“Why don’t you all support the Pioneers?”
I hear it every single time somebody on the Pigskin Panel decides to pick against Warren County in a game, even though 99 percent of the time that person isn’t me. I’m sure I’ll hear it again Friday in Murfreesboro.
If you turn to 2B, and I hope you do, you’ll see three Panel members took the Warriors, including myself. I won’t speak for Seth Wright and Dale Stubblefield, but I’m fully capable of explaining my reasoning - I think Riverdale is better.
Granted, that’s usually not enough for Pioneer fans. Deep down, I’m sure they probably know a team that won this same matchup 53-0 last year is probably still better, no matter how improved Warren County is under first-year head coach Matt Turner. They want blind loyalty.
I get it. Nobody wants to see the Pioneers cast in a negative light, especially if it’s the guy who is the “sports authority” in town. Everybody wants to see glowing reviews and read spectacular stories of how great the Pioneers are.
Here’s the secret – I would love nothing more than to write those every single week. It’d make my job 100 times easier and a lot more fun. The problem is the product on the field doesn’t always justify it – though this year has been a lot different.
When Turner took the job and held his first booster club meeting, I was told (by multiple people) one parent in the crowd stood up and asked, I’m paraphrasing, “how can we make Simmons stop being negative?” That was asked less than a year after I had retired the “Good, Bad and Ugly,” column and had been asked by the booster club to speak to the team before a game because of my upbeat tone.
The reality is, I can’t please everybody. I can only be honest in my assessment of the Pioneers.
I am ecstatic about the job Turner has done this year. I’ve told him as much. It’s been eye-opening to see a team fight for 48 minutes every week and continue to improve. It’s just not enough for me to think the Pioneers are ready to win their first road game against one of the best teams in the state.
While I have people paying attention to my predictions, I’ll make a couple more. If the Pioneers don’t lose multiple players next year, they’ll break a 30-year streak of losing seasons.
And when Riverdale comes to Nunley Stadium next year, I’ll pick Warren County.