Raiders snuff out Bulldogs' playoff chances

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Cornersville wide out Stone Riner, shown here against Collinwood, caught 11 passes for 146 yards and four touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 63-34 loss against Richland on Friday night. Tribune photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Cornersville Bulldogs (3-7, 2-5 Region) had their playoff hopes extinguished on Friday night when they were defeated 63-34 in their regular season finale by the Richland Raiders (2-8, 2-5 Region) in Lynnville.

Having won the last three meetings against Richland, the Bulldogs held a 13-6 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to a 12-yard touchdown catch by wide out Stone Riner and a two-yard TD run by senior quarterback Hayden McMahon.

After Carson Edwards returned the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown to narrow the gap to 13-12, the Raiders pulled ahead 20-13 when Markus Batchelder hauled in a 39-yard TD pass from Cody Jordan before Jordan found Zach Davis in the end zone on the two-point conversion try.

McMahon connected with Riner for a two-yard touchdown pass to slice the deficit to 20-19 at the break, but things quickly went downhill for CHS in the second half, as Richland scored three straight TDs to open up a 40-19 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

The Bulldogs closed the gap to 40-26 midway through the fourth quarter behind a 22-yard touchdown catch by Riner, but Jordan broke loose for a 54-yard TD jaunt on the Raiders ensuing possession before A.J. Pettus ran in the two-point conversion to make it 48-26.

McMahon tried to put together a last ditch rally attempt and trimmed the deficit to 48-34 with 3:52 left by hitting Riner with a 36-yard touchdown strike prior to finding Chance Dyer in the end zone on the two-point conversion try.

Richland, though, continued to gouge Cornersville's defense and stretched their lead to 55-34 on a seven-yard TD run by Payton Hamlett with 2:10 remaining.

The Raiders then rubbed some salt in CHS' wounds when Blake Bryant returned an interception 33-yards for a score before Batchelder caught the two-point conversion pass to cap their 63-34 triumph.

Due to Friday's defeat, the Bulldogs ended the 2012 campaign with a three-game losing streak and finished in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Region 6-A standings while narrowly missing the Class A playoffs.

After allowing a total of a 103 points in their last two outings, Cornersville suffered another defensive meltdown in Friday's contest, as Richland amassed 414 yards of total offense, which included 344 yards rushing on 36 carries.

Steve Biase spearheaded the Raiders' ground attack by rushing for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, while Jordan toted the ball nine times for 101 yards and a TD. Hamlett also added 76 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries for Richland.

Jordan complemented the Raiders' running game by completing 5-of-7 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown. Batchelder was Richland's leading receiver and caught three passes for 43 yards and a TD.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, rolled up 396 yards of total offense en route to surpassing the 30-point mark for the fifth time this season. Cornersville depended on McMahon's right arm for much of the evening, as he completed 25-of-41 passes for 274 yards and four touchdowns to go along with two interceptions. CHS backup quarterback J.D. Crabtree also completed his lone pass of the night for 16 yards.

Thanks to his performance on Friday, McMahon finished the season with a school record 2,056 yards through the air while tossing 22 touchdown passes.

Riner had a big night for the Bulldogs and snared 11 passes for 146 yards and four touchdowns. Dyer tallied eight receptions for 62 yards as well, while Cody Blackburn and Justin Black each notched three catches for 39 and 33 yards respectively. Tyler Lowery also had one catch for 10 yards.

With McMahon forced to throw the ball once they fell behind, Cornersville was unable to lean on their usually reliable ground game and rushed for just 106 yards on 27 carries. Dyer paced CHS with 91 yards rushing on 19 carries, while Josh Singleton added 28 yards on three attempts.