Warren County High School football players were treated to an inspirational message from a former Navy SEAL on Friday during a day-long session focused on team building.
“It met my expectations and then some,” said WCHS football coach Matt Turner. “Some kids don’t even realize what they got to experience today. They got to hear from Jason Kuhn, a Navy SEAL and team leader. He’s the guy they are playing on their video games and watching on the movies.”
Turner says Kuhn, a Hendersonville native, was sitting in his college dorm room on Sept. 11, 2001. Watching the events of that day unfold, he decided to join the Navy.
Kuhn now owns and operates Stonewall Solutions, a premier agency for developing leadership qualities. Kuhn works with sports teams and corporations with the goal of maximizing confidence and productivity, whether it’s on the field or in an office.
“He reinforced a lot of the things we’re trying to instill as a program,” said Turner. “You play for each other and play for the guy beside you. I told the kids they won’t remember the final scores of the games they play, but they’ll remember what they learned here today. I know we took a step forward as a program.”
WCHS football players emerged from the TSSAA dead period last Monday for a week of practice and conditioning in T-shirts and helmets. Turner said this Monday is the first official day of practice where helmets are mandatory for two days before the team progresses to helmets and shoulder pads.
Commitment Camp will be held next Sunday, July 25, where players spend the night at Nunley Stadium.
“We’ll pitch tents and have a lot of fun,” said Turner. He wasn’t able to hold Commitment Camp last year due to COVID.
Practice in full pads will follow on Monday, July 26 leading up to a three-way scrimmage Friday, July 30 against South Pittsburgh and East Hamilton in South Pittsburgh.
After that, the schedule includes a scrimmage in Tullahoma on Friday, Aug. 6, and a jamboree game against Rhea County in Sequatchie County on Aug. 13.
The regular season begins Aug. 20 with a home game against border rival DeKalb County. The Pioneers won last year in Smithville, 30-24.
“With a young team like we have, there are a lot of things we can’t control,” said Turner. “One thing we can control is our conditioning.”
The Pioneers are looking to reload after a memorable 8-3 season, their best year since 1990. Warren County lost several key starters to graduation on both sides of the ball, but the Pioneers have junior starters Braylon Grayson and Dayton Jernigan returning.