The Rebels (2-4) and Raiders (0-6) come into Friday’s game following painful losses each in their last games. Last week Franklin County was pulverized by district opponent Shelbyville, 44-7, to snap a two-game winning streak and shatter what had begun to look like a turn-around for head coach Jim Carr and the Rebels.
For their part the Red Raiders lost their only game this season within easy reach as they allowed a fourth-quarter lead to slip away in a disheartening 16-14 loss at Stone Memorial.
Both CHS and Franklin County enter Friday’s game with similar strength and success ratings, and both are ranked close together among Tennessee’s 6A teams. The Raiders should have another opportunity for a win–provided they limit the yardage of Franklin County’s go-to man at running back: senior D.J. Samuel (#11), who gained more than 300 yards in each of the Rebels’ victories, against Tullahoma and Marshall County. At Shelbyville, however, he managed only 60 yards in 13 carries.
To see footage of Samuel in action, click here.
A.J. Blackwell has also shown the ability to carry the ball well from Franklin County’s Wing-T offense. Another offensive threat for Franklin County will be kicker Tyler Rhoten, who has proven his skill at hitting long field goals, including a 37-yarder against Tullahoma.
The exact team the Rebels field, however, will depend on which players have come back from a number of injuries reportedly suffered against Shelbyville. In that department the Raiders will have a distinct advantage after being off last Friday.
Although the offense has been strong, the Rebels defense has yielded a lot of points and yardage this season. Lincoln County, for example, rushed for 441 yards on the way to a 35-20 district victory, and Tullahoma gained 350 yards overall against the Rebels. Against Lebanon the Franklin County offensive line allowed quarterback Moore Whitson to be sacked five times, and overall this season opponents are averaging more than 30 points per game against Franklin County.
For their part the Raiders will continue to rely offensively on quarterback Peyton Meeker’s arm to connect with receivers Chris Vaughn, Cole Hawkins, Boone Riddle, John Reece Gilmer, Garrett Eldridge and others. Dalton Carter and Cody Howes are expected to continue to enjoy the lions’ share of carries on the ground.
On defense the Raiders linebackers and defensive backs such as Seth Thomson and Tyrese McGee have shown grit and tenacity this season. Aganst Franklin County the defensive line will also need to shine in order to contain Samuel up close before he has the opportunity to move out of traffic.
The Raiders’ defense has improved each game this season, and if that trend continues, then on Friday Coffee County may well enjoy its first football win this season.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m.