By David Knox
The Moore County High School will celebrate homecoming tonight. For the football team to really celebrate, the Raiders will have to knock off a tough Eagleville team.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Doug Price Field/Raider Stadium. 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. Joe Abraham, Al Clark and Kelli Ray will handle the broadcast duties.
The Raiders (2-3, 0-2 Region 5-A) have dropped three in a row, losing games to Cornersville, Forrest and Fayetteville City – three schools with a combined 12-3 record. AA Eagleville (4-1) has lost only to Forrest.
The Raiders had three turnovers last week in what amounted to a one-score game. Two led directly to scores and the third, with 3:22 to play and Moore County down seven, was a crusher, killing a chance for a game-tying drive.
The other bugaboo has been allowing explosive plays on defense. The defense has been tough overall, but big plays have been a problem. Last week the defense gave up four plays of 30+ yards, not counting the interception return of 78 yards for a score at the end of the game. Three of those big plays were in drives that resulted in TDs. The Raiders allowed just 114 yards rushing –44 yards on 20 snaps in the second half.
“Eagleville is a very good football team,” MCHS coach Jason Dobbs said. “So we’ve got their hands full on Friday night again.”
At least the Raiders won’t have to face who Dobbs called “Superman” – quarterback Ethan Cobb, who led the Eagles over Moore County 42-8 last season – who has graduated.
“They got a little quarterback back there who throws it pretty good, is very fast and shifty, but not like what they’ve had the past couple of years. They’ve got a really, really good running back, Wyatt McLemore, who also plays linebacker on defense. He’s an outstanding player.
“They’re going to be big up front. And they are very well-coached – their staff has a bunch of ex-college coaches, so it’s not going to be a thing where you can outscheme them, you just have to outplay them.”
This is the last game before an open date. “A well-needed break,” Dobbs said. He’s got a few key beat-up players, especially in the backfield.
“Tyler Smith is going to be all right, he could possibly play Friday night but I may hold him. Dylan Scruggs has a separated shoulder and they say it’s probably a couple of weeks, maybe by Jo Byrnes.”
But Dobbs is most concerned after the open date and the trip to Jo Byrnes. That’s when he needs all hands healthy and all hands on deck. The season closes with region foes Huntland, Richland and Mt. Pleasant, and that stretch will decide the Raiders’ playoff fate.
“As I told them, the next two games are really just a pride thing,” Dobbs said. “We’ve just got to win the last three.”