To say that Friday’s District 9A game with the Cascade Champions is a “big one” would be a complete understatement.
The Raiders and the Champions are deadlocked for the District 9A top spot, with the Champions’ only loss this season coming at the hands of last year’s 1A state champions Wayne County. Moore County beat Wayne County 30-0 in the season opener on Aug. 17.
The Raiders were ranked #3 in this week’s AP Prep Poll — making the target on their backs even bigger.
Cascade lost to the Wildcats in a 19-6 game on week four of the current season. They also have wins over Mt. Pleasant, 29-28; Jo Byrns, 14-6; Middle Tennessee Christian School, 32-7; Huntland, 39-0 and Cannon County, 41-7.
Despite pleading that the Champions are undergoing a “rebuilding” year in Wartrace, the fact is they are still returning starters at three defensive and two offensive positions and players with quite a bit of experience everywhere else.
Demonya Jones (5-10, 140) is very athletic and returns with lots of defensive secondary experience to the Cascade de-fense as well as having lots of speed at split end.
Cody Smith (5-10, 200) has been having a good year at both running back and as a linebacker for the Champions and is more than ready to see his senior year result in another win over Moore County.
Jake Thomas (5-9, 200) is another standout at linebacker that the Raiders will have to deal with.
In spite of being a somewhat potentially weaker Cascade team than in recent years, the Champions that will roll into the friendly confines of Raider Stadium tomorrow are still dangerous and will be more than hungry to keep their thumbs down on the Moore County chances for the post season.
It should be a game with plenty of hard hits, spectacular plays but most importantly for Moore County, it will be a game in which the Raiders will need to maintain their self-control and not let emotional overloads lead to unnecessary penalties.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Raider Stadium and a huge home crowd is anticipated. WSMV’s Channel 4 Sports Anchor Rudy Kalis will be on hand to cover the game. Raider fans are asked to wear pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Written by Contributing Sports Writer Phil Gatto