The first preseason scrimmage of the fall had ups and downs, but was mostly a positive first outing for the Coffee County Central Red Raiders.
The Raiders welcomed La Vergne to Carden-Jarrell Field Friday afternoon – offering many fans their first glimpse of the 2023 football squad.
The Raiders leaned heavy on the run game early – giving the Wolverines a steady dose of Caiden Martin. The sophomore tailback put together runs of 12, 17 and 25 yards on the Raiders’ first offensive possession. Those runs set up a 17-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Cole Pippenger to Caiden Warren.
That was the only score of the day for the Raiders. They ran four series of 10 offensive sets with mainly varsity players rotating before substituting liberally.
Martin had other big runs later in the day – ripping of gains of 18 and 20 on the ground.
On their last series the Raiders got inside the 10, but a Pippenger pass was tipped and picked off near the goal line.
The Raider defense that stymied many opponents in 2022 returns a plethora of starters, including a host of buffet busters up front, namely Blayne Myers, Tyler Smith and Claudio Vik.
But the linebacking group made big plays early. Newcomer Xavier Randolph snagged an interception on the third play of the game, snagging an errant throw after Jayden Carter pressured up the middle.
Defensively, the Raiders only allowed three first downs on La Vergne’s first three 10-play sets – 2 coming from poor tackling on wide receiver screens. La Vergne finally scored on its last varsity possession – a 48-yard wide receiver screen.
Coffee County will travel to Marshall County for a scrimmage next Friday beore hosting Cookeville on Aug. 9 to wrap the preseason schedule.
The Raiders open the regular season at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at Franklin County before hosting Tullahoma in the annual Coffee Pot rivalry on Aug. 25.
You can hear the Red Raiders all season on Thunder Radio WMSR, your home for Red Raider athletics since 1957. Listen in at 107.9 FM, 1320 AM, Manchester Go App and thunder1320.com. Friday Night Thunder pregame show begins at 6 p.m. every Friday.