LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — It wasn’t the start that head coach Jeremy Austin and the Moore County Raiders had hoped for as they embark on a new campaign in a newly-formed district/region.
The Raiders lost 42-7 to a Columbia Academy team that’s quickly becoming a mid-state football powerhouse — the Bulldogs were 11-1 a year ago and advanced to the Class 1A state quarterfinals.
Both teams were coming off of disappointing losses, and it was Columbia Academy that responded the best.
“Coming off a loss, I thought our guys picked themselves up,” said Columbia Academy head coach Charlie Lansdell. “It’s no secret that they were down. We wanted to win that game last week, but I found out that these guys can respond to adversity.”
Columbia Academy scored early and often in the first half, built a 28-0 lead and never looked back. Moore County hardly threatened a team that used is size and strength on the line to control the contest in the trenches — the Bulldogs had 252 rushing yards, 20 first downs and five rushing touchdowns.
“We’re looking definitely to run the football,” added Lansdell. “Those guys couldn’t do it if they didn’t have an offensive line that didn’t block the way they did tonight. A lot of times, our backs get recognition, but we ran the ball tonight because our offensive line dominated.”
When they weren’t pounding out the ground game, they were utilizing the skillset of talented receiver Taylor Thompson to strike for big plays in the passing game. Thompson caught seven passes for 148 yards as CA quarterback Dylan Johnson torched the Moore County secondary. Johnson finished 9-of-14 for 175 yards and one TD.
“(Thompson) … by far … he did a good job of going up there and making big plays,” said Austin. “We knew who their playmakers are.”
Moore County didn’t have an answer on either side of the ball. The Raiders didn’t get a first down until the 10:35 mark of the second quarter, and even that was aided by Columbia Academy as the Bulldogs were whistled for a 15-yard face mask penalty.
For the game MCHS had just six first downs, two of which came thanks to a penalty. And it wasn’t until a 61-yard run by senior Spencer Reese late in the third quarter that the Moore County offense made it across midfield.
The Raiders did score following Reese’s 61-yard run, getting a 7-yard touchdown from Reese, marking the hosts’ lone score of the contest.
For the complete version of this story, see the Sept. 10 print edition of The News. Click subscribe for home delivery or for The News’ Electronic Edition.
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