Ahead of this week's game, Coffee County football was coming off a 41-14 homecoming loss to Cookeville. Added issues included the loss of players to sickness.
That didn't stop CHS on Friday, October 4 against Rockvale. The Red Raiders stepped up on both sides of the ball to defeat the Rockets 44-13, winning by a very similar margin to their loss the week before.
"We had a lot of adversity this week. Coach Horn's father passed away, so we were without him for a few days. We've had several players sick, we didn't have a running back tonight," Coach Doug Greene said. "What's nice is our two quarterbacks are pretty versatile. They're really good friends and we kind of made that work."
One of those quarterbacks, Matthew Pittman, filled in for much of the running game Friday night. The junior had a huge night, with four touchdowns on the way to the victory.
On the defensive side, Pittman also added a fourth-quarter interception.
"We came out, we executed, we performed," Pittman said. "We were fortunate with the amount of things we came through this week, we were persistent and we just pushed through it and practiced, practiced, practiced."
Greene explained that the team's goal was to get off to a fast start and not let Rockvale climb back like Siegel had in the Raiders' win on September 20. He added that the team did a better job at limiting mistakes than it had against Cookeville.
He went on to commend the effort of the CHS defense to hold Rockvale to 13 points.
"The defense, we set edges, we ran to the ball," Greene said. "You saw guys playing with a lot more intensity and that's a much better job."
The Raiders got on the board on their first drive. Less than five minutes into the game, Conner Shemwell connected with C.J. Anthony on a 29-yard pass to the end zone to put CHS ahead 7-0.
After the Rockets hit the tying touchdown with 7:49 left in the second quarter, CHS answered right back on its next possession. Starting on their own 37-yard line, Pittman broke free for a 63-yard run to the end zone to put the Raiders ahead by seven.
Right before halftime, Felix Salinas added on a field goal to make it a 17-7 CHS lead at the break.
The deficit only grew in the second half. CHS opened its first offensive possession on the Rockvale 47-yard line after the Rockets turned the ball over on downs. The drive culminated in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Shemwell to Collin Ward.
The CHS offense came right back onto the field after an interception from Andrew Hite on Rockvale's next possession. Pittman then took a 14-yard carry to the end zone to raise the lead even further.
Starting the fourth quarter on the CHS seven-yard line, Rockvale punched the ball in to cut the deficit to 31-13 after a failed two-point conversion.
Just like the last Rocket touchdown, Pittman again took off for a long touchdown run on the first play of the next CHS possession. Pittman added his fourth and final trip to the end zone less than three minutes later to seal the win.
"[Pittman's] a gifted athlete, he's still not a hundred percent. He's still coming off that injury last year, but he's a bright kid, he works hard and he's kind of blossoming," Greene said. "We're tickled to have him and we're gonna use him and Conner and all of our guys as best we can."
CHS will be back on the road on Friday, October 11, to take on Maplewood. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.