It’s only four more Fridays before the Pioneers make the short trip down Smithville Highway to face off with the Tigers. Warren County, coming off a 3-7 season, will have to be a road warrior in August, where all three of its games will be played away from Nunley Stadium.
Those four Fridays will all be busy for coach Tom Moore’s squad. This week, Warren County is scheduled to make the trip to Lincoln County for a scrimmage. The Pioneers follow with a trip to Tullahoma Friday, Aug. 3 for another trial run against the Wildcats.
By the time the Pioneers take the field in Smithville Friday, Aug. 17, Moore should have a good grip on what his team will look like. Just from seeing some 7-on-7 work a few trends already seem to be emerging.
Let’s look at three things that could be pivotal for the Pioneers this fall.
Raven Lewandowski – The senior should play a huge role on both sides. He’s an intimidating presence in the middle of the field defensively, making opposing receivers hear footsteps when the 6-foot-2 safety closes in to lower the boom.
Lewandowski can also use his size as an advantage offensively. He has the speed to create space on the outside or the strength and hands to work over the middle for the Pioneer quarterbacks.
Expect a big season from the senior.
Dueling quarterbacks – Clay Thompson and Bryson Elrod will probably spend the next month duking it out for the starting job at signal caller. Thompson got a few snaps last season, but neither have much experience at the varsity level to lean on in the competition.
Both have good arms and can move around a little bit. Thompson may have a tiny leg up, but his value at cornerback (where he’ll likely be in the rotation) could lead to splitting snaps into the season.
Big backs – It may not matter who settles in at quarterback. Whichever wins out will probably spend the majority of their time turning around and feeding the ball to the Pioneer backs.
Jay Rozier showed enough as a sophomore last season to garner 15-20 touches per game. He’s a bully between the tackles, relishing in knocking back defenders for extra yards.
Coming off a knee injury, CJ Taylor should also get a chance to tote the rock. He can get downhill in a hurry. Taylor also has good hands as a receiver, as does Eric Haywood – another player Moore has used out of the backfield to create mismatches.
It may be three yards at a time, but the Pioneers should be able to grind their way to some wins this fall.