The Red Raiders Central High School football team went to McMinnville Friday night with a 0-3 record and having gained less than 100-yards of offense in each of their last two games. Those problems disappeared against the Warren County Pioneers.
Senior tailback Andrew Mahaffey eclipsed the 300-yard mark and CHS pulled away in a 35-13 win over the Warren County Pioneers.
"We felt it was kind of a must win," said CHS head coach Ryan Sulkowski. "We knew we had to come out and get it."
Leading the offense for the Raiders was Mahaffey. Early in the game Mahaffey took a hand off from sophomore quarterback Matthew Pittman seven yards to the end zone to put Coffee County on the board first. On the other side, the Pioneers offense was led by senior wide receiver Eric Heywood, who had his own 71-yard touchdown run on Warren County's next possession. A missed extra point conversion kept the Raiders in the lead 7-6. Later in the first quarter Mahaffey found his second touchdown on a 66-yard run, putting the Raiders up 14-6. Mahaffey finished the night with 303 yards on 35 carries and two touchdowns.
"I couldn't have done it without my O-line," an exhausted Mahaffey said after the game. "This is a great confidence win for us."
On the next Pioneers drive sophomore quarterback Clay Thompson attempted a pass to senior wide receiver Aaron Myers that turned into a fumble recovered by senior Raider lineman Eli Norton. This set up great field position on the Warren County 32, where Pittman faked a handoff and got outside the Pioneer defense for a 32-yard score to put CHS up 21-6.
With just over four minutes left in the first half, Heywood scored Warren County's second touchdown of the night on a 45-yard run. The touchdown brought Coffee County's lead down to 21-13 going into halftime. Heywood finished the game for the Pioneers with 179 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Warren County's final touchdown of the night, though, as the Raiders (1-3 overall) pitched a shutout in the second half.
In the last two minutes of the third quarter, the Raiders scored their first non-rushing touchdown of the season on a 25-yard pass from Pittman to senior wide receiver Trace Bryant, who got behind the safety in the end zone to make it a 28-13 game. The Raiders followed up with one more late in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run from sophomore Marshal Haney.
"This is their win. We kind of directed them and guided them where they needed to be and I couldn't be more proud of them than anything else," added Sulkowski.
Coffee County returns home next week, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. to take on the Cookeville Cavaliers (3-2 overall).