes this year.

According to Coach White, the Mustangs play physical, smash mouth football and are known to be extremely physical up front. They also run the ball well.

“They are a sound football team,” Coach White says. “We’re gonna have to man up and stop them.”

The Mustangs are big and physical and they expect to be in the playoffs year after year.

Huntingdon enjoys a 9-2 overall records with losses against McKenzie and Milan in the regular season and a perfect Region 6A record. They beat Cornersville 48-8 to advance to the second round game against Moore County.

Stats against Wayne County

In last Friday’s playoff game against Wayne County at home, the Raiders put up 279 total yards of offense – 93 through the air and another 186 on the ground. Raider QB Kyler Parker threw five of eight for 63 percent. Tyler Smith led in both passing and rushing with 142 all purpose yards – three catches for 44 yards and six receptions for 98 yards. He also led the Raiders in scoring with three touchdowns. Chase Bradford was a perfect six of six on point after attempts.

Donavin Pearson led the Raiders on defense with 15 total tackles including eight solo tackles followed by Kaden White with 12 total tackles and an interception.

The 48-14 win over Wayne County gave Coach Kris White his first Moore County playoff victory.

“It was really gratifying but the biggest thing was to get to see these seniors reap the fruit of their labor,” said Coach White. “They believe in our coaching staff and they believe in each other. I’m just really happy for them because this will be their legacy.”

The Mustangs home field might present a bit of a culture shock to most Raider fans. It resembles a small junior college football stadium more than a rural high school football field and the Mustangs play on turf not natural grass. It’s a little more than three hours away for the Raiders, who will travel Friday on not one but three Moore County school buses due to COVID restrictions.

Seating will be limited to a third of the stadium’s total seating capacity, according to MCHS Athletic Director Josh Deal. Tickets will not be sold at the gate and are available only through the TSSAA website or the Go Fan app. According to Deal, tickets are still available. •

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

Raiders drop two spots, remain in AP Top 10

The Raiders were ranked #7 in this week’s AP High School Football Top 10. {File Photo}

SPORTS | After losing a close one in Lincoln County last Friday to the Fayetteville City Tigers (4-1), the Moore County Raiders (4-1) remain one of the top 10 Class 1A teams in the state, according to the Associated Press (AP). In the new AP Tennessee High School poll released on Monday, Moore County dropped two spots to number seven.

Fayetteville City – who beat the Raiders 28-22 in week five – rose one spot to number five. Fellow Region 5 team the Cornersville Bulldogs (4-1) moved down one spot to number nine. Number one South Pittsburg (5-0) and number two Lake County (2-0) continue to battle out for the top spot.

In Region 5A action, the Raiders (1-1) remained tied with Cornersville (1-1) for the third spot. Fayetteville City leads with a perfect record in region play followed by Richland (1-0). Both Huntland and Mount Pleasant remain winless in region play.

The Raiders play the fourth of four consecutive road games this Friday night in Eaglesville. According to Moore County Athletic Director Josh Deal tickets will be limited to this away game and will be offered to the families of players, managers, and cheerleaders first. All available tickets can be purchased through the MCHS front office. (Updated at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday: MC’s allotment of tickets is now sold out.) For more information, call 931-759-4231. •

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

Raiders face first test at Cornersville on Friday

The MCHS Raiders prepare for their first conference match up this week in Cornersville. The away game kicks off at 7 p.m. {Photo Courtesy of the Moore County Sports Network}

SPORTS — If you’ve been paying attention so far this season, you’ve noticed that new Head Coach Kris White is well on his way to creating a memorable season for his 2020 Raider team. He has managed to lure a host of athletes from other sports to play football. The MCHS roster is now packed with not only returning stars from last year but also starters from the basketball and baseball teams plus a class of freshman talent who won the state middle school championship last year.

Players are excited to play for Coach White and his assistants, TJ Christian, Manny Buchanan, Randy Morey, Wes Black, and Schuvaud Whitaker. In fact, just last week the Raiders added three new players: Noah Blankenship, Will Baker, and Landon Lavergne.

So far this season, MCHS has stacked up two early season non-conference home wins: a 15-0 victory over Cascade and a 41-8 shellacking of Community. On Friday, they travel to Cornersville for their first conference match up against a rival with a winning streak and an eye on the playoff.

The Bulldogs beat Community 36-6 at home on August 21 and glided past Eagleville 35-13 in Cornersville last week.

So what’s the trick to maintaining their winning streak?

The Raider spread offense has played smart, consistent football so far this year but the Bulldogs’ hard-hitting defense isn’t likely to just lay down. The Raiders will need execution on both the rushing and passing side of the offense to keep the Cornersville D on it’s heels.

Led by Bulldog left-handed QB Jackson Farler the Cornersville offense clicks on several fronts including tight end Eli Welch, who is both big and fast, as well as, Alex Hilliard, who ran for 106 yards against Community. They are helped by a O-line led by Brady Callahan and Cason Warner that does not yield.

Friday night’s game could end up being the battle of the safeties. Cornersville boast two ball hawks protecting it backfield. But Moore County boasts it’s own defensive weapons — the White brothers. Freshman free safety Dawson White and senior strong safety Kaden White have combined for 22 tackles and an interception through two games.

If they can keep the Raiders from being burning by the long pass, the defensive line led by Donavin Pearson (20 total tackles, 10 solo tackles) and Tyler Smith (17 total tackles, 8 solo tackles) can handle the inside run game, hopefully preventing the dynamic Cornersville offense from gaining momentum.

The Raiders played mistake football against Community with zero fumbles and zero interceptions. It’s a trend that will need to continue for the Raiders to come back to Lynchburg with a W on Friday night. Cornersville has won the past three straight match ups.

Coach White says that Cornersville will be returning numerous players including their QB and several defensive players.

“We’ll have to be able to stop the run,” he says. “Based on film through two games, they like to run the ball and do so almost 80 percent of the time,” he said.

Coach White also said that one of the keys to success will be for Moore County’s players not to get rattled by a loud away game.

“They have a DJ who plays music in between plays. It’s loud,” Coach White says. “It’s an awesome game atmosphere but one that can’t serve as a distraction.”

The game kicks off in Cornersville at 7 p.m. If you can’t travel to the game, it will be broadcast live on Raider Country 105.1 and 95.5 FM, on the NFHS Network, or The Lynchburg Times will post live score updates on our Facebook page.

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering 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.}

Raiders blank Cascade in season opener

The Raiders really wanted to give first year Coach Kris White his first W as the MCHS head coach and the boys in Columbia blue did just that with a shut out win in Lynchburg tonight over the Cascade Champions, 15-0.

With no preseason scrimmages, Raider fans knew the first couple of series might be a little bumpy and they were. Moore County fumbled on the third play from scrimmage to hand Cascade the ball.

The Champions didn’t do much with it — going a quick three and out and handing the ball over to the Raiders on downs.

With Raider QB Kyler Parker in control, Kaden White and Tyler Smith put together a first down before Parker completed a long pass to Brayden Cashion to put the Raiders on the board. Chase Bradford’s first PAT of the season connected to give the Raiders an early 7-0 lead with 6:43 remaining in the first.

Cascade managed a little momentum on the next series before Donavin Pearson got a big third and 10 stop. He forced a fumble but Cascade recovered only to punt on the next play.

On the next Raider series, first game missteps reared their head again. QB Parker put together a couple of long passes to Dawson White to get the Raiders third and goal. Moore County then fumbled the ball at the goal line with 20 seconds left in the first half.

One the next series, the Raiders crowded the end zone as Cascade played deep in their own territory and managed a safety to give them a 9-0 lead.

In the second quarter, the Raiders put together a first down effort with run plays by Tyler Smith and Dawson White before Parker hit a wide open Dylan Scruggs for a first down.

On the next play, a tipped pass found its way to Scrugg in the end zone to give the Raiders six more. With 9:59 remaining in the second quarter, the Raiders scored the final points of the night.

At the end of four, the Raiders snagged a home victory and its first W for Coach Kris White. The Raiders played disciplined football and clearly feel comfortable under their new head coach. Though the offensive sputtered in this first outing, the defense showed grit with smart tackles and never giving up on plays.

After the game, Coach White told The Times that he was really happy with the Raiders effort tonight.

“We knew we were gonna make mistakes and some things would be out of our control but the one thing we could control was effort. I felt like they did that,” he said.

The Raiders play at home again next Friday against Community. It will also be Senior Night. Kick off is at 7 p.m. •

Moore Friday night light is officially happening

Friday night lights will officially resume on August 21 with the Raiders home opener against Cascade. {File Photo}

Official word from Governor Bill Lee came down this week and Friday night lights will officially kick off on Friday, August 21 at Doug Price Field inside Raider Stadium with the home opener against Cascade. Governor Lee is expected to sign Executive Order 55 this week, which will include an exception to the contact sports restrictions for Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) schools.

“We appreciate being able to work with Governor Lee and his staff on this,” said TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress. “I am pleased that we were able to develop some very specific guidelines for every sport that will allow our kids to get out on their fields and fully participate in football and girls’ soccer this fall.”

All rules for contact sports issued by the TSSAA Board of Control on July 22 remain in effect. To read those rules, click here.

Coach Kris White began heat acclimatization practices with his team on July 20. Each players must complete two days of helmet only and three days of helmets and pads practice before moving on to full equipment practices.

The governor’s order should also mean that the Raider’s regular season will take place as originally scheduled with 10 regular season games and an open date. Region 5A playoffs should also kick off on November 6 as originally planned. State championship games would take place in Cookeville from December 3-5.

As stated in our July 22 article, the TSSAA has added multiple social distancing requirements including temperature checks and masks for fans.

For more news and updates concerning Raider Football, there are a couple of social media pages you should like including the new student-run Moore County Sports Network. Click here to like their Facebook page. •

{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.}

White returns to Lynchburg; this time as Raider head football coach

MOORE COUNTY — Moore County High School’s new coach is their former coach.

Director of Schools Chad Moorehead announced this week that former Raider assistant coach Kris White would be returning to Moore County to lead the 2020 team … but this time as their head coach.

“We are very excited to have Coach White back,” Director Moorehead told The Times. “Coach White has been a part of multiple state championship teams and we expect that he will continue to build on the strong football tradition in Moore County.”

Kris, who is a native of Murfreesboro, is married to Moore County native Holly Dickey White, an outstanding coach in her own right. She left an MCHS coaching position in 2009 after leading the Raiderettes to a state runner-up finish.

Kris graduated from Riverdale High School and then attended Middle Tennessee State University. He played as a student athlete at both schools. He started his coaching career at Riverdale High School before heading to Moore County. He left the Raiders in 2009 to take an assistant position with Oakland High School. He is leaving his current position at Knoxville Catholic High School to return to Moore County.

This will be his first head coaching position. In addition to his wife, Holly, he’ll be returning to Moore County with his two sons: Kaden age 18 (an incoming high school senior) and Dawson, age 15 (an incoming freshman).•

{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.}

Dobbs resigns as Raider head football coach

MOORE COUNTY — This week MCHS joined eight other Tennessee high schools who are now on the hunt for a new head football. Jason Dobbs announced he’s leaving Lynchburg to return Murfreesboro.

Dobbs coached the Moore County varsity team for the past four year and led the Raiders to a 22-21 overall record. His Raider teams also made it to the TSSAA Class 1-A playoffs in 2017 and 2018. Last year Moore County finished with a 5-5 overall record and barely missed a playoff opportunity with an ugly season-ending game at Mount Pleasant. {Click here to read our coverage of that game.}

Dobbs is leaving Moore County to join coaching buddy, Oakland Head Coach Kevin Creasy. Dobbs will join Oakland as an assistant coach. Dobbs and Creasy coached together at Trousdale County from 2005-09. Dobbs also coached at Riverdale for six seasons.

When we reached out for comment, Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead said, “We hate that Coach Dobbs is leaving. I have confidence that the high school administration will find a coach that will continue to build on a strong football tradition for our school. I wish Coach Dobbs and his sons well on their football careers. Moore County will be following them closely because once you are a Raider, you are always a Raider.”

According to Director Moorehead, the search for Coach Dobb’s replacement is underway.

According to the website TN High School Football, seven other schools are currently also looking for a head coach: Austin East, Fayette Ware, Sycamore, Whites Creek, The Webb School, West Grene, and Whitwell. •

{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.}

Raider, Mount Pleasant Preview: Potential playoff situation complicated

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — The Moore County Raiders (5-4 overall) head to Mount Pleasant (7-2 overall) on Friday for a crucial district game. Their Region 5A records? Well, that gets a little complicated.

Richland beat Moore County on October 24, 20-14. Mount Pleasant beat Richland 40-14 on September 6. The top four teams are invited into post season play. Fayetteville City is also appealing the TSSAA decision to deem a play ineligible. With so many variables in play, the Raiders need a decisive away victory to keep post season play alive.

Raider defense needs to give offense a chance to win

Looking at the teams rosters and stats for the season, the question seems to be: can the Moore County Raider defense slow down the Mount Pleasant offense to give the Raider offense a chance to win? The Tigers hold the edge on offensive numbers with both more rushing and passing yard totals. But Moore County boasts more numbers in tackles and sacks.

The Raiders will need offensive yardage leaders Tyler Smith, Kyler Parker, and Dylan Scruggs to take care of the football especially in the red zone. As in the last two previous games, QB Brayden Cashion will likely need to call his own number in crucial third down situations.

The Raider defense led by Tyler Smith, Donavin Pearson, Bryson Dobbs, Zac Carawan, Hayden Carter, and Tyler Sanders will need to continue to play smart, aggressive football. In particular, they’ll need to get a handle on Tiger running backs Keshawn Hudson (657 yards) and AJ Busby (500 yards) who have combined for over 1,100 rushing yards. Hudson’s also caught passes for over 300 yards through the air. He’s scored 15 times this season.

The game will take place at Mount Pleasant High School, which is located at 600 North Greenwood Street. Kick off is at 7 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the game, there are a couple of ways to follow the action. Every game night, Whiskey Country radio transforms into Raider Country with play-by-play action from Joe Abraham and Al Clark as well as sideline reporting from Kelli Ray. Tune in locally on 95.9 or 105.1 FM. You can also watch a live broadcast on the NFHS Network. And, of course, The Lynchburg Times will post score updated on social media throughout the game.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering 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.}

Raider Recap: Richland loss puts playoff berth in jeopardy

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — Though both Moore County juniors Kyler Parker and Raider punter Bryson Dobbs had huge nights on Thursday, it wasn’t enough to get the Raiders a crucial regional road win in Lynnville. Moore County lost to Richland 20-14 in a sluggish battle being played a day early due to serve weather concerns.

The Blue Raiders headed into the game controlling their own destiny, securely in third place in Region 5 after last week’s home victory against Huntland. But the Raider’s loss at Richalnd plus Huntland’s surprising 35-7 win over Cornersville that same night have the Raiders post-season play looking uncertain. Now the Raiders must not only beat Region 5 opponent Mt. Pleasant next Friday but also hope Richland can defeat Huntland to keep the post season hopes alive.

Sluggish first half

The Raiders traded two sets of possessions before either made it into the red zone. With 5:30 remaining in the second half, Coach Dobbs switched into a spread offense. This allowed Tyler Smith to get two big runs and a first down. Then quarterback Brayden Cashion called his number to get a second first down. With time quickly expiring, Parker got crucial rushing yardage to the 25 yard line to get Smith in position to break into the red zone.

On first and goal, Parker scrambled in and scored on the first play of the second quarter. Chase Bradford’s PAT gave the Moore County Raiders a 7-0 lead. Richland answered on their next drive to make the score 7-7 with a little over six minutes to play in the first half.

Momentum then started to slowly shift Richland’s way. Moore County went three and out and Coach Dobb’s decided to play for field position. Bryson Dobb’s punt went deep into Richland territory and took a Moore County roll. A few plays later, Richland executed a fake punt on fourth down to keep the series alive. But the Raider defense held. Both sets of Raiders went into the locker room tied at 7-7.

Smith hits 1,000 yard mark

During halftime, Huntland led Cornersville. With the ante now upped, the Blue Raiders would need sustained drives and solid defense to get the W. The two teams again traded possession with each offensive and defensive line battling it out in the trenches. With a little under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Richland earned first and goal before scoring on a fullback dive into the end zone to give them the 14-7 edge.

Moore County answered on the very next series. Parker and Cashion put together two first downs to get the Raiders around midfield as time expired. As the drive continued in the fourth quarter, Cashion threw a deep ball to Parker to snag another first down. Smith then ran along the edge to get Moore County in the red zone … setting up Cashion for a QB keeper score. Bradford’s PAT was good to tie the ballgame, 14-14.

The two teams then entered into a defensive stalemate, trading possessions and punts. Raider punter Dobbs kept Moore County in the game by helping them win the battle for field position. With 5:43 remaining, Richland’s Montel Bobbitt broke free for a 50 yard run into the end zone. Hayden Carter then blocked the PAT to give Moore County a shot at a game-winning drive.

The Blue Raiders kept possession for the final four minutes of the game with a sustained drive that allowed Tyler Smith to hit the 1,000 yard mark but wasn’t enough to win the game. Moore County lost 20-14.

Next week, they’ll head to Mount Pleasant (5-3 overall, 1-3 district) for a must-win game if they hope to keep post season play dreams alive. Senior Tiger QB Hayden Lovely’s putting up solid numbers this season with 637 yards and nine passing touchdowns and three rushing scores. On the rushing side, the Raiders will need to contend with a couple of effective Tigers. Senior Keshawn Hudson’s racked up seven rushing TDs including one 95-yard run and seven receiving scores. Fellow seniors AJ Busby and Markayne Foster have combined for over 1,500 all purpose yards. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering 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.}

Raiders win a sloppy one at Jo Byrns

CEDAR HILL — The plan for the night was simple. Travel to Cedar Hill and get a non-conference solid win against Jo Byrns without suffering additional injuries. Coach Dobbs wanted to focus on protecting the football and finishing tackles before heading into a “murders row” of conference games against Huntland, Richland, and Mount Pleasant to end the regular season. And then the rain started.

The (2-4, 1-3) Raiders got the win 34-7 win over the Red Devils … but it was ugly.

On their very first possession on a soggy field with light rain still pouring down, the Raiders fumbled in the red zone. Three plays later, Jo Byrns returned the favor when they bumbled the snap on a first down. Dylan Scruggs recovered the ball and Tyler Smith ran it 40 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Chase Bradford’s PAT was good to make it Raiders 7, Red Devils 0.

Two series, two turnovers.

Hayden Carter and Raider Center Zach Carawan then got two huge stops to force a Red Devil punt.

On the very next Raider first and ten, Tyler Smith ran 84 yards for another six. Chase Bradford’s PAT sailed through the upright to make the score Raiders 14, Red Devils 0 at the end of the first quarter.

The temperatures then began to drop in Cedar Hill. At kickoff, the temp hovered near 80. By the beginning of the second quarter, it approached the mid-fifties and started raining again … both actual raindrops and turnovers.

The Raiders fumbled right out of the gate and the Red Devils recovered. But as the radio broadcaster said, “Cedar Hill just doesn’t want to accept our Christmas presents,” and the Red Devils went three and out.

Two series later, Tyler Smith and Kyler Parker combined to get the Raiders into the red zone. On first and five from the 13, Parker punched it in for a touchdown to make it Raiders 20, Red Devils 0. The PAT was no good. It was Chase Bradford’s second miss of the regular season.

After halftime, the Red Devils fumbled again on their opening series. This time, Donivan Pearson scooped and scored. Bradford added the extra point to give the Raiders a 27-0 lead. Jo Byrns finally got on the board on their next series to make it 27-7.

After the score, Jo Byrns attempted an on sides kick but it was sniffed out by Hayden Carter. Tyler Smith then got a huge upfield block by Landon Jolley to make it into the red zone. Smith and Kyler Parker then got consecutive gains before Smith got his third score of the night. Bradford’s PAT was good to make the final score 34-7.

In the fourth quarter, Raider Head Coach Dobbs began substituting heavily to give younger players some reps. The Raiders will need the depth for the last half of the season.

The Raiders improved their season record to 3-4 while the Red Devils dropped to 1-7. •