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Special teams miscues, turnovers doom Raiders in Rockvale loss

Red Raider lineman Claudio Vik (72) fights through a Rockvale lineman to pressure Rocket quarterback Brennan Mayhew Friday night, Sept. 29, 2023. -- Photo by Holly Peterson, THUNDER RADIO WMSR 107.9 FM 1320 AM

Special teams and turnovers proved to be a house of horrors for which their was no escape for the Coffee County Red Raider football team Friday night.

The Red Raiders squandered opportunities and Rockvale scored on two non-offensive touchdowns and two very short fields to go on and beat the Red Raiders 31-7 Friday night in Manchester – a game you heard live on Thunder Radio.

The loss makes 6 straight for Coffee County and drops the Red Raiders to 1-6 on the year. While not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, wins over state power Oakland and Blackman would be needed to sneak in as a no. 4 seed now.

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Coffee County was driving on its second possession of the game and reached the Rockvale 5. But a Caiden Martin fumble on third down forced the Raiders to try a 24-yard field goal that was blocked by Rockvale’s Malik Hicks, who scooped up his own block and ran it all the way back for a touchdown to put Rockvale up 7-0.

And that’s the kind of night it was for Coffee County.

Trailing 7-0, Red Raider Xavier Randolph blocked a Rockvale punt and then scooped it up. Randolph appeared destined for the end zone with no defenders nearby but dropped the football near the 15-yard line and had to fall on top of it. Two plays later a Caiden Martin fumble was scooped up by Rockvale’s DJ Thornton, who rumbled 90 yards the other direction for the second non-offensive touchdown for the Rockets.

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Rockvale’s only offensive touchdown of the first half came on a short, 13-yard field after Caiden Warren fumbled a kick return that was recovered by Wrylan Hodges. Rockvale scored on 4th down from 4-yards out and led 21-0 at the half.

Rockvale tacked on a 20-yard field goal and then scored on another short field midway through the fourth quarter after a punt return to the Raider 8.

Coffee County added a touchdown during the mercy-rule clock time. Caiden Martin scored from 7 yards out with 2:37 on the clock. It was the first home touchdown for the Red Raiders all season, a drought that spanned nearly 16 quarters.

The Raiders will be off next Friday before traveling to Oakland on Oct. 15.

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Martin led Coffee County in yardage with 64 yards on 14 carries. Jayden Carter turned in 32 yards on 8 totes.

John Massengill was 7-of-16  passing for 59 yards and an interception, which came on the first drive of the night.

Jaiden had a season high 25 yards receiving on 2 catches.

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Coffee County’s defense forced a turnover when Austin Green intercepted a Brennan Mayhew pass.

Neither team was particularly effective on offense. Rockvale outgained CHS 191 to 130.

It was the first win over Coffee County in program history for Rockvale. Previously the Raiders were 4-0 all time against the Rockets.


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