Friday Night Lights: #5 Raiders take on #6 Fayetteville on Friday

FAYETTEVILLE — It will be a battle of TSSAA ranked teams on Friday as the number five Moore County Raiders (4-0, 1-0) travel to face off with the Fayetteville Tigers (3-1, 2-0) in Lincoln County. The Raiders defeated the Forrest Rockets 35-14 last Friday in Chapel Hill while the Tigers beat Mount Pleasant 56-20 at home.

This battle of ranked team should be great game. In fact it’s gotten the attention of Tennessee High School Football Live, which will live stream the game. Click here for that link.

Moore County will need to correct needless penalties and sloppy play to bring their A game to the Tigers. Against the Rockets, Moore County had several key first downs and a touchdown called back for penalties. The Raider offense will also need to establish a ground game. Against Forrest, Moore County put up 248 yards through the air and just 98 on the ground.

Defensively, the Raiders look daunting. Moore County defenders fly to the ball, tackle smart, and hit hard. Many Moore County defenders are first year football players but seasoned athletes. What they lack in experience, they make up for in instinct and athletic ability … especially senior Ryder Morey and junior Will Harder, who combined for 10 tackles against the Rockets.

Moore County will also need to capitalize on any Fayetteville mistakes. The Rockets turned the ball over seven time against Moore County but the Raiders only converted two of those opportunities into points.

Patient Tiger QB and solid offensive line

On the Fayetteville side of the ball, Raider fans will want to keep an eye on junior running back #7 Graham Pace who has rushed for three touchdowns through four games for the Tigers. He leads Fayettevile with 20 total points. Receivers junior #11 Corian Cash and #9 sophomore Isaiah Thomison are the Tigers best hands. Freshman #3 KJ Jackson leads the Tigers in all purpose yards. Tiger QB sophomore #16 Sam Holdmeyer is 24 of 45 for 195 total yards so far this year and his offense line gives him time to find receivers.

On defense, there are several key players including junior #6 Cam Sheridan, sophomore #24 Braxton Wilson, junior #72 Antonio Ibarra, and senior #2 Jayson Pullen. They’ve combined for nearly 100 tackles through four games. Freshman #27 Calvin Hughes is quick off the ball with eight QB sacks this year.

The game will kick off in Fayetteville at 7 p.m. For those who plan to travel, the GPS address is 1800 Wilson Parkway, Fayetteville, TN 37334. 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 move up in AP prep poll

We’re a moving on up … no seriously, after another road win Friday night against Forrest in Chapel Hill, the Moore County High School Raiders are ranked number five in the Associated Press Tennessee High School football statewide poll after week four.

Tennessee AP-member sportswriters and broadcasters select the top ten teams playing TSSAA football in the state.

The list, which was released on Monday, show the top 10 Class 1A teams as: 1. South Pittsburg 2. Lake County 3. Huntingdon 4. Copper Basin 5. Moore County 6. Fayetteville, 7. Coalfield. 8. Cornersville 9. Greenfield and 10. Monterey.

Other area teams earning ranks this week were Tullahoma (number three Class 4A) and Giles County (number eight Class 3A).

Moore County moved up one spot from number six to number five. Cornersville, who Moore County defeated on September 4 by a score of 33-23, held steady at number eight.

On a Division 1 Class A poll on the popular prep football site Coach T, the Raiders are ranked number two right behind South Pittsburg. Click here to see that poll.

On Friday, it will be number five versus number six (or number two versus number seven … depending on which poll you put more stock in) as MCHS heads to Fayetteville to take on the Tigers. •

{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 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. •

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.}

Raiders travel for first round Regional Boys Tournament action

LOCAL NEWS — The Moore County High School Raiders (8-14, 1-3) will travel to Hendersonville on Saturday, February 29 to take on Merrol Hyde Magnet School in the first round of the TSSAA Region 4-A Boys Basketball Tournament. If they win, they’ll move on to play the winner of the Fayetteville vs. STEM Prep Academy game on March 3 at Eagleville High School.

Led by Head Coach Heath Hardin, the Raiders finished third in District 8 play. Fayetteville snagged first place with Eagleville edging out Moore County for second. The Raiders defeated Cascade 70-64 in overtime in the consolation game. In District 8 play, Brayden Cashion made the All Season and All District teams. Riley Hollman and Andrew Copeland both made the All Tournament team and Cashion was also named All Season.

The Merrol Hyde Hawks are led by four outstanding shooters: seniors Matthew Sykes and Asher Wolthers, as well as juniors Ethan Hansen and Kolton Garvon, who all tie for their season high scorers. Wolthers manages 68 percent from the field.

For Moore County, one interesting note is that senior Raider Ben Fletcher is currently tied for the Moore County record for most charges. Currently Wade Harder holds that record with 31.

If you plan to go, tip off will be at 7 p.m. The school is located at 128 Township Drive in Hendersonville. You can also watch a live broadcast on the NFHS Network. •

{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 lose an ugly one at Mount Pleasant

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — Moore County lost their final game of the 2019 season on Friday with a 47-28 loss at Mount Pleasant. It was an ugly affair … one that was hard for Raider Nation to watch or listen to.

Mount Pleasant has long prided themselves on playing smash-mouth football but game film reveals not one but two body slams, a Tiger player blindsiding a defenseless Raider player, and Moore County QB Kyler Parker taking a flagrant knee to the face as he attempted to get up from a tackle … most were no calls.

Despite the rough a tumble play, Moore County battled but came up short. The loss puts them out of playoff contention with Fayetteville City, Cornersville. Huntland, an Mount Pleasant making it into the playoffs.

Raiders hang tough in first half

The Tigers won the toss and elected to kick off to the Raiders. The Raiders went a quick three and out before the Tigers scored nearly as quickly on a three play drive ending with QB Hayden Lovely finding Keshawn Hudson on a pass for their first six points. The PAT gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead.

Undaunted, the Raiders answered as Kyler Parker, Joshua Parks, and Brayden Cashion put Moore County near the red zone. On a second and ten, QB Parker called his own number and ran 21 yards into the end zone. Chase Bradford’s PAT was good to tie the score at 7-7.

The Tigers and Raiders then traded possessions before the Tigers put together three first down plays to find themselves first and goal at the eight yard line. Hudson scrambled into the end zone on the next play to give the Tigers back the lead, 14-7.

On the second possession of the second quarter, QB Parker did the heavy lifting to get the Raiders first and goal at the six yard line. Tyler Smith battled his way into the end zone and Moore County’s “money” kicker Bradford nailed the PAT to tie the score, 14-14.

Mount Pleasant answered on the next set of downs but missed the PAT. With 4:00 remaining in the first half, they led 20-14.

The Raiders punted on their next possession. With time quickly expiring, the Tigers scored on a second down and long but not before their star running back, Keshawn Hudson got ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The Raiders got the ball back with a chance to score. Tyler Smith got them in excellent field position with his return to the 48. On the first play, QB Parker got body slam tackled by Mount Pleasant as the Coach Dobbs protested enthusiastically.

The Raiders went into the locker room trailing 26-14 and it was mostly downhill from there. As the refs looked on, the game degenerated into what one observer called, “a sanctioned street fight.”

Chippy second half

The Tigers scored again at the 6:35 mark in the third to pull them ahead 33-14. In the fourth quarter, they scored on their first possession to extend it to 47-14. Then Moore County answered when Tyler Smith got two consecutive first down to set up Kyler Parker for the score. With 9:11 remaining the Tigers continued to lead, 41-21.

The Tigers scored on their next possession to pull ahead 47-21.

With around four minutes remaining in the game, the Raiders tackled the Tiger QB in the back field and he fumbled. Raiders Bryson Dobbs scooped it up and ran for the score and then the refs did the darnest thing … they called the live play dead. Dobbs stood defiantly in the end zone refusing to budge as Coach Dobbs fumed from the sidelines.

The Raider D shut down Mount Pleasant on their next possession. Kyler Parker and Tyler Smith then combined for yardage to get the Raiders one last score. With 2:35 remaining the score was Tigers 47, Raiders 28.

The Raiders ended their season with a 4-6 overal record and 1-4 district record. •

{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, 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.}

Raider, Richland Preview: Game moved to Thursday

LOCAL NEWS | Sports — Friday night lights will move to Thursday night this week.

On Wednesday, school officials announced that the Raiders district game against Richland would be moved to Thursday night to avoid impending bad weather. It’s one of two crucial district games left on the regular season schedule and it’s a must win if the Raiders want to continue to control their own destiny in their quest to reach the playoffs.

The game at Richland (4-4 overall , 0-3 district) follows a quality 22-12 home win over district foe and longtime rival the Huntland Hornets last Friday night. Tyler Smith again produced big yardage for the Raiders with QB Brayden Cashion and Kyler Parker also fighting for first downs. The Raider D, led by Zac Carawan and Donavin Pearson, played an impressive game and they’ll need that energy and tenacity tomorrow night.

This season, Richland’s coaches seem focused on the run led by #46 senior Montel Bobbitt and #16 junior Austin Seals. The Raider D played lights out against Huntland’s inside run game last week. If they can repeat that intensity and set the edge, their odds are good Thursday night.

Richland High School is located at 10610 Columbia Highway in Lynnville.

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 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.}