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Looking ahead - WCHS football releases 2021 football schedule

WCHS Pioneer football head coach Matt Turner has released the 2021 high school football schedule.

There are a few familiar opponents, and several new ones. Turner predicts there will not be a significant drop off in competition this fall on Friday nights.

There are four regions games: Cookeville, Coffee County, Shelbyville and Lebanon. The new region is comprised of five teams, which means five teams will be battling for four playoff spots.

The region games are on odd weeks and Warren County drew the region bye first. Regions games for the new region start Sept. 3. Warren County drew the region bye for that week. Therefore, the first region game is Week 5, Sept. 17, at Cookeville.

Cannon County, Lawrence County, and several Rutherford County teams are gone. White County reappears on Warren County’s schedule in 2021. Mt. Juliet and Franklin County are new additions, as is Ridgeway.

Ridgeway is in Memphis and coach Turner is excited about making the trip there this fall.

Turner said, “We had trouble getting a game for Week 3. Not everyone wanted to play us after last season and we had two possibilities, a team in Bowling Green, Kentucky or Ridgeway. I hope we can make a weekend of it in Memphis. The University of Memphis has a home game on Saturday and we may try to take the team to that game.”

Some people may wonder why Siegel is still on the schedule, as opposed to other Murfreesboro teams. No. 1, coaches like to play teams in the region they may match up with in the playoffs. It provides the potential to see game film of teams who may be playoff opponents. Yet the main reason Siegel is staying on the schedule is the personal wishes of Siegel athletic director Greg Wyant.

Years ago, Warren County was hosting Siegel when a tragedy happened on the football field during the game. Baylor Bramble, a Siegel football player, complained of head trauma during the game, and was soon life-flighted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The day after the game, Warren County head coach Tom Moore and members of the Pioneer football team attended a prayer service at Siegel High School for Bramble. Later, Warren County students fundraised and donated to the Bramble family. Greg Wyant was Siegel’s head coach then, and he wants to keep the rivalry going in a positive way.

Franklin County reappears on the Pioneer schedule. There are several county schools that are either close to or border Warren County. DeKalb County, White County, Cookeville, Coffee County, Shelbyville, Mt. Juliet, Franklin County, and Lebanon are in communities that are relatively similar to McMinnville.

Those are eight schools that Turner says Warren County matches up with well. Siegel is a team Warren County has beaten the past two seasons. Ridgeway did not play any games in 2020 because of COVID-19.

One major plus is the regular-season schedule does not end with Riverdale and Oakland. That is a major improvement as those two teams are typically state powers who are hard to beat.

Prediction from Standard sports reporter Brad Durham: The Pioneers will win at least 6-7 games in 2021 and make the playoffs.