Something has stuck with me ever since I left Saturday’s history-making win at Charlie Dalton Gym. After the game – the first ever boys region game played locally – Chris Sullens started talking about the crowd. In the midst of praising the fans, he made a salient point.
“Warren County supports as well as anybody in this area when you give them a product on the floor to support,” said Sullens after guiding his team to a 12-point victory in a crowded – and very loud – gym.
He’s right. Warren County does have one of the most passionate fanbases in the area. And when the Pioneers or Lady Pioneers start winning, it seems to grow exponentially.
I saw it in the fall when the football team seemed to find its stride. Coach Matt Turner started it from the first game, planning a code red night which absolutely packed Nunley Stadium with shouting Pioneer fans that looked like a red wall greeting DeKalb County.
It continued as the wins got bigger. The sensational comeback win to beat Rockvale was in front of thousands. Somehow, the crowd got even bigger – and better – for homecoming when Warren County rallied to beat Siegel.
It dates back even further though.
Back last spring, Gooby Martin and the Lady Pioneer softball team were the talk of the town for a month. When Warren County claimed its first region championship at home, there wasn’t a seat that wasn’t filled. For that matter, there were barely any places around the entire field that didn’t have fans peeking through or over the fence to catch a glimpse of the Lady Pioneers.
When the Lady Pioneers took the field with a chance to make it to the state, there were over a thousand fans swarming the fence, all suited up in red, white and blue.
Fan support usually is one thing Warren County does exceedingly well in athletics. For years, I’ve seen fans show up through everything – hot or cold, rain or snow – to see the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers play. Interest may wane through the season if the results started to trend the wrong way, but those who remained were always loud and supportive.
Right now, Warren County is on a hot streak when it comes to sports. The last three seasons have produced a region championship in the spring, a fun football team in the fall and a district championship in basketball. Diehard Pioneer fans are being developed by the day.
Here’s hoping the trend continues this spring.