By David Knox
The Kris White era begins Friday night at Doug Price Field at Raider Stadium against Cascade. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the high school football season tries to bring back a sense of normalcy.
It won’t all be normal. Temperature checks and masks are TSSAA requirements. Social distancing is encouraged.
“We ask that fans that attend the games abide by the TSSAA requirements as well as use social distancing practices,” said Moore County Director of Schools Chad Moorehead. “Our football season depends on every effort to keep our community healthy.”
The TSSAA suggested limited seating, but Moore County will not limit the number of fans that attend.
On the field, both teams are a bit unknown. Without scrimmages or jamborees, it’s been a strange preseason. White said after one practice he thought the Raiders might struggle to win, but he’s seen so much improvement now he thinks seven wins isn’t out of the question.
There will be changes in the offensive and defensive schemes. On offense, TJ Christian becomes offensive coordinator and has installed the spread. Coach Manny Buchanan serves as the “passing game coordinator,” White said.
“It doesn’t seem when you’re watching the game that it’s a run game but it’s really a zero-yard pass and they’re expected to break a tackle,” Buchanan said of the spread attack. “I’ve always been told the spread offense is not about the formation you’re in, it’s about spreading the ball to all your athletes. The defense can’t just load the box on Tyler Smith.”
Smith returns to build on a 1,000-yard rushing season last year. Kyler Parker gets the nod at quarterback. Receivers expected to make big plays are Brayden Cashion, Dylan Scruggs, Josh Parks and Kaden White.
Defensively, the Raiders have made a change in scheme too. White will coordinate his team’s defense and switches to a 4-3 from the 3-3 Stack the Raiders have run.
Down linemen will include Zac Carawan, Chase Bradford, Joseph Trice, Tyler Bowles and freshmen Sawyer Parks and Landon Jolley. Will Harder and Ryder Morey may split time at a defensive end. Donavin Pearson leads the linebackers along with Hayden Carter and Tyler Smith. Parks and Cashion hold down the corners and the coach’s sons, Kaden and Dawson, will start as safeties.
The game will air on FM-95.9 and FM-105.1 and be live streamed by the Moore County Sports Network, the student-run production team from the high school, and carried by NFHS.