School may have started back last week, but the Warren County High School football team has already been at work. The Pioneers had their share of early tests in scrimmages against Summit and Page. Next Friday’s season opener against DeKalb County will serve as the final exam.
That makes this Friday’s scrimmage against Giles County a very important midterm.
New coach Scott Smith should know a lot more about his team after seeing the Pioneers go up against the state runner-up from a season ago. The Bobcats were 12-3 last season, with one of their losses coming in the 4A state championship.
Several members of that impressive team, including all-state candidate Cameron Ordway, will be in town Friday for each team’s final scrimmage of the preseason.
It will be the first scrimmage that resembles a normal football game. In the first two matchups, Warren County rotated series with its opponents as each team got 10 offensive snaps. Against the Bobcats, the chains will be out and teams will have to earn first downs to keep possessions alive.
Coach Smith hopes to get his varsity squad work in the first half before mixing in members of his junior varsity team in the second half. A fifth quarter will be played for the freshman team to get on the field.
In the last two weeks, the Pioneers have impressed defensively by creating turnovers. Warren County had two early interceptions against Page and wreaked havoc against Summit.
Ordway and the Bobcats should be a huge test for the improving Pioneer stop unit.
Listed as one of the top defensive backs in the country by several recruiting services, Ordway will play both ways Friday and could be a difficult matchup for Warren County. Ordway had a touchdown grab last week when Giles County scrimmaged against Columbia Central.
Growing optimism has come out of the Pioneer camp during fall practice. The two successful early scrimmages only fueled the fire Warren County could make a big leap from last year’s 1-9 season.
The new scrimmage structure could be a big boost for the home team after two weeks of running out of plays several times. Against Summit and Page, the Pioneer offense has been able to keep drives alive, only to see their 10 plays elapse before a score.
Junior quarterback Christian Wilkinson has entrenched himself as the starter and has developed a strong rapport with senior wide receivers Adrian Lusk and Malik Ladet. Senior tailback Bryson Lewis also looks poised for a breakout season running behind a strong and experienced offensive line.
Friday’s kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.