The Red Raiders began the season on a high note as the team left Franklin County with a win in the season opener.
There were some questions regarding whether senior quarterback Connor Shemwell would be able to play in the season opener, as Shemwell was still recovering from a knee injury he suffered during the basketball season. Shemwell answered those questions on the third play of the game as he hit Kelby Walker on a pass that Walker turned into a long touchdown. The quarterback was pumped exclaiming “I’m back baby!” when the offense returned to the sideline. For Walker’s part the senior would go onto to score one more touchdown for the Red Raiders.
Konor Heaton was the bell cow back for the Red Raiders as the junior was ran in nearly every possession. Heaton had been finishing his runs had always initiating the contact on would be defenders. Heaton’s efforts finally culminated in a touchdown towards the end of the first half, but he continued to eat valuable clock from the Rebel’s comeback attempt.
Cole Pippenger was a highlight for the Red Raiders defensively. The freshman was involved in multiple broken up passes and had an interception, though the interception was turned given back to Franklin County as Pippenger fumbled when he was tackled. Linebacker Kendall James iced the game for the Red Raiders as he picked off the Rebels comeback attempt.
The game ended 21-14 in Coffee’s favor, but there was some strangeness during the game that should at least be brought up. Towards the end of the game Coffee County was called for having an illegal man down field which is normally just a five yard penalty, but when it happened Friday night Coffee was penalized a loss of down and then an unsportsmanlike penalty for fussing about it. To be fair the call ended up not mattering as Coffee still won, but the situation was so odd it bared mentioning. Coffee should have a test on their hands this week as Tullahoma comes to Manchester for the Coffee Pot.