Before Warren County High School football players get to Friday night lights, they had to endure a Friday morning boot camp at Nunley Stadium.
Practice started at 5:52 a.m. and players were greeted by an assortment of grueling drills compliments of WCHS coach Matt Turner and his staff.
“We went after it for more than two hours working the dog out of them because conditioning is one thing we’re allowed to do,” said coach Turner. “It’s always nice when we can do something here at the stadium because it helps make it feel more like our home.”
The Pioneer football team enters the two-week TSSAA dead period in solid shape and with fewer question marks than Turner’s first year as coach. The players are familiar with the system entering year two and playmakers have emerged.
Coach Turner is pleased with the explosiveness he has at the skill positions, especially at quarterback where C.J. Taylor, Bryson Elrod and Clay Thompson have all taken snaps.
Turner is also pleased with the toughness of Ryland and Kason Holder, who will be key contributors on both sides of the ball.
The offensive line has some holes to fill with three starters gone from last year’s team, but Doug Wells and Kaden Jordan return as solid building blocks.
“We figure to be much more of a passing team this year,” said Turner.
After the TSSAA dead period ends in early July, the Pioneers have 7-on-7 scrimmages tentatively scheduled against Riverdale and Tullahoma. These scrimmages emphasize the passing game and also allow the secondary and linebackers to get in some work. Linemen are not involved.
The Pioneers are also scheduled to participate in a 16-team, 7-on-7 scrimmage in Shelbyville. These scrimmages are all contingent on TSSAA approval after the dead period.
Turner said the Pioneers have worked back into shape after reporting earlier this month in what he says was poor overall condition.
“It’s amazing how fast we rebounded and in talking to other coaches they have all said the same thing about their teams,” said Turner, who stressed to his players they need to keep exercising during the dead period.
“If we really want to be the best we can be, we need to continue to work on our own,” Turner told the Pioneers as Friday’s practice came to a close. “This stadium is unlocked and you don’t have to stay here for two hours to get a good workout. Run hills for 30 minutes and that will do it.”
Added offensive coordinator Kenny Shultz, “Champions work on their own.”