After a difficult week of threats, the disruptions of a few, did not spoil things for the two teams competing for the “Coffee Pot.” They settled things on the field.
The 97th meeting between Coffee County and Tullahoma ended in a 35-14 win for the Red Raiders. The win by Coffee County broke two Wildcat streaks. It stopped a five-game winning streak in the “Coffee Pot” and 16 wins overall going back to the beginning of last season.
Konor Heaton got his big scoring night started as ran in the first score of the night at Wilkins Stadium in Tullahoma. The 15-yard run with 4:15 left in the first quarter and Manny Gonzales kick made it 7-0 Raiders. As time ran out in the 1st, Heaton would rush into the endzone from 8 yards away to give Coffee County a 14-0 advantage.
As time ran out in the first half the Wildcats would cut the lead in half (14-7) when Jaxon Sheffield pushed his way across the goal line on a one-yard run. As the 3rd quarter began, Tullahoma got the ball at midfield and 1:23 later the Cats tied the game at 14 when Nathan Delaughter tossed a 49-yard pass to Jalen Hill.
The very determined Red Raiders would get the ball back and put together an 88-yard drive, ending when QB Cole Pippenger threw the ball toward the endzone it was tipped, but Jaiden Foster hauled it in for an 11-yard touchdown reception with 4:28 left in the 3rd. With 1:17 remaining the quarter, Coffee County would score again when Konnor Heaton took a Pippenger pass and crisscrossed his way over Dub Cooper Field and picked up an excellent block from WR Ian Welden for a 39-yard TD. This gave the school from Manchester a lead of 28-14. The Raiders and Heaton scored their final TD (Konnor’s 4th) as he ran in from 2 yards away with 10:40 left in the game to make the final score 35-14.
After the game became tied at 14, Defensive Coordinator Roger Haynes got his players playing outstanding football as they held Tullahoma scoreless for the final 22:43. Two names that were called multiple times during the Rooster 101.5 broadcast on defense were Jayden Carter who made several tackles and Tyler Smith who put a lot of pressure on the Wildcat quarterbacks.
Sophomore QB Cole Pippenger had a break-out game as he rushed 9 times for 71 yards and connected on 14 of 25 passes and two touchdowns. Pippenger had over 240 yards of total offense and was named the Rooster 101.5 and Great American Rivalry Series MVP. Senior wideout Travis Martin had a big night receiving the ball as he made some spectacular catches, seven in all for 170 yards. Heaton who had the four scores, rushed 22 times for 68 hard earned yards.
Credit must also be given to the big boys upfront as the offensive line blocked extremely well all night. TE Osborne, LT Robbie Gilley, LG Russell Ralph, Center Daryn Strickland RG Jathan Cassel and RT Javon Simmons start for the Raiders
The Cats who lost all but one starter from last year’s Class 4-A state championship team managed 133 yards passing, mostly from Delaughter, with Mason Bratcher adding some late game yardage. Sheffield rushed for 42 yards on 13 totes and scored once.
Raider Head Coach Doug Greene told Rooster 101.5 that after Tullahoma tied the game at 14 his team focused on the task and drove the ball 88 yards to take the lead again. He said they were determined to answer the Wildcat TD and they did. Coach Greene was very proud of his team’s effort and said they turned a big corner in the win.
Coffee County (1-1) will host Shelbyville (0-2) in region action on Friday night at Carden-Jarrell Field beginning at 7 PM. The Rooster 101.5 will be on the air at 6:30 PM with the pregame. You can also hear the game on rooster1015.com and the Rooster 101.5 app.
Top photo: Coffee County celebrates in front of the sellout crowd after their win on Friday night