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Simmons Says - Pioneers need more numbers

Football season is upon us. This Friday, the Pioneers will make the trip to Smithville to renew the fierce rivalry with the Tigers.

Warren County and DeKalb County have been as even as can be since starting to play yearly in 2005. The Pioneers took a 7-6 lead in the series last fall, winning 26-10 behind a stellar defense and the playmaking of Isaiah Grayson.

Some may be shocked to see the series that close between a 6A squad like the Pioneers and the 4A Tigers. If you’re one of these people, travel to Smithville Friday and bring a notepad to count the players on each sideline.
Much like the wins for each team in the series, they’ll be almost identical.

Coach Tom Moore is doing a commendable job keeping everything upbeat around the program, including an encouraging week of practice after a tough outing in Tullahoma. Friday’s indoor workout concluded with coaches and players chest-bumping, high-fiving and celebrating a string of successful plays.

It was the second most interesting thing I saw Friday in regards to the football program. The first had nothing to do with the Pioneers, but tells an interesting story none the less.

Matt Jackson posted his soccer roster for the spring (story on 2B). Jackson’s roster has 33 players, just shy of the 37 Pioneers I counted in pads during Friday’s workout.

It led me to doing some research. In May, basketball coach Chris Sullens announced two rosters totaling 33 players. Just last month, Trice Powers kept 35 players for next spring’s baseball team.
The football roster has been in flux, but I feel safe in saying there’s less than 10 crossover athletes when it comes to the football team.

I’m not saying kids should be made to play football. Nor do I think  coaches of other sports owe it to football to encourage their players to take the gridiron (though I believe most do anyway). All I'd like to see is more multi-sport athletes.

It’d be interesting to see 6-foot-5 basketball player Brad Caten trot in as a redzone threat. All-district outfielder Ethan Smith would probably be electric as a kick returner. John Jackson has a strong leg, perhaps he could erase returns by opposing teams with bombs into the endzone.

At the very least, I’d love to see the 90-plus kids on other teams suit up and stand on the sideline with their classmates, many I’m sure they’ve played sports with or against in their lives.
Their encouragement alone, much less the skills I’m sure they could add if they wanted, would be a huge boost.

There’s still time to unite the Pioneers.