Matthew Pittman

Mathew Pittman rushes the ball up the field in the first quarter. This was one of Coffee County's only offensive gains of the half.

Offensive issues continued to hinder the Coffee County High School football team on Friday night against Oakland. The Red Raiders finished with 103 yards on offense, but struggled to convert first downs much of the night in a 53-0 loss to the Patriots.

"I thought the kids once again played with heart," Coach Ryan Sulkowski said. "That's one thing that nobody can say all season long is that we haven't played four quarters and played every play to the maximum of our ability."

One of the best teams in the state, Oakland backed up their reputation on both sides of the ball. The Patriots recovered two fumbles and a safety off a blocked kick and allowed only six first downs from the Raiders. The Patriots offense finished the night with 351 yards with seven touchdowns and a field goal.

"They're the number-two ranked team in the state for a reason," Coach Sulkowski said. "I thought we were in position defensively to get some stops and maybe just fell out here and there."

Oakland started off with a touchdown in their first drive off running back Mookie Wilson. Trouble began for the Raiders on the ensuing possession. The Patriots recovered a fumble on second down to put them on the Coffee County 16.

Oakland quarterback Brevin Linnell went on to throw a 12-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Woodi Washington and Coffee County found themselves in a 14-0 hole early in the first quarter.

Oakland continued their offensive onslaught for much of the first half and Coffee County struggled to pick up first downs. Near the end of the first quarter the Raiders got themselves a first down off a run by sophomore Matthew Pittman, who was injured on the play. Freshman Conner Shemwell followed up with a nine-yard carry but the Raiders would turn over on downs.

On the other side of the ball, the Raider defense was able to recover a fumble of their own with 5:29 left in the second quarter. The offense was unable to capitalize and went three and out. Meanwhile, Oakland scored all seven of their touchdowns in the first half and their lead ballooned to 50-0 by halftime.

In the second half Coffee County was able to slow down the Patriots, limiting them to a field goal.

The Raiders offense showed some promise in the fourth quarter off a string of solid rushes from sophomore Marshal Haney and junior Tanner Hulvey. Despite the turnarounds there wasn't enough time to capitalize and the Raiders remained scoreless through the end of the game. 

"We just have to go back to try something new," Coach Sulkoski said. "We know our weaknesses. We have to try to bounce back next week and try to find some answers, and we'll do that."

The Red Raiders hit the road next Friday, Oct. 5, to take on the Lebanon Blue Devils.

Staff Writer

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