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Pioneers take home top spots

New Pioneer coach Scott Smith probably thought in January he’d stop winning in Moore County. After all, he left the Raiders to take the open football position at Warren County High School. It seems like Smith hasn’t lost his winning touch in Lynchburg though.
Smith guided the Pioneers to two championships Saturday while taking part in 7-on-7 scrimmages and big-man challenges at Moore County. Warren County won each event while competing against Moore County, Cascade, Page and Columbia Academy.
The Pioneers started with a leg up on their competition as Smith fielded two squads in each contest in hopes of showing off his team’s newfound depth against the loaded field in Lynchburg. The plan worked as Warren County’s A team took home the top spot both times.
While the 7-on-7 teams were busy scoring touchdowns, Warren County’s offensive and defensive lines were busy dominating competition in such lifting events as bench pressing and power clean. The Pioneers also stood out in team events, including a tug-of-war, 5-man sled pull, prowler push and truck push. Dylan George, Jarrett Winfree, Brock Watson, Ethan Stuart and Raleigh Woods excelled in each event to help the Pioneers take home the big-man challenge trophy.
Warren County was able to make it a clean sweep when its A team dominated play in the 7-on-7 games. Led by Hunter Gudat at quarterback, the A team was able to pile up points against the competition while soon-to-be seniors Tristan Reish and Zech Clark led a stingy defense.
Gudat had plenty of options to choose from while moving the Pioneers down the field. Adrian Lusk once again looked like an emerging target on the outside as he made play after play and scored several touchdowns on receptions from Gudat. Jordan Tidwell and Brandon Velazquez also showed reliable hands while snagging passes.
Bryson Lewis and Jordan Bonner – two options in the backfield for the Pioneers this fall – worked well as receiving options too.
Reish and Clark, both starters on the Pioneer stop unit for the last three years, were aided by the sturdy corner play of Quandre Knowles, Rickie King and Ethan Fliss.
Coach Smith was excited to get the wins, but the opportunity of working against opponents was the real benefit the new coach took from Saturday.
“I think the key thing in going to the 7-on-7’s and big-man challenges is the chance to compete as a team and gain confidence in our offensive and defensive schemes,” said Smith. “The chance to compete against other teams breaks the monotony of practicing against ourselves and, by taking two teams, we were able to double the number of kids who were able to get valuable practice reps. Hopefully that will pay dividends in the fall.”
Surviving and thriving on a hot day in Moore County also showed coach Smith the grit he wanted from his Pioneers.
“It was an incredibly hot day, which pushed the kids to both their physical and mental limits,” said Smith. “I think the more times we can put our kids in tough situations, the better feel we get for how they will react on Friday nights.”
Smith will be showcasing the Pioneers at MTSU this Saturday when the team competes against 30 of the top teams from across the state. Smith hopes his team continues to make positive strides against fierce competition.
“I think it is good for our football team to see and play talented teams from other areas of the state. It gives us a goal to strive for and, at the same time, allows us to measure where we are and how much further we have to go to becoming a viable 6A program,” said Smith.

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