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MANCHESTER – With a pair of wins in the last two weeks, Coffee County Central had an opportunity to save some pride and finish the season with three straight wins.
But the Cookeville Cavaliers took advantage of good starting field position and an inept Red Raider offense in a 33-7 win to close out the regular season.
“We struggled to finish drives and get anything going,” said Raider junior quarterback Peyton Meeker. “Not the way we wanted to finish things, for sure.”
The loss for Coffee County (2-8 overall / 1-3 District 6-AAA) ends a miserable season that saw playoff hopes slip away at midseason and the first seven games go into the loss column before winning two of the last three games.
The win sends Cookeville (5-5 / 4-0) into the TSSAA state football playoffs with a win.
Coffee County’s lone score came on a trick play late in the first half and the Cavaliers already leading 13-7. Senior receiver Jesse Brown took a pitch on a reverse and connected with Jeffery Simmons for a 57-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 13-7.
But Cookeville responded with a 50-yard score before halftime and a meticulous 80-yard drive to start the second half and take a 27-7 lead and effectively put the game out of reach.
Cookeville was able to take advantage of good field position early with its first two possessions starting inside the Raider 40-yard line – which was the case on six occasions. Coffee County averaged just 15.6 yards per punt.
Read more in next week’s print edition of the Manchester Times.