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The Decade in Warren County Sports - 2010-19
Tommy Johnson 1.jpg
Warren County football fans were full of hope when Tommy Johnson was hired to coach the Pioneers in 2010. The former NFL player and national champion at Alabama never was able to find success locally, finishing 7-33 in his four seasons.

It was a decade of memorable moments  in Warren County sports. Here's a flashback of the top story recognized  in the Southern Standard sports section over the years. 

2010

Tommy Johnson takes 

over WCHS football

2011

Brett Patterson qualifies

for, plays in US Open

2012

WCHS baseball wins 21 

games, advances to substate

2013

Tommy Johnson leaves

WCHS football program

2014

Scott Smith leaves WCHS 

football with text message

2015*

WCHS girls golf wins 

fourth straight district title

2016*

WCHS girls rugby

wins state title

2017

Adam Childs loses WCHS 

baseball job after 100th win

2018

WCHS softball wins program's

first district tourney title

2019

WCHS softball wins program's

first region tourney title


*Standard did not run Top 10 in 2015-16, choices were made when researching for Top 10 of decade



Tommy Johnson 1.jpg
Warren County football fans were full of hope when Tommy Johnson was hired to coach the Pioneers in 2010. The former NFL player and national champion at Alabama never was able to find success locally, finishing 7-33 in his four seasons.

1. Tommy Johnson arrives, departs from WCHS football

When the decade started, the Pioneer football team was looking for a shakeup. Warren County wanted to stop the cycle of 5-5 years, hoping a new coach would bring the team to a whole new level.

Enter Tommy Johnson.

The former Alabama team captain who showed up for his first meeting in Warren County with a 1992 national championship ring wrapped around his finger was hired to spark the Pioneers. Expectations shot through the roof when Johnson assembled a staff of former college players.

The 2010 team led by Johnson and former MTSU standouts Dwone Hicks, Chris Johnson, Pedro Holiday and Aaron Pitts.

Despite his college championship and NFL background, Johnson was never able to lead the Pioneers to the success most hoped. Warren County never won more than three games in any of Johnson's four years, while the 2011 team finished 0-10.

Johnson, who moonlighted as the coach of the Knoxville Nighthawks (arena football) during the 2012 offseason, finished with a 7-33 record before leaving after the 2013 season. The Pioneers set several passing and receiving records during his four-year tenure. 

Johnson's short stint set up a decade where Warren County would see four coaches take over the sidelines. Scott Smith coached for one season (2014) before Tom Moore lasted four years (2015-18). Current coach Matt Turner was 4-6 in his debut.

2. WCHS softball wins region title, dominates District 6AAA

The class of 2019 senior softball players may have left Warren County with the most titles of any team in the decade.
The splendid group, under the leadership of Gooby Martin, took home a district regular-season title in 2017 and only improved from there. In 2018, the Lady Pioneers won the school's first district tournament title, earning the program's first region home game. 
By the time the class, which had won titles every step of the way since bonding together under Martin at Warren County Middle School, was ready for its final year, it wanted more history.
The Lady Pioneers got it.
Back-to-back shutouts of Walker Valley and Ooltewah helped the Lady Pioneers claim the program's first region championship, the biggest highlight in a three-year run of dominance. 
The 2019 senior class was a star-studded bunch. Hailey Wood was named the District 6AAA player of the year in 2018 and was one of six Lady Pioneers to sign with a college during the three-year span.
Wood's teammate Emily Mikkola was a two-time District 6AAA infielder of the year and has continued her career at Tennessee Wesleyan. 
Ashton Whiles completed the trio of senior stars who graduated this spring. Whiles became the school's home-run leader before signing with Cumberland University.
Other signees who helped the Lady Pioneers become the dominant District 6AAA program at the end of the decade included Skylar Youngblood (class of 2017, Motlow), Neva Tackett (class of 2017, Motlow) and Lexie Chadwell (class of 2018, Motlow).
CJ Taylor stretch.jpg
CJ Taylor carries two Siegel players on his way to a first down in a win this fall. Taylor's emergence, paired with the arrival of coach Matt Turner, helped the Pioneers finish the decade on a high note. WCHS beat two Rutherford County teams in 2019, breaking a 22-year losing streak.

3. Pioneers beat two Murfreesboro teams

There were just a few highlights on the gridiron for the Pioneers this decade, but almost all of the big moments came in 2019.

With Matt Turner taking over as the program's fourth coach of the decade, Warren County turned the corner while battling the best teams in the Midstate.

Led by Region 3-6A Athlete of the Year CJ Taylor, the Pioneers finished 4-6 (tied for the best mark in the last 10 years) and ended a 22-year losing streak against Rutherford County teams when it defeated Rockvale 36-35 in September.

Warren County doubled its win total for the decade against Rutherford County teams just three weeks later, beating Siegel 29-28. 

Warren County had its most successful year at Nunley Stadium in 15 years, going 4-1 in front of the home fans in 2019. The Pioneers also defeated DeKalb County and Coffee County during the campaign.

Taylor was part of a junior class which has established itself as one of the best on the gridiron in two decades. Taylor and his classmates were also part of the 2016 WCMS team which went perfect throughout the year and won the Central Tennessee Conference title.

Malcolm Montgomery fixed.jpg
Former WCHS basketball coach Malcolm Montgomery, middle, returns to the Pioneer bench in 2011 after directing the Pioneers off the court in Van Buren County. Pioneer players alleged following the game that racial slurs were directed at their coach before he pulled his team off the court, a forfeit which cost Warren County High School $500 in fines.

4. Montgomery leads WCHS in walkout

To this day, the Dec. 2, 2011, basketball game between Warren County and Van Buren County has never ended. That game stopped with 2:08 to go in overtime when then-Pioneer coach Malcolm Montgomery pulled his team off the court.

While Montgomery never spoke on record about his decision to leave the court, a decision which resulted in WCHS receiving a $500 fine, players said racial slurs led to their coach's reaction. The Pioneers were trailing 61-56 and had been called for their third technical foul in the span on three minutes when Montgomery jumped off the bench and pointed for his team to leave the court. 

Chaos ensued. 

Players and fans from each side were scattered across the court, leading to Montgomery ultimately being restrained by fellow coaches after being approached by an opposing fan. The Pioneers were eventually led from the locker room by police escort to their bus, where they immediately left.

Van Buren County was eventually awarded the victory due to forfeit. 

Montgomery was suspended indefinitely following the incident, but was reinstated three days later when school officials made their case to the TSSAA. State officials, upon hearing the case, made the decision Montgomery did not warrant further discipline due to the circumstances surrounding his decision to leave the court.

Van Buren County was scheduled to play in McMinnville later that season, but didn't make the return trip. The teams haven't played a regular season series since the 2011-12 season. 

Montgomery left the WCHS program following the 2012-13 season.

5. Calbert, Robinson earn starting roles in college

Cody Robinson laid the path and K'rjohn Calbert followed.

The pair of dominant Warren County linemen became local heroes when they parlayed their immense potential into starting roles in college following their careers as Pioneers. Robinson was the first to do it, signing with Duke University in 2011. Calbert followed in 2017, earning a scholarship from the University of Tennessee.

Robinson played in 34 games as a Blue Devil and set school records for offensive linemen in power clean and bench press during his career. He later served as a graduate assistant under David Cutcliffe.

Calbert is currently a redshirt sophomore at UT and is coming off his most productive season. Calbert appeared in all 12 games this season, starting four. He earned his first career start against Chattanooga.

Calbert is expected to see action in this week's Gator Bowl (Jan. 2, 6 p.m, ESPN) and will play a vital role on next year's offensive line.

Adam Childs.jpg
Adam Childs won over 100 games and a district title at WCHS, but was let go following the 2017 season. He was one of four WCHS coaches this decade.

6. Childs loses job after 100th win

When Adam Childs took over the baseball program in 2012, he was serving as the fourth coach in five years. Over the next six years, he would win over 100 games, make four trips to regionals, one trip to substate and win a district tournament title.

It still wasn't enough for him to keep his job.

Childs was dismissed following the 2017 season, just weeks after he was presented with a bat on the field following his 100th victory as the head coach of the Pioneers.

"The decision has been made to move in a different direction with the baseball program," said then-WCHS principal Jimmy Walker after Childs' dismissal.

Walker actually started the decade as the Pioneer head coach. He was followed by Joey Haston, who coached just one season before leaving the program.

Trice Powers was hired to replace Childs, but lasted just two seasons. Powers quit just weeks before the start of the 2019-20 school year and has been replaced by Phillip King.

7. WCHS girls golf builds dynasty

No program at WCHS sent more athletes to college this decade than the golf program, especially the girls team.

Brittany Myers, Saylem Powell, Hannah Powell, Brynn Craven and Valeria Vargas all starred for the Lady Pioneers, then moved on to play at the college level.

All the talent flowing through the program turned the WCHS golf team into a dynasty in District 6AAA. The Lady Pioneers won four straight district titles from 2012-15 and won two Region 3AAA championships as well.

Saylem Powell never tasted defeat in the district tournament, playing on all four district championship teams. She was also part of the team - with Myers and Hannah Powell - that had the highest finish in the state tournament (fourth, 2014).

The Lady Pioneers, either as a team or individually, were represented at the state tournament five times in the decade. 


8. McCormick, Mullican star for WCHS soccer

It's rare for Warren County to have two players in the school who are honored as all-state players. It's even more rare for them to be on the same team.

The WCHS girls soccer program was blessed with two special players early in the decade, getting huge performances from Ansley Mullican and Morgan McCormick during their time as Lady Pioneers.

McCormick and Mullican were teammates from 2010-13 before graduating in 2014. The duo combined for five all-state nods, with McCormick earning recognition in three seasons, including sharing the honor during her junior and senior years with Mullican.

Mullican and McCormick finished their careers with 59 victories, two district titles, four region tournament appearances and two trips to substate.

Individually, they are both still in the state's record books.

McCormick's 52 career assists were the ninth-most in state history when she graduated, while Mullican was tied for 10th with 50 assists. The duo also combined for 185 goals, with Mullican scoring 95 and McCormick finishing with 90. 

Katie Toney joined the ranks of all-state Lady Pioneers this season, earning the honor as a sophomore. Toney has 47 goals through two seasons, putting her on pace to match the scoring of her all-state predecessors. 

Brett Patterson.jpg
Patterson

9. Brett Patterson plays in US Open

When the last decade ended, Brett Patterson was dominating the Standard's top 10 stories list. As a WCHS Pioneer, his run to three straight state tournaments (including a second-place finish in 2009) was the top story three straight years.

He upped his game in 2011.

Patterson, who was already one of the top golfers at MTSU after his time locally, became just the second male golfer from Warren County to qualify for the US Open in 2011, joining Corker DeLoach.

Making the tournament wasn't easy. Patterson, at age 19, fired a course-record 62 at Hawks Ridge Golf Course to qualify.

The 2011 US Open was held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Patterson was unable to make the cut, finishing 12-over in his two rounds at the event. Rory McIlroy won his first major by taking the title.

Lila Loftis.jpg
Lila Loftis was a big part of the 2016 WCHS rugby team that won the state title.

10. WCHS rugby wins state

Rugby had barely even had time to catch on locally before the WCHS girls team took the state by storm.

In just the second year of having an organized club, the WCHS girls rugby team won the state tournament in 2016.

Warren County defeated Germantown 27-0 to win the TRA state title, completing a dominating season. It was a fitting opponent for WCHS as well. Germantown was the team the WCHS baseball team beat for a title in 1992, the last WCHS state champ before girls rugby in 2016.