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Ready to bounce back

The goal for the Warren County High School boys soccer team is a simple one. The Pioneers want to win more games.
Warren County struggled a season ago, finishing the year with just three wins as the team struggled in District 6-AAA play.
The Pioneers are hoping to make a bigger impact in district play and coach Todd Willmore is giving his team plenty of early tests in preparation for the regular season.
Armed with a solid group of seven seniors who have plenty of experience, coach Willmore has set up three preseason scrimmages, one played against Oakland already, and entered his team in the DeKalb County playday which will add four or five more games to the preseason work.
The Oakland scrimmage gave coach Willmore hope his team has taken a big step from last season.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half and went to halftime tied 1-1,” said Willmore. “In the second half, we did a lot of substitutions and they got a couple goals.
“For it being our first scrimmage while they have already had a couple outings, I thought we played well against a quality team.”
Helping the cause for the Pioneers against Oakland was six starting seniors, led by returning All-District 6-AAA selection Davis Adcock and last year’s leading scorer Robert Eschenbacher.
Adcock is the anchor of the Pioneer defense, the player coach Willmore always expects to be in the right place at the right time. Adcock was great at erasing most mistakes last season as he garnered all-district recognition as a junior.
Eschenbacher was a leader on offense a year ago and will once again be the catalyst when the Pioneers look to score. With the size and speed to keep defenders at bay, Eschenbacher could have a breakout season scoring for Warren County.
Hozzy Macias and Garrett Ortiz will be patrolling the midfield, where each have their specialties. Macias is an unselfish passer who can locate and facilitate the offense on the fly. Ortiz, who has committed to attend Tennessee Temple next fall, is a defensive-minded midfielder who coach Willmore can rely on.
Jacob Grissom and Andrew Crouch each move around a lot, having played multiple positions as juniors. Crouch is penciled in to play outside back for the Pioneers this year while Grissom will play offense and defense.
One place where the Pioneers will have to improve this season is at keeper. Last year, Warren County tried several different players at the position and nobody could hold onto the position.
This year, the battle looks to be between freshman Evan Reynolds and sophomore Jacob Dodd. Coach Willmore believes each have shown progress since practice began in February.
“Both guys are doing pretty good, but I’m still watching to see how they progress,” said Willmore. “It’s tough not knowing what to expect because they haven’t played varsity, but they’ve looked good.”
Ethan Bandy, Lane Steakley, Cole Millard and Johnny Smith will also look to make an impact this season as they add depth to the Pioneers.
The Pioneers will continue their preseason scrimmages Tuesday at Webb School. Warren County will be back at home Thursday with a scrimmage against Stone Memorial that starts at 5:30 p.m. The DeKalb County playday will be all day Saturday.
The season begins with a road game at Tullahoma on Tuesday, March 12. The first home match will be Tuesday, March 19 against Ooltewah.

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