The WCHS football team faced region rival Cookeville on Friday night at Nunley Stadium looking to build off momentum from its win against Lebanon the week before.
The Pioneers never found their footing as miscues on offense helped the Cavaliers cruise to a 35-12 win and send the Pioneers to 1-2 on the season and 0-1 in the region. Warren County committed three turnovers.
The bright side for the Pioneers was their rushing attack led by Raleigh Woods, who ran for 133 yards on 26 carries and added a touchdown. Woods also had a fumble lost.
The passing game wasn’t there for the Pioneers. Isaiah Grayson went 1-for-13 for 11 yards and two interceptions. Grayson helped the Pioneers in the running game as he ran for 67 yards on nine carries and a TD.
For the visiting Cavaliers, speedy running back Blake Ashburn torched the Pioneers for 181 yards on 11 carries and scored three TDs to lead his team to victory.
“We gave up too many plays on defense,” said Pioneer head coach Tom Moore. “I thought we ran the ball very well and I think we came off the ball good on offense. We have to be good in all aspects of the game.”
The Pioneers suffered a three-and-out on their first possession and the Cavaliers made them pay when they got possession.
Two plays into their first drive, the Cavaliers handed the ball to Ashburn at the Warren County 42. Ashburn got outside and brushed off a would-be tackler near the sideline as he raced into the endzone. The extra point gave Cookeville a 7-0 lead.
The Pioneers got it down to the Cavaliers 42-yard line on their next possession, but on second down, Woods coughed up the ball, giving it back to the Cavaliers.
The Pioneers and Cavaliers, failed to get on the scoreboard for the rest of the first quarter, leaving the score the same, after one.
With nine minutes left in the second quarter, Cavalier QB Cade Smith found Davin Dyal for a 13-yard TD, and the extra-point was good, to give the Cavaliers a double-digit lead, 14-0.
The Pioneers possessed the ball on their own 35 and drove the length of the field down to the Cavalier eight-yard line, when Grayson ran the ball to the left side of the defense and crossed the goal line to put the Pioneers on the board, 14-6.
The extra point was blocked by the Cavaliers, but the TD marked the first time the Cavaliers had been scored on all season.
With 47 seconds left in the second, the Cavaliers threw a screen pass from their own 20-yard line and took the ball all the way down to Pioneer 34-yard line where Ashburn took it the rest of the way to score his second TD and extend the Cavalier lead after another successful extra-point, 21-6.
The two-play, 80-yard drive was huge for Cookeville because it came right before the half and made it a two-possession game.
Cookeville struck first in the third quarter when Ashburn took the handoff from his team’s own 33-yard line and took the ball 67 yards for his third TD, diminishing any hopes of a Pioneer comeback, 27-6.
The extra-point was once again good, 28-6, midway through the third.
The Pioneers answered on their next possession, as they used a heavy dose of Woods to lead them down field, as he punched it in from five yards out, 28-12.
The Pioneers tried a two-point conversion, but it fell incomplete, as Grayson failed to connect with Noah Campbell.
The Cavaliers tacked on one more score the rest of the way, as Smith connected with Michael Scavo, 35-12, with the extra-point successfully converted.
The Pioneers never scored again, ultimately losing to the Cavaliers, 35-12, with a matchup against the Smyrna Bulldogs looming in two weeks at Nunley Stadium. The Pioneers have a bye this Friday night.
CHS - Ashburn 42-yard run (PAT good) 7-0 CAVALIERS
CHS - Dyal 13-yard pass from Smith (PAT good) 14-0 CAVALIERS
WCHS - Grayson 8-yard run (PAT blocked) 14-6 CAVALIERS
CHS - Ashburn 34-yard run (PAT good) 21-6 CAVALIERS
CHS - Ashburn 67-yard run (PAT good) 28-6 CAVALIERS
WCHS - Woods 5-yard run (2-pt. try no good) 28-12 CAVALIERS
CHS - Scavo 15-yard pass from Smith (PAT good) 35-12 CAVALIERS
Isaiah Grayson 1/13, 11 yards, 2 INTs
Raleigh Woods 26/133 yards, TD, fumble
Isaiah Grayson 9/67 yards, TD
Noah Campbell 9/54 yards
ethan cowan 3/12 yards
McCall Turner 1/11 yards
cade smith 7/12, 110 yards, 2 TDs
Blake ashburn 11/181 yards, 3 TDs
David Gist 7/38 yards
Jarquzes Hicks 4/34 yards
Cade Smith 8/4 yards
Jaeden McCalister 2/-2 yards
David Gist 2/60 yards
Davin dyal 2/16 yards, TD