The Coffee County Red Raiders (0-4 district, 0-8 overall) will face their toughest opponent yet this season when they travel to Shelbyville tonight to take on the Golden Eagles.
The Raiders and Eagles go into tonight’s contest nearly at opposite poles of the District 8-AAA standings. Shelbyville (3-1 District, 5-3 overall) is in second place behind Lincoln County (4-0 district), while Coffee County is the only 8-AAA team without a district win.
CHS head coach Lee Davis acknowledged that keeping pace with Shelbyvill will take everything the Raiders have.
“We’ve got to come out and play the best game and have zero mistakes,” Davis said.
The Eagles’ only district loss was a 36-33 squeeker at Tullahoma Sept. 6. For the past three weeks, however, Shelbyville has owned the field. The Eagles’ have been enjoying blowout district wins, against Franklin County (44-7), Lincoln County (41-0) and Columbia Central (42-7). The win against Columbia was Shelbyville’s first against the Lions in 21 years. Against those same teams Coffee County is 0-3 with an average deficit of nearly 30 points.
Offensively, Shelbyville’s biggest threat is sophomore running back Michael Eddings (#3). Over the past three games Eddings has averaged just over 10 yards per carry on 32 touches. He is by no means, however, the only player Coffee County needs to keep in check. At 220 pounds, senior running back Dallas Castleman (#24) is a powerful threat both as a rusher and receiver. Tight end O.J. Davis (#2), and wide receivers Tyler Eddings (#6) and Detrell Carpenter (#4) have also been effective in hauling in passes. Sophomore quarterback Mason Cunningham (#7) has been throwing bulls-eyes the past three games and has given up no interceptions in passing for a three-game total of 501 yards.
The past three games Shelbyville has made 14 of 25 third-down conversions and gained an average of 21 first downs per game while allowing an average of only 10.
The biggest turnaround for Shelbyville this season has been by the defense, which went from allowing an average of 34 points per game in the Eagles’ first five outings to just under five their last three.
Coffee County has also improved defensively in its past three games. Although last week’s match at Lincoln County was a 47-7 loss for the Red Raiders, the Falcons’ dominance was fueled with six interceptions by the Lincoln County defense.
For their ground game Coffee County will likely continue depending on running backs Cody Howes and Dalton Carter, who combined for 59 yards on 13 carries last week at Fayetteville. In recent games Davis has also called on Gavin Husted, Reece Pratt and Ben Hosea to carry the ball.
In addition to senior wide receiver Chris Vaughn and junior Cole Hawkins, Raiders Grayson Miller, Boone Riddle, John Reece Gilmer, Garrett Eldridge, Howes, Carter and others may also catch passes from quarterback Peyton Meeker tonight.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. For directions to Shelbyville High School, click here.