MC History: The Raider, Huntland Rivalry

{Editor’s Note: The annual Moore County versus Huntland rivalry game will be played on Friday in Huntland at 7 p.m.}

Make the mistake of saying native son Johnny Majors is from Huntland and any local will be quick to correct you. It’s a fact that the former UT football coach lived most of his early life in and is “from” Lynchburg … we don’t care what the UT media guides used to say. In fact, Majors Boulevard in Lynchburg pays tribute to the Majors family and their contributions to Moore County.

Johnny was born in 1935 to Shirley Inman and John Elizabeth Bobo Majors in Lynchburg. Shirley Majors played football at Moore County High School before coaching there from 1944-47. He left to restart the football program at Huntland High School. At the time, they hadn’t fielded a team in 20 years. He commuted each day from Moore County to Franklin County so that his children could continue to attend Moore County Schools. But that all came to an end one chilly fall night when Johnny and the MCHS Raiders beat his father’s Huntland Hornets 18-13 in the last regular season game.

Johnny Majors eighth grade yearbook picture … note the Lynchburg, TN. {Historical Photo}

“That’s the last dad-blamed time a son of mine plays against me,” he said, according to the State Archives.

After that, Shirley Majors packed up the family and moved to Huntland where Johnny finished his high school football career. It’s the genesis of an intense rivalry that remains today.

Over the years there have been lots of good-natured hi-jinx. Someone from the Huntland side once sent a black floral wreath to the Raiders prior to game day, according to former MCHS Cafeteria Manager Norma Stone.

Another local legend states the in 1993-94 a crew from Huntland supposedly snuck into Moore County and tagged local speed limit signs with a large “H” from MCHS to Huntland High School. “Occasionally, I will still see a sign with it still on there,” said native Christy Anderson.

Currently, the Raiders and the Hornets are neck and neck in Region 5A standings and each enjoys a 1-1 district record. The winner will likely move to the second spot behind Fayetteville City.

Kick off is at 7 p.m. If you can’t attend the game, it will be broadcast live on Raider Country 105.1 and 95.5 FM with Joe Abraham and the Moore County Sports Network, on the NFHS Network, or The Lynchburg Times will post live score updates on our Facebook page. •

{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 battle for 22-12 home win over rival Hornets

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — Mark Twain once said, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” The Moore County High School (MCHS) Raiders epitomized this idea on Friday night with a 22-12 home victory over rivals Huntland Hornets.

With Huntland running back Cameron Reed approaching 1,000 all purpose yards on offense and tackle Garrett Jernigan creeping up on 100 solo tackles, the Hornets were formidable foes with daunting stand outs. Throw in the unpredictable nature of rivalry games, and the Raiders anticipated tough sledging.

But it turns out that the Raiders possessed a few superlatives of their own, a coaching staff with an excellent game plan, and tenacity. Tyler Smith, Brayden Cashion, and Kyler Parker refused to quit on offense and the Raider D let by Zac Carawan and Donavin Pearson got crucial stops when necessary, despite the fact that both of Huntland’s star rushers (Cameron Reed and Kolbi Stewart) put over 100 yards each on MCHS.

In front of a huge home crowd at Doug Price Field, the Raiders won the toss and elected to receive the ball first. On third and eight Raider QB Cashion came up a little shy of a first down and the Raiders punted. On their first offense series, the Hornet put together several first downs (helped in part by a Raider penalty) to get them third and one at the 40. One play later, Reed scrambled down the sideline for six points. Abraham Morris’s PAT was no good and the Hornet let 6-0.

On the next offense series for the Raiders, Parker and Smith worked in tandem to get Moore County within striking distance but a bumbled snap saw the Raiders with fourth and sixteen and they turned the ball over on downs. On the next offensive series, the Hornets tested the edges. Why? Because Smith, Pearson, and Carawan were shutting down inside runs. They managed just one first down before time expired in the first quarter. The score remained: Raiders 0, Huntland 6.

In the first offensive series of the second quarter, QB Cashion doggedly pushed forward for repeated first down yardage setting up Tyler Smith for a quick score inside the red zone. Chase Bradford’s PAT gave the Raiders the 7-6 lead.

With Huntland’s Reed bottled up by the Raider front seven, the Hornets looked to Stewart and Bryson Turner for some outside yardage. They managed fourth and five and decided to go for it just inside Raider territory. They fumbled giving Moore County excellent field position.

The first half ended without a score change: Raiders 7 – Huntland 6.

Defense giving the offense a chance

We’re not sure what Raider Head Coach Jason Dobbs said to his team at the break but it was effective. The Raiders held the Hornets to small yardage on the first series. They then decided to go for it on fourth and five but Bryson Dobbs would have none of it. He sniffed out the Hornet play and tackled Reed for a loss. On the very next play, Tyler Smith ran the ball 57 yards for his second touchdown of the night. Cashion then threw a quick pass to Joshua Parks for the two point conversion to give the Raiders a 15-6 lead.

The Raiders and Hornets exchanged punts and fumbles before the Raider defense started playing light out. They held Stewart to short yardage and tackled Reed in the backfield to give their offense the ball back to start the fourth quarter. The Raiders failed to convert on a fourth and short giving Huntland the ball back on downs. With Stewart now a QB, he completed several short passes to Reed, who eventually made it into the end zone on a second and eight play. He scored but Morris’s PAT was again no good. The Raiders held a precarious 15-12 over the Hornets with 8:15 remaining.

The Raiders then went three and out again. Huntland put together short yardage before getting themselves again into four down territory. Stewart’s pass to Reed was intercepted by Tyler Smith, who ran it down to the six yard line. QB Cashion handed off to Smith who then scored his third touchdown of the night. Bradford’s kick sailed through the uprights to make it Raiders 22, Huntland 12.

The new scoreboard sure looked good displaying the first Raider home win of the season as time expired. The Raiders improved to 4-4 and 1-2 to while the Hornet fell to 4-4 overall and 1-2 in district play. The top four teams in each district make it into post season play. The win allowed Moore County to tie Huntland for third place. Down the stretch, the Raiders will play two consecutive district games to end the regular season: at Richland (Overall 4-4, District 0-3) on October 25 and at Mount Pleasant (Overall 5-3, District 1-3) on November 1.•

{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 Rivalry: Final home game against Huntland on Friday

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — The Moore County Raiders versus Huntland Hornets game is always intense. It’s a rivalry game that dates all the way back to the 1940’s. (Why? Check out our story about the history of the rivalry here.) But this year’s game is especially tense as both teams need the ‘W” to move on to post-season play.

The Raiders (3-4, 0-2) and Huntland (4-3, 1-1) will square off Friday night in at 7 p.m. for a conference game with everything on the line.

In particular, the Raiders will need to find a defensive answers for Huntland’s dynamic rushing by Cameron Reed and Kolbi Stewart. Combined the two have put up almost 1,500 rushing yards this season. Reed has nearly hit the 1,000 mark on the ground by himself. Offensively, Raider QB Brayden Cashion will need protection from the aggressive Huntland defensive line. Also, the Raider offense will need to keep their collective heads on a swivel for Huntland defender Garrett Jernigan, who’s stacked up over 80 solo tackles this year so far. Huntland Head Coach Bob Robertson will likely have his Hornets tuned in for the rivalry game.

Moore County will continue to look to their work horses, Tyler Smith and Kyler Parker, to put up big rushing yards while also depending on Donavin Pearson, Hayden Carter, Tyler Sanders, Bryson Dobbs, and Zac Carawan to keep the Raider defense on point.

They’ll also look to Chase Bradford to keep up the outstanding kicking game. So far, he’s 21 on 22 on the season.

Kick off will be at 7 p.m. If you can’t make it to the game, there are a couple of ways to follow the action. Every Friday 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.}

Cheerleaders plan community bonfire pep rally

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — In advance of the last regular season home game and the annual rivalry game against Huntland, the Moore County High School (MCHS) varsity cheerleaders will host a community bonfire pep rally at the high school Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

Friday’s game will also be Senior Night with a special recognition of senior football players, managers, cheerleaders, and band members. The squad will host a Pink Out of Friday to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness. They ask that Raider fans wear pink in support of breast cancer patients, survivors, and those lost to the disease. Kick off will be at 7 p.m. There also a Moore County Raider Softball Chicken Dinner prior to the game. Pick will be at the softball field. •

{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.}

Lynchburg native Johnny Majors inducted into Pitt Hall of Fame

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — One of Lynchburg’s most famous native sons, Johnny Majors, added a new honor to his resume last Friday as the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame inducted him just prior to the UCF v. Pitt game. He must have brought the Panthers some luck, because Pitt got the upset that night putting an end to a UCF regular season win streak that dates back to November 2016 … that’s over 1,037 days ago.

Though most locals know him from his days at Moore County High School, Huntland High School, and the University of Tennessee, Majors coached two different stints at Pittsburgh. From 1973-76, he served as head coach at Pitt. During that time he not only helped running back Tony Dorsett win the Heisman, but also put together a perfect 12-0 season and a national championship run. The Panthers beat Georgia 27-3 in the Sugar Bowl to take home the trophy.

He returned to Tennessee in 1977 to coach at his alma mater where he remained until 1992. Following his UT coaching career, he returned to Pitt as head coach from 1993-96 and stayed on as a Special Assistant to the Athletic Director and Chancelor until the summer of 2007.

The Majors kids (from left to right) Larry, Shirley Ann, Bill, Joe, and John grew up in Lynchburg. {Photo Provided}

The genesis of a rivalry

Majors Boulevard in Lynchburg pays tribute to the Majors family and their contributions not only to Moore County but also southern, middle Tennessee. Johnny’s father Shirley Inman Majors played at Moore County High School before coaching there from 1944-47. He left to restart the football program at Huntland High School. At the time, they hadn’t fielded a team in 20 years. He commuted each day from Moore County to Franklin County so that his children could continue to attend Moore County Schools. That all came to an end one chilly fall night when Johnny and the MCHS Raiders beat his father’s Huntland Hornets 18-13 in the last regular season game.

“That’s the last dad-blamed time a son of mine plays against me,” he said, according to the State Archives.

After that, Shirley Majors packed up the family and moved to Huntland where Johnny finished his high school football career. It’s the genesis of an intense rivalry that remains today.

Shirley Majors eventually became the head coach of the University of South in Sewanee for 21 years — coaching the only two undefeated, untied teams of the twentieth century in 1958 and again in 1963.

The Vols retired Johnny Major’s #45 jersey in 2012. {Photo Provided}

Johnny Majors is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame. The Vols retired his #45 jersey in 2012. During his time there he was a NCAA All American and runner up for the Heisman. He finished at Rocky Top with 1,622 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. The SEC named him MVP in 1955 and 1956. •

{Editor’s Note: This year’s MCHS Raiders versus Huntland game will take place in Huntland on October 18.}