RICHLAND, Tenn. — The Moore County High School football team kept its playoff hopes alive thanks to a 53-14 win over Richland on Friday night.
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak for the Raiders and kept them in fifth place in the Region 4-1A standings, just a game back of Huntland and Mt. Pleasant.
At Richland on Friday night, Moore County simply overpowered the hosts, ruining Richland’s Senior Night and winning the matchup for the third straight year and fifth consecutive time since the 2009 season.
Moore County scored midway through the first quarter, getting on the board with a 47-yard touchdown pass at the 7:55 mark. Another MCHS score gave the visiting Raiders a 13-0 lead with 2:19 left in the first quarter on an 18-yard pass from Stone Frost to Zach Creson and a PAT by Coy Cashion.
Just 2:23 into the second quarter, Moore County scored on a 2-yard run by Jake McGee. Cashion’s PAT helped cap a 60-yard drive and MCHS led 20-0.
A partially blocked Richland punt helped Moore County start with excellent field position on its next possession. Taking over at their own 49-yard line, the Raiders marched 51 yards to paydirt, doing most of the damage through the air. A 12-yard TD toss finished off the drive and another PAT by Cashion put Moore County ahead 27-0.
Moore County’s fifth score of the half and third of the second quarter came on a 17-yard run through a gaping hole in the left side of the offensive line. By then, Moore County led 33-8.
Moore County extended the lead as time expired in the half. Raiders’ senior Spencer Reese intercepted a Richland pass 2 yards deep in the end zone as the horn expired and returned it 102 yards for a touchdown. Cashion’s fourth PAT of the half put Moore County solidly in front 40-8 going into intermission.
Moore County added two more scores in the second half, while the hosts managed to find the end zone one more time for the final tally.
The victory keeps Moore County (5-4 overall, 4-3 region)in the playoff hunt.
Columbia Academy (8-1, 7-0 region) has the region title wrapped up, while Fayetteville (7-2, 6-1) can lock up second place with a win over first-year varsity program Franklin Grace (3-5, 2-5) this week.
After that, the standings get pretty mucky.
Mt. Pleasant (6-3, 5-2) and Huntland (6-3, 5-2) are tied for third, although Mt. Pleasant, which defeated Summertown 20-12 on Friday, holds the tiebreaker thanks to a win over the Hornets earlier in the season.
Moore County, meanwhile, can significantly cloud things up if they can beat Mt. Pleasant this week. MCHS hosts the Tigers for a 7 p.m. contest Friday, which will also be Senior Night here in Lynchburg.
Those are the only five Region 4-1A teams mathematically capable of making the TSSAA Class 1A playoffs, as Cornersville, Franklin Grace, Summertown and Richland have all been eliminated.
As second-year Moore County head coach Jeremy Austin predicted back in August, the playoff picture won’t be clear until the dust settles following the Week 11 games.
Despite disappointing losses to Fayetteville City and Huntland — the Raiders were shut out in both games — Moore County is still very much alive. The TSSAA tiebreaking system can be a bit confusing, but there’s one thing that’s quite simple — for the Raiders to claim a piece of the postseason picture, they must defeat Mt. Pleasant on Friday night.
The easiest scenario would be a Huntland victory over league-leader Columbia Academy and a Moore County victory over Mt. Pleasant.
That would give the Hornets third place outright and leave Mt. Pleasant and Moore County tied for fourth, with the edge going to MCHS thanks to a win over the Tigers.
But if Columbia Academy stays perfect and Moore County wins, there will be a three-way tie for third, leaving Mt. Pleasant, Huntland and Moore County knotted at 5-3 in the region and three teams vying for two playoff spots.
Earlier this week, TSSAA Assistant Executive Director Matthew Gillespie said the final Region 4-1A standings could easily go all the way down to the fourth tiebreaker.
Per its website, <tssaa.org>, here’s the order of the TSSAA tiebreakers:
1. The team with the greatest number of victories.
2. The team who plays the greatest number of teams who win 50 percent or more of their games.
3. The team who has the greatest number of victories over teams winning 50 percent or more of their games.
4. The team whose opponents have earned the most victories.
5. The team whose opponents have received fewer defeats.
6. Coin Flip
Heading into the last week of the regular season, Moore County’s opponents have won a total of 47 games; Mt. Pleasant’s opponents have combined for 44 wins; and Huntland’s opponents have combined for 43 victories.
That gives the Raiders the edge heading into the weekend, but those totals will all change based on teams’ individual performances in the final week of the regular season.
First and foremost, however, the Raiders must take care of the Tigers this week. Mt. Pleasant has won three of the last four meetings, including the last one, a 34-21 Tigers’ win in 2008.
—By ROBERT HOLMAN, MCN Publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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