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Back to the grind
Rising sophomore Braden Herman works hard in the weight room during the Pioneer Lift-A-Thon. Warren County raised over $20,000 with the fundraiser.

Back-to-back seasons with just one win has weighed heavily on the Pioneers. Coaches went back to the drawing board and the players hit the weights and started training harder, hoping this fall will turn out different. Last week was the first time where the WCHS football team got to see what kind of gains it made in the offseason.

The new-look Pioneers took the field last week for the first week of spring practice. Most of the work was done in just helmets, but Thursday had some pads popping as Warren County was able to put on shoulder pads and get in work. Coach Matt Turner, entering his fifth season at the helm, didn’t need to see his team out on the gridiron long to buy into the energy flowing through the program.

“It just felt a little different – the tempo was up, the kids were positive, we were doing things fast,” said Turner. “That doesn’t mean we were perfect. We still have to take it step-by-step and learn new things, but everybody had a renewed sense of purpose and lots of energy.”

Players were buzzing coming into practice last week after raising over $20,000 at the Lift-A-Thon held May 5 at the WCHS indoor facility. The money was a big benefit for the team, but what stood out more was the speed and strength on display during the event.

Warren County had eight players clock 40-yard dash times in under five seconds, including Jerren Harris and Adrian Harris posting times of 4.61 and 4.63 seconds, respectively. They were some of the best times Turner has seen since doing the skills challenges for the Lift-A-Thon during his tenure.

“Those times are right up there with CJ (Taylor) and Clay (Thompson), and we know how fast those guys looked on the field,” said Turner. “We probably would’ve had 10 or more get under five seconds if we had all our skill guys here from all sports.”

Dylan Aguilar, Creed Adams, Lukas Bernhardt, Brayden Knight, Isaiah Robledo and Silas Martin were all clocked until five seconds in the 40.

In the weight room, rising sophomore JR Mares led the way with a squat of 415 pounds and 315-pound bench press. Martin (365 pounds in squat, 270 pounds in bench) was right behind in the weight room. Rising senior PJ Truax has also put up impressive numbers lifting, though he didn’t get to participate in the Lift-A-Thon.

On the field last week, the power and speed translated quickly. Alex van Vuuren had no trouble finding Jerren Harris on deep balls, while Mares has been a vocal leader of the line at all times.

Warren County will get to continue practice this week and Turner is hopeful to have a spring game to conclude work before the summer break. Follow the Standard for the latest coverage of Pioneer football.