By Josh Peterson, Editor
It didn’t take Deangelo Rozier long to continue the momentum Coffee County Central started building a week ago Friday night.
He was there in the in the end to make sure the Raiders carried that momentum into another week, too.
The junior tailback busted a 78-yard touchdown run on Coffee County’s first possession and scored the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter, this time from 72 yards out, to help the Red Raiders to a 21-20 win over the visiting Franklin County Rebels at Carden-Jarrell Field in Manchester.
“The kids are finally starting to reap the rewards of all the hard work they put in,” said CHS head coach Lee Davis.
Despite being outmatched on paper and not beating the Rebels since 2007, Raider quarterback Peyton Meeker didn’t see the win as an upset.
“We didn’t think this game was an upset, we knew we could beat them,” said Meeker, who finished 10-17 for 84 yards and an interception. “We knew if we worked hard all week we could win our second straight.”
Rozier’s final touchdown with nine minutes to play put the Raiders back in the lead that they held for most of the game and the defense held on from there to finish with 20 points or less allowed for the second straight week. Franklin County only managed 207 yards of total offense.
“Everybody stepped up and we played for each other,” said Rozier.
Rozier finished with 230 yards and three scores on 32 totes – his best night of the season. His 72-yard score put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He also scored from the 1-yard line in the second quarter when he leaped the pile on 3rd-and-goal, sending the Raiders into halftime with a 15-6 lead and making him accountable for all three Red Raider scores
The win was the second in a row for Coffee County (2-7 overall / 1-2 District 6-AAA) after starting the season 0-7. The win also means the Raiders have a chance to match last year’s 3-7 record if they can upset Cookeville (4-5 overall) next week in Manchester. The loss dropped Franklin County to 5-4 and was the third loss in four games for the Rebels after starting 4-1.
“We are just playing for pride now,” said Davis, noting the Raiders are out of the playoff hunt. “[We are playing for] the love of the game and the love of each other. We can just pin our ears back and do what we want.”
Do what they want is exactly what the Raiders did Friday night on homecoming.
After Rozier busted free to put the Raiders up 6-0 early, Davis elected to go for two-points instead of the kick and the conversion was good to give CHS a 8-0 lead.
Franklin County answered just minutes later with a touchdown pass but the Raiders blocked the extra point to leave the score at 8-6.
Rozier’s next score capped an 80-yard drive and came on third down from the 1-yard line. He leaped the pile and David Morgan’s extra point put CHS up 15-6 at halftime.
The Raiders lost the lead in the second half when Layton Wells capped a long Rebel drive with a touchdown run with 2:53 to play in the third quarter to cut the Raider lead to 15-13. A few plays later, Meeker was hit from behind before he could get off a screen pass and the ball was plucked out of the air by Rebel linebacker Justin Campbell, who ran in for a score from 25-yards out to give Franklin County its only lead – 20-15.