Raiders crank up some big plays, hand Bulldogs first loss of season
The Moore County Raiders travelled to Cornersville on Friday night to renew the rivalry with the number-two ranked Cornersville Bulldogs as both teams kicked off their Region 5-A schedules.
The Bulldogs, who won on a last a second field goal last year game at Lynchburg, fell behind in the first half and could not catch up and the Raiders dealt the boys from Cornersville their first loss of the season, 33-23.
“We saw going in that Moore County would be a really tough game,” Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph said. “We knew they had several seniors and we saw on film that they had good size and speed at the skill positions and that they could give us problems in our secondary.”
The senior-laden Raiders were led by quarterback Kyle Parker, who came up with several big plays, including touchdown throws of 29, 44, and 53 yards.
The Bulldogs were led again by Brady Calahan, who rushed for 118 yards on 17 carries while quarterback Jackson Farler threw for 162 yards and a touchdown.
Cason Warner contributed 87 yards on the ground and added 21 yards on a pass reception.
The Raiders won the toss and elected to receive, starting at their own 38-yard line.
Moore County came up with its first big play of the game on a third down play when Parker found Kaden White open for a 28-yard gain to the Bulldog 34-yard line.
After a 10-yard loss courtesy of a Rhett Woodard tackle, Parker tossed a 44-yard pass to White, who gathered it in and found the end zone
Chase Bradford’s PAT split the uprights and with 10 minutes left in the first quarter, Moore County took the lead 7-0.
“They did exactly what we had our guys prepared for and we just have to man up and have more want to,” Randolph said.
The Bulldog’s countered on a third down play from their own 43-yard line when Farler found a wide-open Eli Welch, who hauled in the pass and ran it to the Moore County 17-yard line.
Brady Calahan and Cason Warner rushed the ball to Raider 2-yard line, but a holding penalty pushed the Bulldogs back and the Moore County defense held and Cornersville had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Jackson Williams.
The Raiders received the kickoff and once again showed off the big play ability as Parker went back to pass, but pressure from the Bulldogs forced him to scramble and finding a running lane and with some nifty moves, he broke free and scampered into the end zone for a touchdown.
After Bradford’s PAT the Moore County lead was 14-3.
The Bulldogs, stung by the Raiders quick strikes, battled back on a nine-play drive culminating with Hunter Fitzgerald crashing over for the touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
The Bulldogs’ two-point conversion failed, but Moore County’s lead was cut to five points at 14-9.
The Raiders responded with another drive, featuring a 20-yard pass from Parker to Brayden Cashion and then on a third-and-8, he threw to running back Tyler Smith who broke free and rambled for a 53-yard touchdown.
The PAT was wide right and Moore County led 20-9 with 9:59 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs tried to battle back, but the Moore County defense stiffened and forced a punt.
The Bulldogs defense then stepped up and stopped the Raiders on fourth down tackle by Woodard.
Cornersville began a seven play drive, but a penalty slowed the drive and the Dawgs came up short on a fourth-and-six at the Moore County 34-yard line, giving the ball back to the Raiders with 2:25 left in the half.
This time Parker found White twice more as the clock ran down and the Raiders faced a fourth-and-five from the Bulldogs’ 29-yard line.
With the clock ticking down, Parker dropped back and heaved a spiral down field where Smith jumped up, caught the ball, and came down in the end zone for the touchdown as the horn sounded.
The PAT failed, but the Bulldog and their fans were stunned as the teams left the field for the halftime break with Moore County leading 26-9.
Receiving the ball to start the third quarter, the Bulldogs began to pound the ball with Calahan and Cason bruising their way down field.
Calahan ripped off a 30-yard run and when Warner rumbled over the goal line with 8:08 left in the quarter, Cornersville had trimmed the Moore County lead to 26-16.
The Raiders replied with a drive of their own and Parker again found White in the end zone but a block in the back negated the touchdown and placed the ball back at the Bulldogs’ 46-yard line.
Bulldog defenders, now fighting with an intensity, stopped the Raiders on a fourth-and-eight play at the Cornersville 25-yard line.
The Bulldogs took over and when Warner rushed for a first down the fans came alive, but a fumble on the next play was recovered by Moore County, silencing the crowd.
Four plays later Dylan Scruggs crashed over the goal line and the Raiders fans rejoiced as their team led the Bulldogs 33-16 with 1:00 left in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw a furious attempt by the Bulldogs to claw their way back from a 17-point deficit.
Calahan and Warner led the charge, crashing into and through the Raiders’ defense as the clock continued to click off the seconds.
Farler began to find his receivers Garrett Alder and Tanner Edwards and when Alex Hillard got free in the end zone the Bulldog quarterback found him for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
Williams’ PAT was good and the deficit was cut to ten points again at 33-23 with 2:15 left in the game.
Moore County recovered the onside kick and burned the time off the clock before punting with 31 seconds left in the game.
Farler found Hillard and Edwards for 10 and 11-yard receptions, but pressure from the Raiders’ defense caused the Bulldog quarterback to scramble and be tackled at the Cornersville 42-yard line as time ran out.
“Mental mistakes are what cost us in this game,” Randolph said. “Penalties, turnovers, and blown assignments at the worst times are what cost us.”
“We do not like making excuses here at Cornersville. We will go back to work to fix our mistakes and try to get better. We have another worthy opponent (GCA) coming up on Friday night and we do not have time to hang our heads. We have to learn from this game and be able to respond and have a better performance this week.”
Cornersville (2-1, 0-1) travels to Grace Christian Academy-Franklin (2-1, 0-1) Friday night for non-conference game.
Moore County 14 12 7 0-33
Cornersville 3 6 7 7-23
Moore County-Kaden White 44-yard pass from Kyle Parker (Chase Bradford kick), 10:00.
Cornersville-Jackson Williams 25-yard field goal, 4:20.
Moore County-Parker 57-yard run (Bradford kick), 4:08.
Cornersville-Hunter Fitzgerald 1-yard run, (2-pt pass Inc.), 11:57
Moore County- Tyler Smith 53-yard run (Bradford kick NG), 9:59.
Moore County- White 29-yard pass from Parker (2-pt run NG), 0:00.
Cornersville- Cason Warner 5-yard run (Williams kick), 8:08
Moore County- White 53-yard pass from Parker (Bradford kick), 6:35.
Cornersville – Alex Hillard 22-yard pass from Jackson Farler (Williams kick), 2:15
Total Offense: Moore County 382, Cornersville 388.
Time of Possession: Moore County 20:56, Cornersville 27:04.
Rushing: Moore County 27-194, Cornersville 48-226.
Passing: Moore County 13-22-182, Cornersville 9-17-162
Turnovers: Moore County 0, Cornersville 1.
First Downs: Moore County 15, Cornersville 21.
Penalties: Moore County 3-25, Cornersville 4-40.
Cornersville: Jackson Farler 9-17-162-TD- 0 INT.
Moore County: Kyle Parker 13-22-188-3TD-0 INT.
Cornersville: Brady Calahan 18-117, Cason Warner 13-87-TD, Jackson Farler 6-29, Alex Hillard 3--4, Rhett Woodard 1-6. Hunter Fitzgerald 1-1 TD.
Moore County: Kyle Parker 12-94-TD, Tyler Smith 7-85-TD.
Cornersville: Eli Welch 1-40, Tanner Edwards 3-58. Alex Hillard 2-32-TD. Warner 1-21, Garrett Alder 2-11
Moore County: Kaden White 6-99-2TD, Braden Cashion 4-55, T. Smith 2-24-TD.
Tackles: Rhett Woodard 10, Wesley Pigg 5.5, Mason Callahan 4, Riley Qualls 4, Hunter Fitzgerald 3, David Metcalf 2.5, Trenton Posey 2, Eli Welch 2, Blake Estes 1.5, Blake Jones 1, Garrett Alder 1, Caden White 1, Hillard .5, Barrett Powers .5.
PAT: Jackson Williams 2-2.
Field Goals: Williams 1-1-25.
Punts: Tyler Brockman 1-54.
Punts-Brady Calahan 1-4.
Kickoffs: Hillard 1-44, Brady Calahan 3-27.