Coffee County looked to have all the momentum it needed going into halftime Thursday night at Wilkins Stadium in Tullahoma.
Then Jakobe Thomas got his hands on the football.
With the scored tied at 7-7 with 50 seconds left in the first half, Thomas got his hands on a Red Raider kickoff and sprinted 70 yards for a touchdown. The momentum swing proved insurmountable for the CHS Red Raiders as they went on to fall 42-13 in the 95th meeting between the two schools.
Thomas’ kickoff return came just seconds after Red Raider quarterback Connor Shemwell connected down the sideline with senior wide receiver Kelvin Verge for a 27-yard score to tie the game at 7. The score looked to tie the game heading into the locker room with the Raiders set to receive the second half kickoff.
But Thomas scored and the Wildcats went on to roll in the second half.
CHS fell behind 28-7 and cut the score to 28-13 on another connection from Shemwell to Verge, this time from 30-yards out. But the Raider defense finally wore down and Tullahoma pulled away.
Shemwell finished 12-of-23 through the air with two scoring passes to Verge, who finished with 63 receiving yards on three catches. Verge also had an interception of Tullahoma quarterback Ryan Scott near the end zone in the first quarter to thwart a Wildcat scoring opportunity. Verge was named the Mid Tenn Turf Player of the Game for Thunder Radio.
In addition to his kickoff return, Thomas finished with 113 yards on 10 totes for the Wildcats. He also two passes for 13 yards and a score.
The Raiders (1-1) will open region play next week when they travel to Blackman High School. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast live on Thunder Radio. Pregame begins at 6 p.m. with the Friday Night Thunder pregame show.