Explosive offense? Check. Explosive defense? Check? Explosive special teams? Check.
Moore County scored in all three phases of the game in dominating Wayne County 49-14 in the first round of the TSSAA playoffs on Doug Price Field at Raider Stadium on Friday.
And the Raiders did all that in the second quarter. Moore County scored 43 second-period points in leaving no doubt of the outcome.
Early in the second quarter, Tyler Smith broke loose for a 46-yard TD run of his own. Chase Bradford’s extra point made it 13-0 with 11:38 left in the first half.
Brayden Cashion picked off a pass on the Wildcats’ next possession and brought it back to the Wayne County 23. On the next play, Parker broke free for a 23-yard TD run. Hayden Carter ran in the two-point conversion and the score was 21-0 with 10:54 left in the half.
A Parker fumble at the Wayne County 25 halted a threat, but one play after the fumble, the Raiders forced a fumble themselves and Smith scooped it up and raced 16 yards for a touchdown. Bradford’s PAT made it 28-0 with 5:47 to go in the first half.
After a quick three-and-out, Moore County tacked on another score when Dawson White sprinted 14 yards for a TD, set up by Smith’s 24-yard run. With 3:47 left it was 35-0, but the Raiders weren’t done.
Kaden White blocked a punt and senior Ryder Morey scored his first high school TD in his first year of football as he picked the ball up and sped into the end zone. Bradford’s PAT made it 42-0 with just 42 seconds left. But the Raiders still weren’t done.
Special teams made another big play, recovering the squibbed kickoff at the Wildcats’ 44. Smith had two 15-yard carries and on the final play of the half, Smith hauled in a 14-yard toss from Parker. Bradford’s extra point gave the Raiders’ their 49th point, their fourth TD in the final 5:47 of the period.
“I was a little worried after our first drive (a three-and-out), they got after us,” said coach Kris White, “but I talked about it to Smitty, ‘expect to get hit in the backfield in the opening drive,’ because you can simulate what they do in practice. The strength of their defense was in the middle and we knew that. It took some time to adjust to their speed, and (adjust) playcalling. You see what’s open on the outside. I think once we got a taste of their defense we were able to figure what to call, and did a good job on that.”
Smith scored three different ways – rushing, receiving and returning the fumble on defense.
“Smitty’s probably our unsung hero,” White said. “If you had to ask me who our team MVP is, it’s definitely him. He knew he was going to lose the amount of carried he’d get (in the new offense) but it’s probably made us more dynamic, and he makes plays on defense, and you see how fresh he is in the first round. He’s got fresh legs right now, and that’s huge for us.”
Smith had six carries for 98 yards and Parker collected 68 yards on five attempts. Parker played just the first half, and went 5-of-8 passing for 62 yards. Freshman Keller Morey finished up at quarterback. Smith caught three passes for 44 yards and Dawson White had two catches for 37 yards.
The Raiders, who finished the regular season at No. 3 in the AP Class 1A poll, now travel to face No. 8 Huntingdon in the second round. Huntingdon beat Cornersville 48-8 on Friday.