MT. PLEASANT, Tenn. — Moore County High School’s football season came down to a last-minute drive Friday at Mt. Pleasant.
The Raiders ended the 2016 season with a 3-7 record, but the season finale turned out to be a scoring fest that saw 11 touchdowns and numerous turnovers by both teams, with the Raiders coming away with a 43-38 win.
Moore County (3-7 overall, 3-5 Region 4-A) scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute remaining when quarterback Matthew Schuller found Austin Waters in the end zone for a 6-yard score. The win helped Moore County cap an otherwise difficult season with back-to-back victories.
Mt. Pleasant (1-9, 1-7) got things off to a fast start with a drive that began at the Tigers’ 19 and ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by senior Tee Rogers. The two-point conversion made it 8-0 with 7:39 showing on the clock.
The Raiders came back after an exchange of punts with junior Coy Cashion running the final 12 yards for the score. Cashion’s kick made it 8-7 with 41 seconds left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Mt. Pleasant’s Zyshon Alderson raced down the sidelines for 85 yards and a touchdown and the two-pointer put the Tigers up 16-7 with 10:43 left in the half.
However, Moore County senior Isaac Holt returned the kickoff 79 yards to score and Schuller danced in for the two-point conversion to make it 16-15 with 10:36 still left.
Following a pair of punts, Moore County took over on downs at the Raiders’ 42, but the Tigers’ free safety snatched up a fumble and ran it to the Moore County 1.
Rogers got his second score of the game one play later. Another two-pointer made it 24-15 with only one second left in the half.
The Raiders lost the ball again early in the third quarter with a Mt. Pleasant player taking it 53 yards to the house with 10:37 left in the period. The extra point try failed and the Raiders trailed 30-15.
Moore County’s Nate Love took off on a 61-yard run that set up a Schuller 3-yard touchdown run just 32 seconds later. Love ran in the two-point try and the Raiders trailed 30-23.
Lightning struck again when Cashion snatched the ball away from a Tigers’ ball carrier and went 48 yards to the score. A successful two point try gave Moore County the lead, 31-30, for the first time. The Raiders followed that up with an onside kick recovery at the Tigers’ 42.
Love dashed 34 yards for another Raiders touchdown with 7:59 left in the third.
Despite having had three touchdowns just scored against them and losing the lead in less than five minutes, the Tigers roared back, with Rogers going the final 21 yards to paydirt. The two-point try made it 38-37 in favor of the hosts.
Moore County drove down to the Mt. Pleasant 3-yard line, but couldn’t score and the Tigers took over on downs. However, they couldn’t move the ball and eventually punted to the Raiders’ 46.
The Raiders’ next drive appeared to stall at the Tigers’ 30 as Moore County faced a fourth-and-15. But Schuller connected with Cashion for the first down.
The game was marred late when Love went down and left the field in an ambulance during the drive. He reportedly had an arm injury — a possible break — but was otherwise OK.
Still trailing, there were only 37 seconds left in the game when Schuller found Austin Waters for the game-winning touchdown pass from 6 yards out.
—Notes: Mt. Pleasant had 254 yards of offense; 221 of that on the ground. … Moore County had 321 yards in total offense, with 280 coming from the running attack. Love led the Moore County ground game with 108 yards. Holt had 86 yards, Cashion had 59 and Dylan Vassar had 20. Schuller went three for five and 41 yards and a touchdown. Cashion had two receptions for 35 yards and Waters had one catch for six yards and a touchdown. … While MCHS and Mt. Pleasant combined for 81 points, the only six points of the fourth period were the result of an 11-play, 54-yard drive that included 27 of the game’s 45 passing yards and resulted in a 43-38 triumph for the Raiders. … The back-to-back victories were the first for Moore County since the Raiders beat Richland and Mt. Pleasant on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, respectively, last season. … Columbia Academy, Fayetteville, Summertown and Cornersville advanced to the postseason from Region 4-1A. … MCHS missed the playoffs for the second time in the last three years. … New TSSAA school classification will shake up football districts again next season. Summertown and Columbia Academy will move up to 2A. Huntland, Moore County, Fayetteville, Mt. Pleasant, Grace Christian-Franklin and Richland are still in 1A, but the new district boundaries have not been announced.
—By Phil Gatto, MCN Correspondent
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