The Coffee County Red Raiders struggled offensively in the second half,
allowing Trey Burks and the Tullahoma Wildcats to score 14 unanswered points in a 31-21 victory over Coffee County in the 87th annual Coffee Pot game at Wilkins Stadium in Tullahoma.
The Raiders led 21-17 at halftime but were shutout in the second half.
“I am really proud of how the guys continued to fight until the final whistle,” stated CHS head coach Lee Davis. “We had some bad breaks in the game, but I give Tullahoma’s defense a lot of credit for limiting our opportunities in the second half.”
Clinging to a slim 21-17 lead at the half the Red Raiders allowed the Wildcats excellent starting position on the CHS side of the 50-yard line. Four plays later facing 2nd and 7 on the Raider’s nine-yard line, Burks rumbled in for the score, giving Tullahoma a 24-21 lead with 9:56 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wildcats blocked a CHS punt on the Red Raiders ensuing possession, setting the Tullahoma offense up at the Red Raider 41-yard line. The Wildcats drive was capped with a Burks 4-yard touchdown gallop with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter, putting the final score at 31-21 in favor of the Wildcats.
Burks finished the game with 96 yards rushing on 15 carries and two touchdowns. He also had an 81-yard punt return for a score.
The Raiders had their chances to convert fist downs in the second half, but a lack of execution prevented CHS from sustaining drives.
“We moved the ball up and down the field in the second half,” said CHS quarterback Peyton Meeker. “When it came to 3rd-down- and long situations, we dropped passes and did not execute. We make those plays and we probably win this game.”
Meeker finished 16 of 25 in the game with139 passing yards and an interception.
CHS trailed 14-0 in the first quarter after Burk’s 81- yard punt return at the 7:27 mark in the first quarter.
Tullahoma’s Zane Price gave the Wildcats their second score of the night as he reeled in a 9-yard pass from quarterback Justin Brown with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Red Raiders cut the deficit to 14-7 on their next possession as Meeker connected with Chris Vaughn on a 23-yard touchdown strike with 10:58 in the second quarter.
Two Wildcat offensive possessions later, Red Raider Justin Smith tied the game as he took Brown’s pass back the other way for a 70-yard interception return, tying the game at 14-14 with 8:06 remaining until the half.
“It was crazy to return that pass for a touchdown,” said Smith. “It felt really good.”
The Wildcats added a 32-yard field goal by Cody Morton after sputtering on the Raiders 21-yard line, giving Tullahoma a 17-14 advantage with 5:29 remaining in the half.
The Red Raiders scored on their following possession, facing a 3rd-down and three situation, Deangelo Rozier galloped 68 yards for the scamper with 4:09 left in the half, allowing CHS to take a 21-17 lead into the half.
The Red Raiders will need to rebound quickly, as they will face district foe White County Friday night in Manchester.
More information on the Coffee Pot game will be posted as soon as it becomes available.