By David Knox
Cornersville hasn’t lost a region game in two seasons.
The Bulldogs went 13-1 last season, only losing 7-6 in the Single-A championship game to Whitwell.
In 2017, the Bulldogs went 13-2, losing again in the finals, this time to Greenback 42-21.
So Cornersville has been a recent powerhouse, and Moore County coach Jason Dobbs is still looking for his first win ever over the Bulldogs.
Moore County (2-0) isn’t taking anything for granted when the Raiders host Cornersville (0-2) on Friday night at Doug Price Field at Raider Stadium.
How can they? The Bulldogs dropped their first two games, 20-17 to Community 27-15 to Eagleville. Clearly, they’ve been in those ballgames and Cornersville must believe that now region play has started it’s a fresh slate, and besides, most of their players have beaten Moore County:
39-0 in 2018;
42-0 in 2017;
39-15 in 2016.
“I’ve never beaten them,” MCHS coach Jason Dobbs said. “So it’ll be a challenge for us.”
The Raiders have displayed a bend-but-don’t-break defense and an explosive running game, but we can’t say Cascade or Community, even though they are AA teams, are equal to Cornersville’s challenge.
The Raiders will have to avoid turnovers, which they did very well last week, and not make silly penalties.
“We can’t control how much bigger the other team is, or how fast they are,” Dobbs said. “What we can control is our toughness. Our grit.
“And that’s what we have to do. Be mentally and physically tough,” Dobbs said.
The Raiders’ ground game has been explosive in a wins, averaging 8 yards per carry. Running back Tyler Smith has rushed for 197 yards on 22 carries (9.0 ypc) and wingback Kyler Parker has made the most of his nine carries, rushing for 129 yards (a staggering 14.3 ypc). Quarterback Brayden Cashion, who left most of the running to his backfield mates as a skinny sophomore last year, has picked up 94 yards on 15 carries, including an 85-yard and three TD effort last week against Community. Much credit has to go to the veteran offensive line of Zac Carawan, Case Corder, Joseph Trice and Mason Pierce plus Chase Bradford, Tyler Bowles and Dalton Dorsett. Junior Hayden Walker has yet to see the field due to injury. Tight end/H-back Bryson Dobbs is a devastating blocker who has one catch for 25 yards and also a two-point conversion reception.
The passing game has tried to keep defenses honest. It’s the deep shots Cashion has taken – although most have misfired – that have done that. He has completed 6-of-14 passing for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Special teams play has been fair. Allowing a kickoff to be returned for a TD last week against Community is the major blot. Bradford is 9-for-9 on extra points. Bryson Dobbs has been effective as a punter thus far, although the Raiders haven’t punted much.
The Raiders have been mostly injury free, and with only 29 players and most everyone playing on both offense and defense, health will remain a concern as the season goes on.
The game will air on Raider Country (Whiskey Country) 95.9 and 105.1, and on the Internet on Lynchburg Radio and will be live-streamed by the NFHS Network.