Conventional wisdom in football says that the defense will pick up faster than the offense in preseason work. New Warren County Middle School football coach Donnie Harris would have to agree.
With the start of the regular season looming, coach Harris has seen his defense grow immensely during fall practice while his offense continues to progress. It was something coach Harris expected as he entered fall camp.
“The defense is ahead. They were on track a couple days into camp,” said Harris. “The offense started coming together last week, but it depends so much more on the little things. It just takes longer, though it’s coming along nicely.”
Coach Harris is trying to install his offense and defense to a team under new direction for the third straight year. Harris is taking over for Adam Wood, who coached at WCMS for one year before accepting a position with the high school team. Before Wood, Greg Cotten coached WCMS for four years.
Harris has had help implementing his plan, including working with staff holdovers Devin Rackley, Bob Burch and Nick Cantrell. Also helping the team is offensive line coach Nathan Keen and former WCMS coach Bill Harris, Donnie’s father.
The coaching staff has seen a number of players start to excel at their positions, especially defensively. Shawn Woodlee has been a constant disrupter in the middle of the defensive line while lining up at nose guard. On the back line, Dalton Willet has had a strong showing at free safety.
Offensively, coach Harris has moved Isaiah Grayson around at several positions in an attempt to get one of his top playmakers the ball. Grayson had a standout performance last Saturday in the Boys 2 Men football event when he rushed for a long touchdown against the first-team defense.
When the Pioneers take to the air, coach Harris has seen Tyree Ladet make several plays. Ladet’s catching has added an extra dimension to an offense that figures to lean heavily on its ground game.
Warren County will play host to a junior varsity scrimmage Tuesday against Coffee County. The scrimmage will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The Pioneers will conclude next week’s work by attending the Sparta Jamboree for a 9 a.m. scrimmage.
Warren County begins its season Tuesday, Aug. 20 with a road game against Sequatchie County.